GDC 2024: Meet Us In Person!

industry Mar 08, 2024
GDC 2024 Visual Effects Events Overview & Meet VFX Apprentice Team

The time has come for us to talk about the upcoming Game Developers Conference because it’s right around the corner! In this post, we give a quick rundown of the events our community may find interesting, and where to find the VFX Apprentice team during the conference.

GDC 2024 takes place on March 18 through March 22 and will be held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There’s still time to register if you haven’t already so get on it!

Register Here

But first, let’s go over what exactly GDC is and who could benefit from attending.


What is GDC?

GDC (Game Developers Conference) is a leading event for game industry professionals to exchange ideas and learn about the latest advancements in game development. It is an annual conference held in San Francisco, California, and includes lectures, tutorials, and roundtable discussions led by industry experts, as well as networking opportunities and an exhibit hall showcasing the latest technology and tools. GDC is a platform for game developers to share their experiences, exchange knowledge, and advance their careers. We at VFX Apprentice can’t stress enough how informative and beneficial events like this are for the industry.

One of the perks included with attending the conference is one-on-one meetings with other industry-leading professionals. Attendees can request meetings with any fellow attendees through the GDC event mobile app. Just be sure to search other attendees by job title, professional interest, and other filters, then send them a meeting request with a proposed date, time, and location. This is an amazing way to build your network and make beneficial connections down the road. There will also be speed networking, happy hours, and an awards reception.

So what will we be up to at the conference? Let's discuss it!

GDC 2024: Meet the VFX Apprentice Team

We had a blast at last year's GDC, and we are happy to be there once again! If you plan on attending the conference, you have a chance to meet VFX Apprentice team: Jason Keyser — the founder of VFX Apprentice — will be hosting Days 1 and 2 of the Visual Effects Roundtable, along with Gabriel Boileau — VFX Apprentice instructor and mentor — hosting Day 1 and 3. We will get into more details of the topics for the Roundtable in a second.

If you want, contact [email protected] to make plans/schedules for breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner, or salsa dancing if you plan on going to the conference.

Also, we will have lots of free VFXA mascot stickers! Who doesn’t love stickers!

Here's a GDC 2023 talk our Mentor Kees Klop held with his former co-worker Miguel Ortiz Martin:


GDC 2024: Visual Effects Roundtable Overview



Hosts: Jason Keyser (Founder, CEO, VFX Artist, VFX Apprentice), Gabriel Boileau (VFX Artist, Activision Blizzard)

Location: Room 306, South Hall
Date: Wednesday, March 20
Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

The tools and techniques of Real-Time VFX have changed dramatically over the past few years. There are now extraordinarily powerful desktop GPUs, rapidly advancing mobile GPUs, compute shaders, complex particle sims, mesh-based effect techniques, and advanced post-processing and compositing tools. Join this roundtable to hear from other VFX artists, learn about their successes and failures, compare pie-in-the-sky ideas, and share your favorite tricks.



Host: Jason Keyser (Founder, CEO, VFX Artist, VFX Apprentice)
Location: Room 312, South Hall
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

The pool of creativity is endless if you keep reintroducing ideas and concepts to yourself. This - no doubt - will be reflected in your work, and so during Day 2 we will take a look at VFX through an Artistic Lens: focusing on attendee questions about the artistic aspects of VFX. This may include art education (as students or veterans), art direction, and more.



Host: Gabriel Boileau (VFX Artist, Activision Blizzard)
Location: Room 314, South Hall
Date: Friday, March 22
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Adapting to technological advances is important because more powerful hardware opens up more opportunities for the creators. That’s why during this roundtable we are looking through the Technical Lens for creating VFX: guiding the conversation through such as graph-based effect authoring, effect lighting and optimization, new mesh-based techniques, VR/AR/XR, and more.


