Character Heads Creation Pipeline and
Rendering in Destiny course


Tuesday, 12 August 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM | Vancouver Convention Centre, West Building, Ballroom C/D


Course Summary


In Bungieís upcoming video game Destiny, character creators needed to produce a variety of visually advanced content that would be rendered in real time for in-game scenarios and in-engine cinematics. This course explores the challenges and constraints presented by console hardware and the real-life production needs of Bungieís pipelines for player and cinematic hair authoring and animation, and face-animation retargeting.


The course summarizes the techniques the character creators used to set up a future-proof geometry pipeline for hair rendering, developing hair shading that is integrated seamlessly into the full lighting pipeline for deferred rendering, and creating believable motion across a variety of console hardware. Topics include: how Bungie achieved high-quality face animation in in-engine real-time cinematics using face-animation retargeting; how tens of player-customizable heads shared a single animation across different human, alien, and robot races and genders; parameterization for the facial data for future-proofing the rigs; the tools and rig controls built for the animators; and evolution of the face-animation retargeting system.


Course Schedule


10:45 am

Introduction and Welcome



10:55 am

Hair in Destiny



11:25 am

Face Animation Retargeting in Destiny

Jones and Sanocki


12:10 pm

Questions and Answers






Basic understanding of 3D modeling, texturing, rigging, and animation.


Intended Audience

Technical artists, 3D modelers, character riggers, and animation engineers.


Course Organizer

Natalya Tatarchuk is an Engineering Architect currently working on state-of-the art cross-platform next-gen rendering engine and game graphics for the upcoming Bungie game Destiny. Previously she was a graphics software architect and a project lead in the Game Computing Application Group at AMD Graphics Products Group (Office of the CTO) where she pushed parallel computing boundaries investigating innovative real-time graphics techniques. Additionally, she had been the lead of ATIís demo team creating the innovative interactive renderings and the lead for the tools group at ATI Research. She has published papers and articles in various computer graphics conferences and technical book series, and has presented her work at graphics and game developer conferences worldwide.




Abstract: This talk explores the creation of hair under our interesting constraints: current-gen and next-gen support using the same authored assets, fitting within gameplay budgets for use in non-combat areas while maintaining a high level of quality in cinematics, and believable motion without the use of real-time simulation. Destiny is intended to last 10 years, so we aimed to future-proof our workflows to support future next-gen hair developments while still maintaining efficiency with our current, proven techniques. Discussed in the presentation is the creation of a custom Maya tool for artists that simplifies the creation of hair geometry, shading techniques used to create believable hair, and the use of vertex animation as an inexpensive hair simulation. 


Natalie Burke


Bungie, Inc.


Natalie Burke has a BS in Digital Arts and Sciences from the University of Florida and a MS in Interactive Entertainment from the University of Central Florida.  She has been working as a Character Technical Artist at Bungie since August 2012 where she is currently working on Bungieís new IP, Destiny.  When she isnít working on character workflow improvement she enjoys painting, playing saxophone, and cooking tasty vegetarian food. 




(Updated: October 3rd 2014)

PowerPoint slides (133 MB) , PDF slides (5 MB)






Abstract: In Face Animation Retargeting in Destiny, the authors explain how they were able to achieve high-quality face animation in our real-time cinematics. They will

  • Demonstrate how they were able to share a single animation across different human, alien and robot races and genders to generate forty two customizable heads
  • Discuss how the way the authors parameterized the data allowed them to future-proof the rigs, giving Bungieís animators and performance-capture technology more flexibility to grow in the future
  • Explain the philosophy that influenced Bungieís topology design and bone layout
  • Cover the tools and rig controls the authors built for Bungieís animators
  • Show some early approaches tried and challenges encountered
  • Lastly, the authors demonstrate art techniques and processes adapted from computer animated film that were instrumental for achieving higher-quality face rigging



Jason G. Jones, and Tom Sanocki


Bungie, Inc.


Jason G. Jones is a character technical artist at Bungie. He graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science and has been at Bungie since 2009.


Tom Sanocki is the Character and Cinematics Tech Art Lead at Bungie. Previously Tom was a Character Lead at Pixar Animation Studios for eleven years, working on such films as Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, Up, and Brave. Tom has filed four patents, presented talks at SIGGRAPH and GDC, and won a VES award. He graduated from Princeton University (Computer Science Engineering, 1998).




(Updated: October 3rd 2014)

PowerPoint slides (636 MB)