GDC 2018 VFX Bootcamp: Panel and questions

A good caustic pattern (especially one with nice rainbowy chromatic aberration) is super useful! I’ve gotten a lot of work out of a particular material that I usually call something like “noise flare” that is noise with radial UVs and various procedural masks. I use it in everything from shockwaves to impact flares to muzzleflashes to dirt poofs. I regularly clean up overdraw-y flares with a carefully made noise flare and get a bunch of free randomization for the trouble :slight_smile: f

Probably the single textures I’ve gotten the most out of was intended as a tiling blood clip-out mask, but I use it has ended up a lot of places due to being nicely stringy and having a broad range of value.

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I wonder if part of the issue is less about “hoarding knowledge” and part of it is that a lot of studios have custom VFX tools so maybe we don’t think generally enough about process or even end goal? instead we think about how we do stuff our specific tool sets and don’t think that’s useful to pass on? maybe? lol.

I think it can be really useful to hear about features that other custom tool sets have, since it might be something that you are not even thinking of. I know at my studio having new artists join the team has helped our tools get better simply because of feature requests that they have made. Stuff that we had totally been missing out on, but now rely on.

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I don’t think this is the case. Guerrilla Games uses their own engine (I believe) and they still share a huge chunk of documentation on their techniques. The huge motion vectors thread on here, and Klemen Lozar’s breakdown and conversion of that info into UE4 terms, is thanks to them sharing. They also shared their entire process for Horizon’s procedural clouds and weather system. When I saw people first start talking about the motion vector stuff though, there were a few who chimed in that they had also been using that technique for years, or on project XYZ.

If we all have techniques like this, why don’t we share that with the community? Maybe it was because there wasn’t as good a platform as we have here now to share it? Maybe studio or publisher restrictions on what we could share? Or maybe it could be as simple as “no one ever asked”. Shoot, maybe everyone is just a bit too humble haha. I hardly share stuff I do, because I feel like anyone on here could just as easily do the same. I have noticed a discrepancy between the levels of shared information though. Some answers to questions about techniques are along the lines of “I just used some meshes with a texture” vs “well first you go in and sim your fluid, be sure to use this solver or you’ll get this one problem, then cache that to a mesh by doing this, then… etc, etc, etc”

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I digging this conversation

Sorry I just moved into a new apartment so I’ve been absent for a few days.

I think that up to now there hasn’t been a forum like this to post other than polygon so I agree with Travis’ platform comment. There’s also the ‘but its not done’ scenario, where the tech is half baked or as done as it needs to be before it ships. Talking about tech that’s not finished is a bit harder than not, but I’ve never shipped anything with tech that was ‘done’, I know I didn’t want to talk about some of the things I did at Avalanche, since I didn’t see it as finished. but yeah that might be just me though.

Conceptually a lot of what we might be working on in custom engines do work, but I wonder if there’s a fear that the tech one develops for a custom engine is too specific or too tooled for your custom engine. I believed that, until I did a presentation on data driven effects and found a lot of other people were doing that or wanted to see how to do it. So putting it out there is always good even though you might think it won’t apply to everyone.

this post brought to you by coffee!

I hope the move has gone smoothly. Are you still looking for speakers?

The move went as well as expected. heh

I’m currently full up on speakers but I do have a reserve list started. I’ll put you on it in case something happens. Thanks!


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Double on that! Would be great to get in depth description of how VFX artists work on those combat games.

Topics on ‘Getting into VFX’ would be useful, I’m sure there’s lots of grads perhaps from film courses or other art areas that just don’t know where to look for Unity and Unreal tutorials, and what employers are looking for.

Posting this on the chance that the talks get too full and they can’t squeeze in a ‘Getting into’ section:

Andreas and some others did a live stream on getting into vfx

and I did a write up of my experience starting as a junior fx artist with no game dev experience up to now. I tried to add as much info as I could on what a beginning artist can expect to encounter. I’d welcome and appreciate anyone else adding their experience starting out as an FX artist too! I’d like to make it a resource that students can find and scroll through.

There was another thread somewhere on here that was basically people asking where to get started, tutorial-wise, but I think it’s buried now. I’ll try to search for it and add it to this when I have time.


Hi Freddy,

I am looking forward for the VFX bootcamp in GDC18. :smiley:
Thank you for organizing. !!! :slight_smile:

Intressting would be some talk from mobile/table productions.
And talks about concept/design and animation&timings.

Emre :slight_smile:

I’ve currently have all of the speaker spots filled and I can say we’re going to be talking about animation and concept/design a bit. I’ll be posting the topics and talks as soon as I get them set in the GDC templates, likely post something sometime in December as its the final deadline for submitting the descriptions. Thanks!


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I see thank you!!! I am looking forward!!! :slight_smile:


Damn, I saw the prices today. Unless I can get someone to sponsor me, I can’t afford to go to GDC this time around.

I cringed as well. May have to do conference associate just to go

Might be too late to this thread, but some sort of discussion on the impact of platform. Obviously there are different technical limitations that must be considered, but there is also demand for slightly different skillsets. This is especially important in any discussion focused on breaking into VFX, your skillset will need to fit the studio and product.

Side note: Working in mobile games, seeing breeding edge VFX for next gen consoles is always bring about a mix of inspiration, jealousy, and motivation.

Hey all,

I’m just getting started in VFX (coming from modeling/texturing) and I’m wondering if you guys think that the GDC VFX Bootcamp is something that I should attend as a beginner without a solid demo reel?

I saw what @Travis posted about getting started (thank you!) and will check it out ASAP. But from people who have gone before, is the ~$1000 worth it for someone just starting in VFX, or is it more a discussion series for those who are already working (or at least have a working knowledge).

I’ve talked with a friend who is also starting out, and they think it would be a lot of hands-on tutorials and demos that would be invaluable to learning VFX. I’m just not sure that’s the case and would appreciate any feedback.

The bootcamps and (idk if Tutorials got lumped with bootcamps or scrapped all together) are good no matter your level because it’s FX artists talking about what they’ve learned, workflows and techniques. For someone who is just starting out in FX it’s probably more beneficial to you than the Roundtables, which from what I remember is mostly a room full of artists talking shop and what the future holds.

The tutorials aren’t actually a room full of computers where you learn things hands on; it’s pretty much a panel of FX artists each talking about a topic of their choice. Great for taking notes, but nothing hands on.

EDIT: if it’s your first GDC you will get much more out of it than someone who’s gone a few times before. After you’re done with the Bootcamp stuff on Mon-Tues, you have the rest of the week to check out the expo hall and all the other booths and stuff. It’s cool, but usually the same kind of stuff each year so a returning GDC goer will breez through all of that in half a day.

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I’ve been to GDC17. The bootcamp is great but all the lectures are going to be available online at some point. What is really great about GDC is meeting people and share experiences + round-tables.

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It’s worth noting that the round tables aren’t put online by GDC and that the bootcamp and the rest of the talk will be online but you have to pay to view.

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Very good point. Someone usually takes notes, but since the round tables are interactive you definitely miss out on that aspect.

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