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Session Name: Technical Art Techniques: Character Rigging and Technical Animation
Speaker(s): Tim Borrelli, Ben Cloward, Seth Gibson
Company Name(s): 5th Cell Media, Bioware, 343 Industries
Track / Format: Production
Overview: Over the past few years, game art has become more complex and animation is no exception. While some might argue that animation hasn't advanced as far or as fast as rendering, this is all changing as the industry turns its focus towards achieving realistic, believable character performance. In addition to the advanced paradigms used to render objects environments, such as normal maps and other per-pixel lighting and shading techniques, today's game characters require advanced animation techniques, including shader based deformation, procedurally generated animation, and blendshapes, to name a few. As such, character rigging has evolved beyond simple ik handles, driven keys, and control shapes. Today's Character TD must have a much broader knowledge base and a much more technically oriented skillset to provide artists the tools and pipelines required to allow rapid iteration despite the massive amounts of data required by modern characters.

This panel will convene Character Riggers/TDs from various companies in the industry to discuss methods and solutions used in production across different projects and pipelines. As with past Technical Art Techniques Panels, this panel is meant to be an interactive discussion between the members of the panel and the audience about what has worked, what hasn't worked, and what could be done differently. The main topic of discussion will focus on designing a rigging and animation pipeline that allows for the incorporation of tools and paradigms such as:

-Motion capture and the associated software (Motionbuilder, Blade, EVA, etc)
-Open source animation, ie, leveraging animation from different motion sources including motion capture, procedural generation (Endorphin, Havok Behaviour, etc)
-Rigging for advanced deformation (blendshapes, shader based deformation, procedural helpers, muscle systems, etc)
-Scene/Asset management systems for characters (metadata schemes, asset markup, exporter frameworks, etc)

GDC 2010

Tim Borrelli

5th Cell Media

Ben Cloward


Seth Gibson

343 Industries

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