Self-improvement is a fine way to start the new year, so with that in mind, here’s a series of over two dozen tips and tricks to improve your craft as an animator (especially aimed at animators working in games).

The 35-minute program took place at GDC (Game Developers Conference) last March, but the video was made available on Youtube more recently. The participating animators who share their tricks of the trade are Alex Lehmann (art director, Riot Games), Amy Drobeck-Jones (senior animator, 5th Cell), Jean-Denis Haas (senior lead animator, ILM), Simon Unger (senior animator, Phoenix Labs), Billy Harper (lead animator, Sucker Punch studios), and Jay Hosfelt (lead animator, Epic Games).

While animation principles remain largely the same, it’s fascinating to see how game mechanics can modify the rules, such as Alex Lehmann’s advice for putting anticipation at the end of a cycle. Other concepts, such as creating convincing jittery handheld camera motion or developing an animation pipeline to deal with dense mo-cap data, illustrate the countless new challenges faced by contemporary game and cg animators.

As event organizer Alex Lehmann acknowledges in the panel, video games are still a relatively young industry. “Games, in general, is a couple of decades old, and animation in games is even younger. We’re all still learning.” And thanks to these generous artists who are sharing their insights, there’s plenty to learn too.

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