Everything game developers have done over the past decade in character animation is reaching a turning point. Procedural techniques (all three kinds, see below) have gone from research prototypes to being applied reliably in mainstream games on a regular basis. Now, as game developers understand the implications of this technology, animation pipelines and runtimes are being redefined accordingly — to make the most of the low-level hardware and open up new opportunities in animation expressiveness.
In this workshop, the world's only event dedicated to the technology of character animation, you'll find out how pipelines are being completely redefined by procedural animation techniques, how blend trees and motion graphs have been impacted by the changes. There are tremendous opportunities in reducing costs and improving quality of animation by staying in touch with these cutting-edge trends; don't get left behind! This intense day-long workshop is only available to a small group of people, in the spirit of a mastermind class. If you're a game developer who wants to get more out of your existing animation system, or you are just starting out on the road to procedural animation, you don't want to miss this workshop!
#1 – Morning
Runtime Rigs & Inverse Kinematics
The concept of “runtime rigs” is a very recent development in the games industry, only made possible by recent insights into animation technology and understanding how to apply it to modern hardware. In the first half of the day, you'll learn everything you need to know about runtime rigs: what changes are necessary to your pipeline, how to setup the effectors, where to attach the solvers, and ultimately drive the underlying skeleton.
In this part of the day, the workshop will specifically focus on the following examples and applications:
- Locomotion — Lower-body animation, specifically how to place legs such that it results in high-quality and responsive motion. Where do you use keyframed animation, and how to make sure it fits with the underlying geometry?
- Interactions — Upper-body animations, for instance using arms to interact with objects such as doors, weapons, ammunition, etc. How do you combine keyframes with procedural techniques to allow exact hand placement?
While focusing on these examples, you'll learn how to setup your runtime rig to support these common examples. You'll see how adding more procedural techniques enables you to reduce the number of animation tracks. You'll also see how IK rigs can be efficiently implemented on modern hardware, capable of dealing with all limbs of the characters on screen.
Take the opportunity to socialize with other developers in the field of animation during the lunch that's included with your workshop. Two tea and coffee breaks are also included during the day itself.
#2 – Afternoon
Active Skeletons & Physics Simulation
The second part of the day will dig into physics-based solutions, in particular the concept of active skeletons. Again, recent advances in animation techniques has allowed AAA and indie developers to make the most of simulation to reduce their animation requirements, in particular the number of keyframes that need to be created. Beyond just ragdolls, physics simulation can provide an additional level of quality to animations in many (or most) situations.
In this part of the day, you'll hear about specific examples and applications:
- Reactions — Full-body responses to hits, explosions and other external forces that require responding to the world physically.
- Combat — Upper-body (mostly) interactions where the arms and hands are likely to interact or hit a nearby target.
While focusing on these examples, you'll hear about setting up an active skeleton such that it performs efficiently, and how it can help reduce the amount of keyframes you need to setup a new motion.
Attendee List (Partial)
- Bobby Anguelov, IO Interactive
- Charlie Edmunds, Microsoft Game Studios
- Jan Kratochvil, 2K Czech
- Cloderic Mars, MASA Group
- Youichiro Miyake, Square Enix
- Ryan Villamil, SRI International
- Tim Hanagan, Rocksteady Studios
- Ivailo Ivanov, Gameloft
- James Bonner, Opaque Multimedia
- Andreas Monitzer, UAS Technikum Wien