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|    Visual Arts

Please note: this information refers to GDC 2014, check back for updates.

The Visual Arts Track strives to educate artists and technical artists about methods for producing game art and animations; from stellar concept art techniques to post production best practices.

Arrow Search for all Visual Arts Track sessions


The Visual Effects of inFAMOUS: Second Son
Matt Vainio (Sucker Punch)
This session will cover the processes behind the visual effects development of inFAMOUS: Second Son, from breakdowns of specific effects to discussions of our tools and workflow. We will discuss the challenges of creating a diverse set of visual elements, such as smoke and neon super powers. We'll share how we used concept art during production to meet the challenge of defining a visual language for the effects. A new generation of engine and tools were created during the course of development - we'll take a look at how this gave us increased lighting accuracy, an expression-based particle editor and real-time curl noise that allowed us to create a unique suite of visual effects. We'll conclude with a few hard lessons that we learned along the way about the changes to our workflow.
Moving the Heavens: An Artistic and Technical Look at the Skies of The Last of Us
Keith Guerrette (Naughty Dog, Inc.)
The sky is one of the most integral components of an outdoor composition - it dictates the lighting and color palette, it casts the mood and drives the story, and frequently, it can consume a majority of the pixels on-screen. Yet, it's often one of the most overlooked, snubbed components of level creation. And for making it move? Most practices either look terrible, or require vast amounts of time and technology. Within this presentation, Keith will walk the audience through the artistic considerations of creating a compelling, dramatic sky to cast as a backdrop for their artwork. More importantly, he'll introduce the production challenges of skies within The Last of Us, and teach the audience how we were able to use vector fields, flow and some simple math to imply the motion of clouds receding into the horizon on a single matte painting, without losing our fast iteration.
Building Customizable Characters for Bungie's Destiny
Scott Shepherd (Bungie)
With the increasing complexity and fidelity of character content, player customization is an ever-present challenge facing many game developers. Destiny's player customization system is highly ambitious and unlike anything seen in a first-person shooter thus far. This talk focuses on the tools and process Bungie built to create a large variety of high-quality character content, with a system that makes the most out of the art created, allows for continued growth and expandability over the lifetime of the franchise, and gives artists the ability to make strong visual impacts quickly and easily.
Superpowering the Saints in the Non-Superpowered World of Saints Row
Zach Lowery (Volition)
What do you do when your animation direction conflicts directly with a key feature being added within your game? How do you approach gathering reference material when the animations requested aren't even humanly possible? These are two of the unique challenges that faced the Volition animation team during the early development of Saints Row IV's superpowered movement system. This presentation will cover how the Saints Row IV animation team took a different approach to gathering reference material when traditional methods were not possible, and how they applied their "comfortable and confident" animation direction to a world of superpowers.
The Art of The Witness
Luis Antonio (Thekla Inc.)
This talk is a behind-the-scenes look at the art creation process for Jonathan Blow's The Witness. Speaking from the perspective of an indie developer with a very different philosophy from most big studios, Luis Antonio will show you how a small art team focused on understanding the core essentials of gameplay, and allowed the visual language to be an extension of it. He will go over the thought process used to create such a strong visual style and how it was implemented, by working closely with architects and landscape designers throughout development.
Change Is Good: The Importance of Iteration Within a Character Art Pipeline
Gavin Goulden (Irrational Games)
Many artists are resistant to change and do not understand the importance of not being married to your work. Creating a character isn't always a clear path from Point A to Point B. During BioShock Infinite and the DLC project Burial at Sea, we were faced with challenges that were completely new to us as an art team. Adapting to a new engine, a modified gameplay style from our previous titles, and changing art direction during development and a rich, ever-growing storyline made us rethink the soul of our game more than once. In this talk, Gavin will show the examples of our multiple directions, explain why they didn't work and what succeeded, how we settled on our final direction for Elizabeth, the evolution of our characters encountered during combat, how our general population got an extreme overhaul, and why all of these changes are significant and helped create a stronger end product.
UBM Tech