AnimfxNZ 2014 consists of the following inspirational and interactive days:

  • Thursday 13th February: Main conference
  • Friday 14th February: Series of Tutorial Classes and Workshops from industry leaders. Choose either the Animation or Gaming stream. Followed by a networking party!
  • Saturday 15th February: Weta Digital Presentation. Weta Digital presents highlights from their 2013 projects, including an insiders look at the characters and environments from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

AnimfxNZ main conference - Thursday 13 February, Te Papa

MC: Joseph Olin

Expand the section below to see the timetable.

Time Speakers
8:30 - 9:00 Registration
9:00 - 9:10 Take seats
9:10 - 9:20 Official conference welcome by Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Science & Innovation
9:30 - 10:20 Joseph Olin
Games not Guns: How Colombia is creating digital creative industries to kickstart a generation.

The country of Colombia has become infamous for being the home of drug lords and anti-government guerillas. In the 10 years since the death of Pablo Escobar, the Colombian government has invested about 15% of its annual budget on education. Recognising the social significance that digital entertainment plays in both local and global economies, the government has initiated programmes to help their young adults create new industries. This session will show that public-private sector partnerships can be effective and that games and animation are a sound investment.
10:30 - 11:20 James Gwertzman
How did Plants vs. Zombies become one of the most successful casual games of all time?

Plants vs. Zombies has enjoyed the sort of success that most game developers dream about -- but its success was no sure thing! James will go behind the scenes and take a close look at the key decisions and changes that led to its eventual popularity. As an added bonus, see how the game was modified to become not just popular, but highly profitable in the very competitive Chinese market.
11:20 - 11:40 Morning Tea
11:50 - 12:20 Jen Porter

Audiences are increasingly demanding quality content presented on the device and at the time of their choosing. Producers need to consider a multi-layered approach to meet their audience's increase in technological sophistication. Digital company BeyondTheStory uses proprietary artificial intelligence and advanced authoring tools to transform text-based content streams into interactive, media-enriched apps. Publisher Plus offers one integrated solution for media partners to generate new income streams from their assets, in a fast and scalable way. Jen will showcase the creative and technical methodology employed to process text and assets into enhanced audience experiences.
12:30 - 13:10 Brian Robbins

Brian will discuss ways to build a successful creative studio without having a huge mega hit like Angry Birds or Clash of Clans to depend on. Or put another way, it's a practical primer to building a stable business around contract development, your own projects, and how to mitigate risks along the way.
13:10 - 14:00 Lunch
14:10 - 15:00 Paul Amer
What does "next gen" really mean to Microsoft?

Paul will share recent experiences of shipping titles for Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, Xbox 360, Kinect and Xbox One as a way to showcase how Microsoft is evolving not only the scale, but also the nature of entertainment experiences across all of its platforms. In delivering truly first party experiences he will highlight how these products have leveraged new interaction paradigms, cloud computing and blending interactive and linear experiences. He will also illustrate how significantly a product can evolve when these experiences are leveraged as platform showcases.
15:10 - 16:00 Alex St John
Going It Alone

Like any great entertainment media, gaming thrives on novelty. The online game market is constantly evolving in an endless pursuit of new and novel game experiences. When new online game markets emerge there is usually a brief window of time during which the earliest pioneers for those markets have the opportunity to make the game that defines a new genre of interactivity and seal their fortunes by capturing it. Popcap did it with Bejeweled, Rovio with Angry Birds, and Zynga with social gaming and Poker. To capture these fleeting opportunities pioneering game studios must take huge risks in the face of completely unproven opportunities. This talk is devoted to identifying where the next big opportunities in online gaming will come from and what preparation is needed to capture them.
16:00 - 16:20 Afternoon tea
16:30 - 17:30 David Seidler
Your Script

How do you choose and control the script of your life? And how does your own script influence the stories you write? David Seidler, Academy and BAFTA award winning writer of films, television and plays, will mix some screenwriting tips with psychology to talk about creating compelling characters that will be sure to engage audiences.
18:00 - 19:30 Networking drinks
Oceania Room, Te Papa

AnimfxNZ Workshops day – Friday 14 February, Te Papa

*You'll be registered to attend one of the workshop streams below.

Expand the sections below for more details.

Time Workshops
9:00 - 10:00 James Gwertzman

There's No Free Lunch: Building Online Games to Scale

Game developers are notoriously bad at building online games that scale. Even large publishers are not immune to epic failure, and the consequences for a smaller company can be fatal. Why is this so hard? And what can you do to protect yourself? James will dig deeply into two recent epic fails to see what went wrong and how to avoid the same fate, as well as explore some recent successes and instead learn how to navigate a path to prosperity!
10:00 - 11:00 Jean Francois Prevost

In this presentation, we will talk about the Xbox One console and its various publishing options for game developers. The focus of the presentation will be on the self-publishing opportunity that is now available with the recently announced ID@Xbox program. We will also provide guidance on how to get started right now in order to get your games ready for this new console.
11:00 - 12:00 Brian Robbins

Making Free Profitable on Mobile

Brian will lead a how-to session on the methods and strategies that create profitable free titles on mobile. Using some of the games that Brian has developed at Riptide Games, as well as titles such as Clash of Clans, Zynga Poker and more, you will leave this session with an idea of how to utilize these ideas and methods in your own business.
12:00 - 12:30 Joseph Olin

Joseph will lead a classroom style creative exercise – Details TBC
12:30 - 13:30 Working lunch
13:30 – 14:00 Joseph Olin

Finish off classroom exercise.
14:00 - 15:00 Paul Amer

What are the ingredients of a successful pitch when engaging with a publisher like Microsoft?

