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GDC + VRDC 2019 Session Scheduler

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The Dao of VFX Animation

Jeremy Griffith  (Senior VFX Artist, Riot Games)

Location: Room 2014, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 10:00 am - 10:30 am

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

This talk cuts to the core of what makes VFX animation work, is it "realism"? Or is it "believe-ability"? Are those two things the same? The talk investigates this question through examining "VFX animation through art history," comparing depictions of water in European Romantic painting and classical Chinese ink painting. The talk argues that the Chinese ink artists come out on top because they explicitly tried to capture the "dao" or "way" of water rather than surface detail "realism."

The session will apply this perspective to VFX animation with a demo of how to create fire with leaf textures, taking advantage of the similarity between the *underlying patterns* of fire and leaves. Part of being an effective VFX artist is noticing the fundamental processes, or "dao," or "ways", at work across very different things. So go out into the world and experience many different things!


Attendees will gain familiarity with the useful concept "dao" from Chinese philosophy, and will gain understanding of how to apply that concept to their understanding of art history and their work as artists.

Intended Audience

All artists, but especially VFX artists and technical artists. Basic familiarity with node-based shader graphs will increase the value of the demo portion.