GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp Announcement


Last spring a conversation sprung up on twitter about game animation not being as well represented as it could be at conferences world wide. From that discussion, a handful of us got together to do something about it. What we present here is the type of game animation conference I have always dreamed about attending, with an equal focus on both the craft of animation and it’s overlap with game design.

I proudly present the GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp taking place March 25th! This is an opportunity to grow both our craft and our involvement with all things game dev and I hope to see you there!

And spread the word!

GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp
SanFrancisco, CA
March 25-29

Game animation is a tricky beast. Balancing the want of film style visuals against gameplay constraints is a daily occurrence. While these constraints are very real, as games grow in both technology and emotional resonance, animators must break free of the excuses and help drive this industry forward with the unique skill sets they posses.
Bringing together a group of experienced and specialized animators, this bootcamp will be a full day gathering to rally animators from all over the industry with a focus on deeper, more specific discussions into the needs of game animation than a conference with a more varied discipline set is capable of.

The day will start with a focus purely on the craft of animation, focusing on aspects like believability, body mechanics and facial animation. Then throughout the day we transition into how best to apply that knowledge to game development, from wrangling mocap to applying what is learned to understanding game design.

But the animation focus at GDC won’t stop after the bootcamp. Once the main conference begins, the Animation and Character Performance Roundtable run by Tim Borrelli will use the bootcamp as a jumping off point towards cross discipline discussions. This will allow animators as well as designers, programmers, writers and other artists to sync up and become active participants in the overarching topic of more believable characters and motions in games.

Intended Audience
Animators of all skill levels as well as other disciplines interested in what animation has to offer in regards to character performance, emotion, action and gameplay.

Attendees will leave with all manner of new ideas on what game animation is capable of. Be it tips about leveling up their animation fundamentals or how best to work with and use game design, anything that animation comes in contact with during game development will be shown in a new light.

Speakers & Topics

Welcome & Introduction
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online
Tim Borrelli, Lead Animator, 5th Cell
Nate Walpole, Senior Animator, Halo Series and Elder Scrolls Online

Making an Audience Believe
Jalil Sadool, Senior Animator, Dreamworks

The Animation Industry is moving and changing faster than we ever expected. The number of
good animators is increasing every year and finding a stable job in this competitive field is much
harder compared to just a decade ago. What therefore gives an animator this extra edge? We often misunderstand good animation for simply good motion and forget that our main focus as an animator is to fool an audience into believing. Over the course of this talk we will discuss the “Thinking Character” and the little things that we tend to forget but that is incredibly essential for a character to come to life.

It’s Alive! Developing Animal/Creature Movement, Personality and Presentation
Amy Drobeck, Senior Animator, WB Seattle

The purpose of this session is to outline the process of bringing a creature/animal to life from the skeleton up. It will begin with an overview of anatomy, continue with a breakdown of movement that includes character/personality development and end with the realization of these assets in cinematic and in-game formats.

From Stage to Screen: How to Get the Most Out of Your Mocap
Simon Unger, Animation Director, Hitman:Absolution

As commonplace in game development as overtime, motion capture is often one of the largest, most inefficient expenses on a production.The goal of this talk is to give attendees better tools and practices to squeeze more performance and value out of their mocap. We will cover all the stages; from initial planning and casting to final implementation in game. We’ll also have a look at some not-so-common uses of this often misunderstood tool.

Animating the 3rd Assassin
Jonathan Cooper, Animation Director, Ubisoft Montreal

Assassin’s Creed III’s new-world organic environments presented an opportunity to update the animation throughout the game with revised systems of navigation, combat and crowdlife, as well as new additions like animal wildlife, moving ships and tree-running. This presentation covers the decision-making behind these various improvements, making Assassin’s Creed III’s new protagonist Connor even more fluid in motion than previous entries while maintaining the series trademark sense of weight and connection to the environment.

Giving Purpose to 1st Person Animation
Ryan Duffin, Senior Animator, EA/Danger Close

First person games have been around for decades and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! Arguably, no perspective is better to immerse a player in your world but how can you make your character feel like more than a camera on a stick , immersing them in their environment without sacrificing responsive player controls or making them vomit from motion sickness? This talk will focus on the particular animation needs of hands, bodies and weapons to better immerse your player in their avatar.

Designing a Performance
Ed Hooks, Acting for Animators
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online

Character animation in games can not rely solely on the methods used in film. Creating emotionally engaging and empathetic characters in a video game doesn’t stop when you finalize the animation. If you want to fully apply the principles of animation and acting into your game, you need to be aware of how and when your animations are being used by both the game and the player. This talk will show how you can approach your animations and game design in a more holistic way.

Q&A Roundtable
Tim Borrelli, Lead Animator, 5th Cell
A catch all for any questions attendees may have concerning all topics covered. Also a primer for the conversations that will continue at the Animation and Character Roundtable during the rest of GDC.


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