 GDC 2022 talk by Simon Trumpler, member of the VFX Apprentice Community


GDC 2024: Visual Effects Summit



Speaker: Ben Esler (FXVille)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 9:30am - 10:30am

If you’re interested in using fractured geometry in their project, this talk will be of interest to you! Attendees will see different techniques for animating fractured pieces of geometry inside of a game engine and be given a toolkit of potential solutions for their own projects. Whether it's for ambient floating rocks, character moves, or even in-game cinematics, these techniques can be used in numerous ways to help artists get the most out of their assets in-engine. All the techniques are covered using Houdini for source art generation and Unreal for the game engine.



Speakers: Matthew Bennett (Insomniac Games), Jonathan Garrett (Insomniac Games), Derek Lewis (Insomniac Games)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 10:50am - 11:50am

Symbiotes take an important place in the lore of the Spider-Man franchise, and compromising on their representation in-game is not the preferable option. Take a peek behind the scenes of symbiotes' creation in Marvel's Spider-Man 2: the presenters walk through custom procedural tools created to facilitate art directable effects, the export process, and the custom engine systems implemented. You will have a chance to observe how users generated complex next-generation effects using procedural tools, how these effects were exported to engine, and how that data was processed in engine.



Speaker: Mathieu Girard (CD PROJEKT RED)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 1:20pm - 1:50pm

This talk presents how FX artists at CD PROJEKT RED remade the Blackwall visual effects for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, including how an abstract presence integral to the story was shown uniquely through effects, the extensive challenges of bringing it to life through its numerous forms, the solutions through the broad use of custom shaders, and the detailed process of each effect, including its narrative purpose, failed experiments, and solutions.



Speaker: Anoop Herur-Raman (FXVille)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 2:10pm - 2:40pm

If you seek to improve your lens flares, this talk is a must-attend! This session examines the most commonly observed lens flare elements, providing simple explanations for their behaviors as well as a conceptual understanding of the interaction between light, the camera lens, and the image sensor. You will also have a chance to review reference footage, spectate the tutorial for creating lens flares from scratch, and watch the speaker review the examples of successful lens flares from both film and games!



Speakers: Gregory Oliveira da Silva (Beyond-FX), Matias Mahler (Beyond FX)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 3:00pm - 3:30pm

A great opportunity to get some insights on how to use vector math and transformations on their shaders. The speakers go over the tricks to create a volumetric Laser Sword effect in Unreal, using Niagara to control the visual properties of the material and to pass position and rotation data to the shader to achieve a smear effect while keeping the volumetric glow around it. Also, this session explains how to use Dot Product and Cross Product to control the rotation of 2D particles inside Niagara in a way to fake a twirling motion of dust in the wind.



Speaker: André Bragason (CCP Games)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 3:50pm - 4:20pm

Enjoy a captivating deep dive into the world of VFX in EVE Online. This talk offers a unique blend of technical knowledge, artistic insight, and practical game development wisdom. See how the tools evolved to meet the challenges of new features that continual development and delivery required. Discover the solutions that improved the processes, enabled rapid prototyping, and allowed a small VFX team to succeed. Plus, see some neat tips and tricks for VFX creation found along the way!



Speakers: Abel Zhang (Funplus Games), Yongchao Wen (Funplus Games), Haojiang Song (Funplus games)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 4:40pm - 5:10pm

Explore efficient cross-project VFX techniques in the footsteps of FunPlus' VFX team! Discover how their team handles multiple projects annually, utilizing reusable shaders and techniques across diverse art styles. Delve into six compelling visual effect examples addressing common FX challenges, and witness an innovative 3D approach to 'structure, volume, and motion,' employing fundamental geometric models and simulated materials for impactful visual effects.



Speakers: Laura Higgins (Rocksteady Studios Ltd), Shannon McSheehan (Riot Games), Guy Cool (FXVille), Jamal Coleman (Riot Games)
Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass
When: Monday, March 18 | 5:30pm - 6:30pm

When you’re on a learning journey, the question “What’s next?” is inevitable. And even though you probably already know the answer to it, there might be other questions holding you back. This talk will cover tools and examples anyone can use to learn new skills and grow in their craft without becoming overwhelmed. Take a particular look at the benefits of mentoring and how to develop a successful mentoring relationship.



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