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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Animation Summit: Rebuilding the 'Borderlands' Animation Pipeline in Unreal 4

Maebe Sewell  (Lead Technical Design Animator, Gearbox Software)

Ian Davis  (Technical Animator, Gearbox Software)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 9:40am - 10:40am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Shipping a game while switching engines is like riding a bicycle while you build it. Learn how the Borderlands 3 Animation and Rigging teams leveraged this opportunity to improve their systems and their morale. Presenters from both teams describe advanced layering techniques, new rigging techniques for procedural animation, new animation tools to support near infinite weapon variation, methods to give animators more controls than ever, and how more life was brought to characters throughout the border-worlds. They discuss team growth and the exploration that is paving the way for Gearbox Software's animation technology moving forward. This presentation further outlines the challenges faced in switching to Unreal 4 and working alongside a new sister studio.


This presentation is intended to impart an understanding of how the Gearbox Animation pipeline has evolved and our trajectory into future projects. It highlights animation techniques new to our studio with the intent to help other teams who may be exploring new animation techniques and pipelines themselves.

Intended Audience

Attendees can be of any experience level, ideally they should have knowledge of animation and rigging pipelines and an idea of the scope of animation content for a full project. The content within this presentation involves animation content creation, but focuses on engine implementations and rigging systems around animation.