Stylized Rendering in Games - SIGGRAPH 2010
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Course Description

Games like Prince of Persia and Battlefield Heroes deliver artistic visions beyond standard photo-realistic 3D. In this course, game developers teach the challenges of creating distinctive visual styles for interactive environments and some of their own solutions. Topics include the art pipeline, rendering algorithms, and integrating visuals with gameplay.

Why stylized rendering? As they matured, the visual arts (painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture) all developed new visual-abstraction mechanisms to go beyond "realism". Recent advances in visual effects have put film and games into this transitional state. In a sense, we're like artists at the end of the Renaissance: we've nearly mastered photorealism, but are only at the beginning of our discoveries about expression and perception.

Some effects are subtle, like the color shifts and post-processing in Mirror's Edge. Others, such as the graphic-novel look of Mad World, dominate the entire rendering style. In games, real-time and interactive constraints require more efficient and robust solutions than are employed elsewhere in computer graphics. And to be successful, a stylized renderer must integrate with appropriately stylized models, animation, and audio to form a coherent virtual world and ultimately enhance game play.

Prince of Persia (Win, Xbox 360, PS3)
Developed by Ubisoft Montreal
Published by Ubisoft 2008

In this course, leading game developers candidly discuss the challenges of creating and implementing a stylized artistic vision for a game. Each speaker covers a specific game aspect, such as the art pipeline, rendering algorithms, art direction, and modeling.


9:00 amIntroduction to Stylized Rendering in Games
Morgan McGuire, Williams College and NVIDIA Research
20 min
9:25 amAmmo, Bacon and Stylized Gameplay of Monday Night Combat
Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake, Uber Entertainment
20 min
9:50 amThe Illustrative Rendering of Prince of Persia
Jean-François St-Amour, Ubisoft Montreal
20 min
cancelledPersonalized Cool Characters in Brink
Deano Calver, Splash Damage
10:15 ambreak
20 min
10:45 amStyle and Gameplay in the Mirror's Edge
Henrik Halén, Electronic Arts
20 min
11:10 amCartoon 3D for Battlefield Heroes
Henrik Halén, Electronic Arts
15 min
11:30 pmMaking Concept Art Real for Borderlands
Aaron Thibault and Brian Martel, Gearbox Software
20 min
11:55 pmPanel Discussion and Questions
All speakers
20 min
12:15 pmend

Introduction to Stylized Rendering In Games

Lecturer:Morgan McGuire
Affiliation:Williams College and NVIDIA Research
Location:Room 502 A, 9:00 am
Bio:Morgan McGuire is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Williams College on sabbatical at NVIDIA in 2010. He is the lead author of Creating Games: Mechanics, Content and Technology and has previously co-chaired the Interactive 3D Graphics and Games and the Non-photorealistic Rendering and Animation conferences. His game credits include the Titan Quest role playing game and the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 action-RPG for Xbox 360.
Updated 7/24

Ammo, Bacon and Stylized Gameplay of Monday Night Combat
Lecturer:Chandana "Eka" Ekanayake
Affiliation:Uber Entertainment
Location:Room 502 A, 9:25 am
Bio:Eka is the Art Director and Executive Producer at Uber Entertainment on Monday Night Combat for Xbox Live Arcade.
Updated 7/26

The Illustrative Rendering of Prince of Persia
Lecturer:Jean-François St-Amour
Affiliation:Ubisoft Montreal
Location:Room 502 A, 9:50 am
Bio:Jean-François is currently working as a Lead 3D Programmer at Ubisoft's Montreal studio. In his time at Ubisoft, he has worked on the graphics technology behind Assassin's Creed and the Prince of Persia (2008). Before working on current-gen hardware, Jean-François was working on mobile titles at Gameloft. He has a Master's degree in Computer Graphics from the University of Montreal, where he worked on real-time soft shadow algorithms, as well as GPGPU.

Style and Gameplay in the Mirror's Edge
Lecturer:Henrik Halén
Affiliation:Electronic Arts
Location:Room 502 A, 10:45-11:05 am
Bio:Henrik was the rendering lead on the Mirror's Edge and has been with EA DICE since 2006. He now works for Electronic Arts.

Cartoon 3D for Battlefield Heroes

Lecturer:Henrik Halén
Affiliation:Electronic Arts
Location:Room 502 A, 11:10-11:25 am
Bio:Henrik was the rendering lead on the Mirror's Edge and has been with EA DICE since 2006. He now works for Electronic Arts.

Making Concept Art Real for Borderlands

Lecturers:Aaron Thibault and Sean "Zoner" Cavanaugh
Affiliation:Gearbox Software
Location:Room 502 A, 11:30-11:50 am
Bio:Aaron Aaron is Gearbox Software's VP of Product Development, where he is responsible for staffing decisions, facilitating R&D collaborations, and attempting to predict the future. He has a history of facilitating game based research partnerships between academia, government and industry, including program development at and between UT-Austin, SMU Guildhall, Stanford MediaX, Baylor, the US Army, Origin Systems (Electronic Arts) and others. Shipped titles include Ultima 9, Ultima Online, Alice, F/A 18, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and Borderlands.

Zoner was the Senior Rendering Engineer on Borderlands.

Materials: None yet