2015 GDC Animation Bootcamp Schedule

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Here are the speakers and talk summaries for the 2015 GDC Animation Bootcamp! I hope to have an episode of the podcast interviewing each presenter like the previous years at the beginning of the year.

As you can see, it is even more varied in content and disciplines than years past, which I believe speaks to the evolution of the skills required for game animation compared to other forms of the craft. Our goal is to enable people to share the craft of game animation in a way that hasn’t been available before the bootcamp, as well as shine a spotlight on the animators themselves, giving them a voice and connection to the industry. And this lineup definitely delivers on that goal!

If you want to attend the show this March, sign up before January 21st for the best price! We hope to see you there!

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Live 2D Demo by Mariel Cartwright (Lab Zero Games)
Summary:
Animating is tough as it is, but game animation has its own set of rules to adhere to. How do you approach and execute an animation intended for a game? Join and watch a live 2D traditional animation demo that will demonstrate the way the fighting game Skullgirls is animated, and learn not only about the thought processes behind its animation, but also watch it get animated!
Bio:
Mariel Cartwright is an illustrator and animator based in Los Angeles. She is lead animator at Lab Zero Games, working on the 2D fighting game Skullgirls, and also works regularly with Wayforward on a number of titles.

The Animation Process of Ori by James Benson (Camp Santo)
Summary:
Tasked with creating hundreds of character animations that would would blend seamlessly into a painted 2d world, but without any ability to illustrate, what technical and creative tricks could you employ to succeed? An exercise in using your constraints to your advantage, this 30 minute talk tracks the (hopefully) successful attempt to create thousands of Ghibli­style frames of animation with limited time, people and personal skillset. Focusing almost exclusively on specific technical takeaways and the pros and cons of every decision that was made.
Bio:
James Benson is an animator and game designer from the UK. He started his career at Lionhead on FABLE 3 and MILO and KATE. After leaving Lionhead he created the animation for ORI AND THE BLIND FOREST. With that project wrapped up he is now working at Campo Santo on FIREWATCH.

Locomotion of Sunset Overdrive by Elliot Grossman (Insomniac Games)
Summary:
Sunset Overdrive pushes velocity while fluidly traversing through the dangerous world of the awesomepocalypse.  But while the hero’s locomotion allows players to quickly move from point A to B, Insomniac’s development process was not always straightforward.  We’ll take a look at the many unexpected discoveries we made while searching for Sunset Overdrive’s animation style, and how diving head first into the unknown helped us create something new.
Bio:
Elliot Grossman is a senior animator at Insomniac Games currently working on the hero character for Sunset Overdrive DLC.  Past games include Sunset Overdrive (Gameplay Animator) Fuse (responsible for hero stealth takedown system), Family Guy:  Back to the Multiverse, Spongebob: Truth or Squared, Up:  The Video Game, WALL-E:  The Video Game,  and Ratatouille: The Video Game.

Women Are Not Too Hard To Animate by Brianna Wu (Giant Spacekat) Mariel Cartwright (Lab Zero Games) Jonathan Cooper (Naughty Dog) Tim Borrelli (5th Cell)
Summary:
Diversity in game characters has been a controversial subject, especially over the past year. From claims that “women are too hard to animate” to supposed limitations in tech and resources, the fact is that there are many genders, races and orientations that are sorely under-represented in games. This panel will use its expertise in game planning & tech (Brianna Wu), large-scale animation direction (Jonathan Cooper) and independent, diverse animation creation (Mariel Cartwright) to discuss how game teams can plan for diverse characters and performances from an animation standpoint. It’s time we stop relying on the age-old excuses.
Bios:
Brianna Wu is a founder of Giant Spacekat, an indie development studio in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also known as a blogger and co-host of the weekly Isometric podcast on the 5by5 network. She has also written high-profile essays and opinion pieces about issues related to feminism and antagonistic attitudes toward women in game development.
Mariel Cartwright is an illustrator and animator based in Los Angeles. She is lead animator at Lab Zero Games, working on the 2D fighting game Skullgirls, and also works regularly with Wayforward on a number of titles.
Jonathan Cooper is an animator on Uncharted 4 at Naughty Dog, previously directing the animation for Assassin’s Creed III and leading animation teams on Mass Effect 1 & 2 among others. Originally from Scotland, he has truly been spoiled working on some of the more progressive story and character-heavy games in the last decade across Canada and the US. His goal is to bring video games kicking and screaming into the public consciousness as the most formidable cultural art-form of our time.
Tim Borrelli has worked in the games industry for over 16 years, currently for 5th Cell as a Lead Animator and previously for Volition, both as a Lead Animator and as the company’s first Technical Animator. His work has included animation creation & direction, mocap direction & cleanup, and technical animation on game series such as Freespace, Summoner, Red Faction, and Saints Row, as well as the Scribblenauts franchise and Hybrid, 5th Cell’s Summer Of Arcade title in 2012. His speaking experience includes running the Technical Animation Roundtable, Animation & Character Performance Roundtable, and speaking on animation related panels and talks at GDC and PAXDev.

