GDC | Visual Arts

Visual Arts

Meet artists with various art styles and concepts, and explore the inspiration and process behind their work. Learn methods to create quality art and animations for all kinds of games under tight deadlines; from stellar concept art techniques to post production best practices and everything in between. View all Visual Arts sessions.

Visual Arts Track Conference Highlights (W-F)


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

Realtime Rendering for Feature Film: Rogue One a Case Study
John Knoll (Industrial Light & Magic)
Naty Hoffman (Lucasfilm ADG)
Roger Cordes (ILMxLAB)
With all of the challenges posed by the groundbreaking visual effects work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, you wouldn't think visual effects supervisor John Knoll would look for yet another area to push the boundaries of visual fidelity with production underway, but that's exactly what happened. Knoll challenged the Lucasfilm Advanced Development Group to take a handful of shots for the film and render the lead character in them at cinematic fidelity utilizing RT rendering. Join speakers from Lucasfilm and ILM as they discuss the proprietary rendering technology that the team created, and the challenges and lessons learned by creating a real time hero character for Rogue One.
Motion Warping in 'Gears of War 4': Doing More with Less
Steven Dickinson (The Coalition)
The sheer magnitude of animation assets needed to build smooth and realistic movement systems while keeping a character grounded in an uneven and dynamic environment has changed how animation behaviors are built and authored. Blending multiple animations has traditionally been a way of dealing with distance, direction and environmental variance. However, the amount of assets needed for adequate coverage in today's large AAA titles can be crushing. Multiple animation blending also reduces visual freedom as blended animations must be of similar style and timing. Some games have tackled this content explosion by dynamically warping motion to meet the spatial constraints. These are often ad hoc/specific to particular actions and not exposed to the animator. For 'Gears of War 4', The Coalition developed a generalized solution by introducing the concept of warp points.
Huddle up!: Making the [SPOILER] of 'INSIDE'
Mikkel Bøgeskov Svendsen (Playdead)
Andreas Normand Grøntved (Playdead)
Søren Trautner Madsen (Playdead)
Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen (Playdead)
In Playdead's 'INSIDE', "The Huddle", aka the blob as dubbed by players, is the form you take in the conclusive chapter of the game. It was a big task in the production, and one with much uncertainty. It took several years and several people to get it standing on its feet, but it was no calculated effort. In the years it was being made, a third of the company worked on, or rather jammed on it. Everyone involved added their own expertise, without order, as a sort of hive mind making hive mind. The team at Playdead will peel apart the layers they've woven together, exposing dynamic arms imposed on a sack of physics bodies, moved by physics and animation as one, and glued together by shading. Through all the details, they'll show how an unstable, decentralized collaboration can lead to an unexpectedly whole and alive creature, albeit chaotic.
Fast, Cheap and Flashy: An Indie Art Direction Adventure
Adam DeGrandis (Chickadee Games LLC)
'Tooth & Tail', Pocketwatch Games' follow-up to 'Monaco: What's Yours Is Mine', had been in development for nearly two years, but the art was in trouble. It was inconsistent, hard to read, and a little dull. The style needed to be redesigned and ushered through production but there was a catch: it needed to ship in ten months and it couldn't cost a lot. Lateral thinking, semi-unconventional pipelines, educated-risk taking, and old-fashioned art fundamentals came to the rescue, and helped reshape the game's style into something that won awards before the game was even released. But what's the cost of succeeding early, and what happens when a team that worked so long with a big, stressful long term goal suddenly doesn't have one? The examples are pixelated, but the lessons are universal.
Shoot for the Sky: The Ambitious HDR Time-Lapse Skies of 'Forza Horizon 3'
Jamie Wood (Playground Games)
With 'Forza Horizon 3', Playground Games undertook an ambitious and novel approach to representing the sky over time. The team developed a technique for shooting high resolution 24 hour HDR time-lapse photography using a custom camera rig, on location, and then projected these evolving sky captures onto the in-game sky. The improvements this brought to the lighting system as a whole and the unexpected benefits of capturing the true changing nature of the sky offer a unique option for any videogame/real-time application that features moving time of day.
 

Related Summits & Tutorials (M-T)


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

Advanced Graphics Techniques (M)
 
Brought to you with the collaboration of the industry’s leading hardware and software vendors, the day-long Advanced Graphics Techniques Tutorial provides an in-depth look at how DirectX technologies can be applied to creating cutting-edge PC game graphics.
Animation Bootcamp (M)
 
Game animation has come into its own in recent years, forcing animators to wield a unique blend of art, design and technical prowess. The Animation Bootcamp is at the forefront of sharing that knowledge with developers everywhere. Bringing together a group of experienced and specialized animation experts, across AAA and Indie, this bootcamp is a daylong gathering to rally developers from all over the industry, with a focus on deeper discussions into the needs of strong character performances and player communication.

The day starts with more "traditional" focused talks on expected animation process but then throughout the day the focus will quickly transition into how to best apply that knowledge to game development. Through different tools and disciplines, the talks will show how the unique constraints and demands of games are creating the need for a new breed of animator.
Art Direction Bootcamp (M)
 
The Art Direction Bootcamp is a day-long event in the vein of GDC bootcamps, completely dedicated to art direction and broader artistic vision. Come see the leading artistic forces of the industry share their experience and raise the most important issues of the day. Learn a ton about what really matters in art, and how to build or support a vision and make friends doing it.

There will be a wealth of concentrated art-specific information from the top minds of the industry that should be interesting not just to newbies and students, but seasoned professionals who are concerned with pressing issues of the day and industry realities. New friends that are also passionate about game art are welcome.
Technical Artists Bootcamp (T)
 
Technical art is evolving rapidly. In many studios technical artists (TAs) play key roles in developing efficient tool pipelines, and ensuring art content is visually striking and optimized for performance. TAs bridge content and engineering, helping make both more successful. However, many studios have still not fully embraced the TA role. Their TAs are smart and eager to make an impact, but are not sure how to best prove their value, and be given key roles in development. A group of experienced, respected technical artists from across the industry would like to invite you to sit with them for a day and learn how to be a more effective TA. Speakers will focus on the tools and skills TAs can use to demonstrate their value, and further integrate technical art into their studios' pipelines and cultures. Find the worst development problems at your studio and show them what a TA can do!
Visual Effects Bootcamp (T)
 

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.

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