Paul will give insights into the philosophy that is applied to partnerships with "First Party Partners" and how teams can engage successfully with Microsoft. Paul will use several case studies to highlight many of the common mistakes that are made, effective strategies for clearly communicating a strong creative vision and delivering upon it.
15:00 - 16:00 Serfina Pechan

What is Fun?

Serafina will talk about how to keep focused on the fun of a game. Too often we get so close to it or get so mired in the bits and bytes and details, we lose our ability to see what the fun actually is. Join Serafina and explore the why, what and how of fun.
16:00 - 17:00 Alex St John

This session will be devoted to the art and science of creating online games that market and monetize themselves. After years of experience building one of the internet’s largest online game studios and publishers, running a social network and working with thousands of small developers, Alex will share the insights, accidents and systematic techniques that have produced the biggest gaming success stories on the internet today. Primary emphasis will be given to analysing how hit games effectively market and monetize themselves.
17:00 - 19:00 Daytime activities ends – refreshen up time
AnimfxNZ party with PikPok
@Red Square
Time Workshops
9:30 - 10:20 Alejandro Davila
Wild Fairies Crossing: VFX: Motion Capture: Augmented Reality: Transmedia: Gamification

Join Alejandro Davila an Indie Filmmaker & VFX Lecturer as he shares his own experience in creating a fantasy world never seen before in an indie shortfilm. Learn how he is using augmented reality and gamification to take it to the Transmedia platform.
10:30 - 12:00 David Seidler Workshop
Bringing it Home

How do you make something interesting? David Seidler will lead a hands-on workshop that will explore how to create stories with real resonance. A note of caution for the more sensitive members of the audience, things could get scary!
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch
13:00 - 14:30 Making Low Budget Animation in New Zealand

In association with the New Zealand Film Commission NZ animation filmmakers, currently in production, including Glen Real, Riwia Brown and Catherine Fitzgerald will share the process, pitfalls and triumphs of making low budget animation features in New Zealand.
14:30 - 16:00 Mark Cuthbert: Pik Pok
A behind the scenes look at PikPok's animation and rigging over the years.

A retrospective look at animation and rigging across various titles PikPok has released over the past 13 years. Sprinkled with various anecdotes and rigging tips and tricks. From early PC and console titles to more contemporary Smart Device apps.
16:00-17:00 One hot Messi: Building the first life-sized man on the web, and other interactive tomfoolery

We're going to speak about the process of negotiation that gives rise to Resn's award-encrusted projects. One half creative, one half technology, one half strategic and one third user experience design, Resn has produced projects that confound expectations, delight customers and leave everybody they touch with an oddly satisfied glow.

Among other projects, we'll be talking about the gargantuan Life Size Messi project, the creative process, asset pipeline and strategies for the animation and AI. We'll also discuss the aptly-titled "Flash Driving Game" project for NZTA, which took the purple pin at the NZ Best Awards and won Bronze at the Cannes Lions awards. 

17:00 - 19:00 Daytime activities ends – refreshen up time
19:00 onwards AnimfxNZ party with PikPok
@Red Square, 32 Blair St

Weta Digital Presentation – Saturday 15 February, Park Road Post, Miramar.

N.B. Please note programme is subject to change.

Expand the section below to see the timetable.

Time Speakers
12:30 – 13:00 Registration
13:00 - 13:10 Welcome and introduction by Weta Digital VFX Supervisor, Matt Aitken
13:10 - 14:00 Matt Aitken, VFX Supervisor
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: A Journey through Middle-earth

Visual Effects Supervisor Matt Aitken presents the challenges and achievements across a selection of Weta Digital's visual effects work on the second film in the Hobbit trilogy. From the creature development work on the shape-changer Beorn to the environments of Thranduil's Realm and Erebor and concluding with the character work on Smaug the dragon, attendees will get a rare opportunity to get detailed shot breakdowns on a major film while it is still playing in the cinema.
14:00 - 14:30 Simon Jung, Compositing Supervisor
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Laketown : The Devil is in the Details

Compositing Supervisor Simon Jung takes you to Middle-earth's city on the Lake, illustrating the evolution from early stage pencil sketches to the bustling streets seen in 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'. He will walk the audience through the vast amount of individual elements that were created and woven together to populate the city, emphasizing the importance of adding detail to computer generated environments.
14:30 - 15:00 Afternoon tea hosted by Weta Digital
15:00 - 16:00 Evelyne Leblond and Tahl Niran, Compositors
The Wolverine : Vipers and Robots and Bears

The second installment of the popular Wolverine series stretched from the Wilderness of the Rocky Mountains to the hi-tech streets of Tokyo. Compositors Evelyne Leblond and Tahl Niran present a look at the huge variety of work that Weta completed for the film, focusing on three very different creatures: a bear, a mutant assassin, and a samurai robot.
16:00 - 17:00 Jeff Capogreco
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Sluice Sequence: Barrels out of Bond

VFX Supervisor Jeff Capogreco presents one of the most epic action sequences of the year: 'The Barrel Escape' from 'The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug'. The Sluice starts with a clever escape from Thranduil's Realm and quickly escalates into an all-out fast paced battle sequence filled with elves, dwarves, orcs and 20 tons of CG water. Jeff explains how it all came together.
17:00 - 18:00 Drinks and nibbles hosted by Weta Digital

Pik Pok invites you to the AnimFX 2014 after party. At red square on Blair Street, Friday 14 February, from 7pm.