UFC Animation System by Lee Dowsett and Geoff Harrower (EA Canada)
Summary:
Creating the animation system for a UFC game from the ground up presented us with some unique and interesting challenges.  With a roster of over 100 fighters all with unique styles, personalities and proportions we were tasked with delivering quality and breadth of animation that surpassed that of the previous generation of consoles.  From a close quarters grappling system heavy on two man animation content to procedural animation solutions, we will present to you the technology, workflows, tricks and sleight of hand we used in developing EA Sports UFC.
Bios:
Lee Dowsett is the Animation Director for EA sports UFC and has been at the EA Canada studio for over ten years.  During his decade at EA, Lee has been the Animation Director for Fight Night series and has also worked on everything from Facebreaker to FIFA.  Previously to EAC, Lee worked at a number of games and animation studios in the UK, including Hothouse Creations and Sony.
Geoff Harrower is a Senior Software Engineer at Electronic Arts and is currently the lead gameplay engineer on EA Sports UFC.  In his thirteen years at Electronic Arts Geoff has developed an expertise in animation and gameplay working on such titles as FIFA, NHL, Tennis, NBA, SSX and UFC.  Geoff has also worked in central technology roles helping to drive and develop the animation tools used throughout the company.

The Missing Link – Technical Designers in Animation by Jami Jeffcoat (Bungie)
Summary:
The design team wants this, but the animators need that, and the engineers haven’t even heard of the feature you’re talking about! Sound like a familiar scenario? From implementing run-time code, to building tools, to rapid bug fixing – this talk overviews what Technical Designers in Animation mean to the Bungie studio, and how our position is utilized to build a bridge across the Animation, Animation Engineering, and Design teams. Listeners will walk away from this talk with information to help implement or evolve this kind of position at their own studio.
Bio:
Jami Jeffcoat has been working as a Technical Designer in Animation since her graduation from The Guildhall at SMU in 2012.  She likes to utilize her mixed education – a Bachelors in Computer Science and Masters of Interactive Technology in Art Creation – at Bungie to help bring the world of Destiny to life, and strives to create harmony between engineers, animators, and designers on the daily.

Refining A Mechanic’s Personality by Mike Bithell (Mike Bithell Games)
Summary:
Animation is often thought of as an art task, a layer of polish. In the low budget and indie sectors, it’s often one of the first areas to be cut down for financial reasons. This talk focuses on the way in which design, code, VO and mechanical context can be used in tandem with animation to create character and performance, and allow for budget to be spent where it counts – creating unique characters. Thomas Was Alone will be used as an initial case study, before moving on to the ways in which MoCap, animation and design have been combined to tell stories and convey personality in Volume.
Bio:
Mike Bithell is the creator of the award winning Thomas Was Alone, and its upcoming follow up, Volume. Having worked in industry as a designer on a number of console and social games, a hobby game spun him off into starting his own studio to make games focused on game feel and storytelling. His next game, Volume, will release shortly after GDC.

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