Thursday


FMX. Obviously
Its 8:25pm and I just came back from a panel with the best people in the industry at creating 'virtual humans'. To sit in a room with 40 others and listen to the discussion of people who created the CG characters in Tron, Benjamin Button, Pirates of the Caribbean, Terminator and Paul, is insane and it took a few minutes to dawn on me. They opened the floor up to questions and it was all a bit like speaking to deities. Topics ranged from interpretation of an actors performance, to procedural character performance, to sub-surface scattering and each member of the panel had an opinion or insight to express. They all agreed that Davy Jones was one of the first characters that really blew them away, Bill Nighy for prime minister!
"Do you fear death, Jack Sparrow-ah?"

Thursday was always going to be a slow day from what the timetable promised. This meant that the first event I attended was 'Sea Rex', which was surprisingly good in a kind of dinosaur-reconstruction-pseudo-scientific-historical-fiction-spectacular way.

Look how awake we all are

Double Negative did a talk on how they developed the alien character Paul for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's most recent film. Their facial rig was driven entirely by a massive library of blend shapes that their artists were able to model a dozen of each day, so that the rig evolved in complexity throughout production to meet the needs of the animators. The animators would use “accelerometer” motion capture suits to get a rough base for the scene they were animating and using that reference helped them speed up their work-flow massively.
Paul
Later that afternoon I attended a talk on Uberstrike, touted as facebook's top FPS. Unfortunately the guy from Cmune was part of the business side of the company so the talk focused mainly on business models of social games and how Uberstrike filled a massive gaping hole in the gaming market by catering to social gamers with hardcore gameplay that was presented in an accessible manner. Despite this less than stimulating subject matter the talk was engaging and I got to ask a question about what he thought of the Unity game engine and they're experience of using it. This was the point where he revealed his involvement in the managerial side of things and confessed to a lack of knowledge of the development itself. Ah well.
This is what I was doing in between talks :)

This was followed by the 'Virtual Humans' panel I mentioned previously. I'm so glad I went to it, after the stale and uninspired business minded talk on Uberstrike- it was refreshingly focused on what is important when it comes to human performance and communication, rather than money, or technology. There was an annoying guy asking questions in the front who stated he was from the games industry numerous times, and every dumb question he asked he got more verbally dominated by the assertive guy from Digital Domain. I wanted to shake his hand afterwards, but I didn't.
I got very lost in Stuttgart after making my way to the top of this hill.
Well worth clicking for fullscreen, its giant.

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