GDC | Visual Effects Bootcamp

Visual Effects Bootcamp

In recent years the discipline of visual effects has emerged as one of the driving forces in game development. Visual effects tie together game experiences, breathe life into real time rendered worlds, and provide an all-important final layer of visual polish. What started as a few simple, and often painful, "tools of the trade" like flipbooks and additively blended sprites, has grown into a full-fledged art all its own involving subtle and precise mixtures of shaders, lighting, particles, materials, models and animation to name just a few.

However as this craft matures, it has become harder and harder to ignore the absence of shared information, books, tutorials and resources for newcomers to the field and for veterans trying to push the boundaries of what's possible.

In this bootcamp, a group of experienced visual effects artists from across the industry will share their best tips, tricks, anecdotes and inspiration in a day designed to help overcome those limitations and elevate visual effects to a new level.

Also, explosions. Lots and lots of explosions.

2017 Highlighted Sessions


All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, or GDC Summits Pass required.

Visual Effects Bootcamp: The Rise of Realtime
Drew Skillman (Google)
Keith Guerrette (Beyond-FX)
In this "state of the union" session, two VFX veterans share their perspectives on where the industry is at, where it's heading, and why it's critically important to foster a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration within the community. Keith Guerrette will discuss incredible innovations that are only possible when artists share knowledge freely, exploring cutting edge concepts like temperate masks, density light wrap, LUTS, raymarching, motion vectors and others. Drew Skillman will share the story behind the development of Tilt Brush, a VR Painting application, and describe how traditional VFX techniques like flip books, post processing, stateless particles, and shader trickery found fertile ground in the world beyond games. The session concludes with a hard look into the future and the role VFX will play in a world driven by realtime rendering, across a variety of novel computing platforms.
Visual Effects Bootcamp: How to Go from Good to Great
Christina Wun (Riot Games)
Mastering the craft of VFX isn't the only ingredient that makes great artists and game developers; it's just as important to invest in the humans one works with. This talk will take a step back from craft and explore team dynamics. Told through the history of the Riot Games VFX team, Christina will share the lessons she's learned to check her ego at the door, be unafraid to admit humility, and in how to work out team toxicity through her journey leading a small dysfunctional team's growth into the passionate player-focused team it is today.

Visual Effects Bootcamp Advisors


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Drew Skillman
Google VR
Drew Skillman is currently on the Google VR team developing Tilt Brush, a virtual reality application that allows anyone to paint in 3D space at room scale. That project developed as part of a number of different augmented reality, virtual reality, and natural motion experiences at the company he co-founded, Skillman & Hackett, before it was acquired by Google in 2015. Drew is a long-time proponent of rapid prototyping, and has given several GDC talks in the past focused in those areas. His most recent session "Rapid Prototyping at Double Fine" showcased massive compute shader-based particle simulations, forbidden Kinect prototypes, early Leap Motion experiments, and even Arduino-based mind control. Before that, he presented "Rock Show VFX: Bringing Brutal Legend to Life", and regularly moderates the Visual Effects Artist Roundtable. He transitioned to VR & game development from physics and brings that experience to bear on a variety of problems, ranging from exploding heavy metal zeppelins to burping matryoshka's. Shipped titles include Tilt Brush, Happy Action Theater, Kinect Party, Brutal Legend, Stacking, Iron Brigade, Dropchord, Little Pink Best Buds, Autonomous and DLC for The Playroom, a PS4 launch title.

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