GDC 2020 VFX Summit!

Hi everyone! I hope it’s been a great year for you all so far. I’m Christina, your GDC VFX Summit organizer for 2020. I’m posting to announce our speaker line up, if you haven’t already seen it yourself on the GDC website.

We’re incredibly excited to welcome this amazing group of speakers who will be traveling from across the globe to share their knowledge with us on diverse topics ranging from the challenges of creating AAA effects to building your own VFX studio, and more.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting to introduce each speaker to you all. As our speakers are hard at work preparing for GDC, feel free to drop them a line and discuss their upcoming talk. And please feel free to reach out to any one of us leading up to the summit. We’d be happy to answer any of your burning GDC questions!

And with all that said, I’d love to introduce one of our speakers: Anastasia Sopikova. Ana (@whtsrnm) is currently located in the UK where she’s working as a VFX artist at Sumo Digital. In March, she’ll be teaching us the ways in which she’s able to make sense of complex VFX systems and bend them to her will. After her talk, you’ll be equipped with tools you can use to tackle any VFX software and create your own complex systems, simply. Before then, please feel free to introduce yourself to Ana here!

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Thanks for the introduction Christina, really excited to be giving this talk! A few years ago I could only dream of even just attending GDC so it feels a bit surreal to speak :slight_smile: Looking forward to meeting everyone!

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Hype !!! :partying_face::partying_face::partying_face::partying_face:

Woah, how awesome! :smiley: :tada::fire: Wish I could visit, aaaaawww!

Happy Saturday everyone! Keeping up with the GDC hype :bullettrain_front:, I’d like to introduce another speaker for this year’s summit: Veer Sharma. Many of you may be familiar with Veer as a self taught VFX artist who got his start by leveraging community driven forums, like this one! At GDC, Veer is giving back by sharing his tips for creating stylized effects through shaders, especially useful for those artists who want to create a stylized look but don’t feel comfortable hand painting textures.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or just want to give a shout out, feel free to send a message to @veer!

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Thank you Christina! Really humbled to get this opportunity to give back to the community that’s given me so much over the years. :sparkling_heart::sparkles::star2:

Looking forward to this talk and sharing some knowledge that is valuable to everyone! :slight_smile:

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I’m back! Hopefully you’re not all tired of hearing updates from me yet :sweat_smile: Another talk that I think you all will be stoked to catch either in person or in the Vault is our Microtalks, featuring some very familiar faces: Shannon McSheehan, Sarah Carmody, Alim Chaarani, and Oli McDonald. This amazingly talented group of veteran artists will each be sharing invaluable bite sized lessons they’ve learned about being an effective VFX artist that they wish they could have bestowed on their younger selves. You’ll walk away with game changing tips you can apply to your work immediately.

If you can’t wait until March, please give a shout to @ShannonBerke, @SarahCarmody, @alimchaarani, and @Beardilocks! (I can’t wait until March either :partying_face:)

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Wooo! So excited, look forward to meeting some of you there :smiley:

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Alrighty! If COVID hasn’t frightened you away from GDC, know that the VFX Summit is standing strong with you :grinning: Here’s my final post to announce the rest of our speakers. Give us a shout and let us know what you want to talk about and how we can make sure our summit beneficial to you. CAN’T WAIT TO SEE ALL YOUR SHINING FACES THERE!


Mandy Morland (@tempest) is the lead campaign VFX artist at The Coalition. Her talk, titled “The Subtle Art of Not Making VFX” helps us discover key skills that are imperative to our success as artists and team members. Mandy will walk us through why these skills are so important for us to invest and will share tips on how you can start practicing those skills today.


Have you ever wondered what it might take to build your own VFX studio? Ever notice just how much unclaimed VFX work is out there but wasn’t sure how to get connected? Nick McElmury, (@nmcelmury) a founding member of Beyond-FX will share BFX’s journey to becoming one of the industry’s most trusted VFX outsourcing studios. If you’re questioning where to get started in building your own studio, Nick’s lessons learned will help you get a leg up on your own journey.


Coming all the way from Texas, we’ll welcome Ashley Lyons (@alyons) who will share his insight on the making of Borderlands 3 VFX. Though it is the third title in this beloved franchise, you’ll be surprised to know of all the change and uncertainty that initially plagued their development. Ashley will share how his team managed to work through and embrace the change, which ultimately became the key factor for how the visual effects in Borderlands 3 became their best iteration yet.


Norman Wang, founder and CEO of Glassbox Technologies will share his knowledge and experience in blurring the lines between entertainment and games, showing us how we as individuals and indie game developers can already harness the advances in film making technology to power the visual quality of our effects and the efficiency of our pipelines and workflows.


And last but most certainly not least, Lauren Simpson (@Lauren_Simpson) who is a VFX artist by trade but has found herself focused on tools development at 343, will walk us through a tool she recently rolled out to improve her studio’s visual effects workflow. Lauren will teach us the do’s and don’ts for successful adoption and change management of new tools to artists.

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Oh, man, these all sound awesome! I’m sad I won’t be going this year. Will all of these be in the GDC Vault?

I also noticed a lot of companies have been pulling out of GDC because of coronavirus concerns… Are these presentations still going to happen? I’m really hoping to catch them once they hit the vault. Of course, please take care of your safety first.

We’re still working out the details! It’s been a whirlwind with so much happening in a small time period. The speakers, myself, and GDC have all been trying to work through this. I’ll update this thread once I have more confirmation about what is actually happening at GDC this year. But in the meantime, if anyone has more questions, please don’t hesitate to post them. I’ll provide as much concrete information as I have.

AAAAAAAAAND that’s a wrap! Lol. So sorry everyone! GDC has officially announced that it will be postponing the conference. You can find that announcement here. They are offering videos on GDC’s Youtube channel and the free portion of the Vault for any speaker who’s able to submit a video of their talk. We’re still in a whirlwind of organizing what will happen next so as soon as I have any information around dates of the postponement, whether any talks will be available for you to check out online, etc., I will post back.

Thank you for the support everyone! All of our speakers have incredible talks prepared. We’ll find a way to share it with you all one way or another!

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It’s a shame, but it’s for the best. If I can come with a suggestion, is that the presenters do their presentations on Discord. There’s a streaming function (or use twitch/mixer) and voice/text chat. That way, everyone who wants to attend can, and they would all be able to ask questions afterwards. I know how much it sucks to have a talk that you’ve rehearsed cancelled or postponed. Recording it on your own isn’t the same thing as a live performance.

Just my 2c.

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Perhaps if people still want to give it at gdc after, that could be a good practice run?

Yep, it does sound like it’s probably for the best. I would really love to be able to check out any videos that do get posted!

That’s definitely a great suggestion and could end up becoming a cool tradition of speakers also giving their talks over Discord, post GDC, for those who weren’t able to make it! It’s something we could try incorporating for 2021. For 2020, our latest update is that recordings will be submitted to the Vault for anyone to access for free. I’ll write back with another update once there are links to share. Thanks for all of your continued support!

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Sorry for everyone involved with this about the cancellation. Hopefully there an option that won’t make everyone’s hard work and prep for naught. If anything, I hope this is another nudge to get GDC to set up a Streaming style ticket, or even push it to be entirely digital, with people doing presentations from their home or local offices.

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