Elaine is a game designer and entrepreneur specializing in gamification and communications. She entered the gaming industry in 2014 after 8 years in book publishing as editor and project manager. She cofounded TEK Brigade, a company dedicated to improving the video game landscape through community building and outreach. Their work include the JamNATION game jam league and, more recently, the consumer gaming event MEGA – Montréal Expo Gaming Arcade.
Samantha Youssef has worked as a character animator for Walt Disney Animation, as well as other reputable companies such as Yowza Animation, and Filmax, and has directed at Ubisoft Digital Arts. Film and gaming animation studios employ Samantha to train their artists, and she has done masterclasses for animation studios and colleges around the world. She has also been invited to conduct lectures at several events across North America and Europe. Samantha has been featured in the media, including Chatelaine Magazine, Musique Plus, and Wired Magazine.
As founder of Studio Technique, Samantha offers a rich and extensive background in the arts. Her classical art background, along with her experience in feature film animation and the video game industry, has allowed her to create a unique program that offers specialized training to all varieties of artists. She graduated from Sheridan College’s classical animation program, as well as the Gobelins intensive program in Paris, and has studied at prestigious art academies across the globe. She is a former ballet dancer, and brings her understanding of dance, movement, physicality and body mechanics to her uniquely designed program of drawing and animation.
Because of the caliber of its artistic training, Studio Technique has been employed to provide specialized training to many professional studios globally. Not only have we been sought out for training by artists at top tier studios such as Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks Animation, Bluesky, Reel FX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Framestore. Studio Technique clients include companies such as Bioware, Cinematic Studios, EA Mobile, Electronic Arts, Eidos, Gameloft, Industrial Light & Magic, Mercury Filmworks, THQ, Ubisoft, Visceral Games,WB Games, and We Are Minority.
Samantha Stahlke is the CEO and technical director of Ominous Games, an independent game studio based in Oshawa, Ontario. She has worked on a number of game development and research projects pertaining to user experience in games. Samantha is also a researcher at UOIT and an active member of the development community.
Maureen Berho received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Chile. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Niebla Games, an independent video game development company based in Valparaíso, Chile; and Member of the Board of Directors of the Chilean Trade Association of Video Game Development Companies, VG Chile. Niebla Games’ projects have been supported by multiple public and private institutions, such as the Chilean Corporation of Productive Promotion (CORFO), the National Council of Arts and Culture of Chile (CNCA), and the Agency of Exports Promotion (ProChile). Maureen was elected as one of the 100 Young Leaders of 2016 by El Mercurio, a national newspaper; the recipient of the InspiraTEC Prize (2016) for inspiring women in technology by the Chilean Ministry of Economy and the Young Female Entrepreneur Prize (2017) by the Chilean Women in Business Foundation. She was recently selected as an ambassador for the Chilean Services Trademark by Brand Chile.
Leonard Teo is the founder and CEO of ArtStation, the leading showcase platform for games, film, media and entertainment artists and Ballistiq Digital, a high-end web agency. He is a hybrid software developer, designer, marketer and entrepreneur that specializes in 3D graphics, game development film visual effects and architectural visualization. He previously worked as a Product Marketing Manager for Softimage and Autodesk Media & Entertainment. Pursuing his passion for developing great apps, he first founded CGSociety.org, the world’s largest online community for the high-end computer graphics industry, and in 2014, ArtStation. With close to 500,00 thousand members and 3 million unique users per month, ArtStation is now considered the reference for artists, studios and media software companies.
Jonathan Lessard is a designer, researcher and professor of game design at Concordia University. He’s been making weird games for almost twenty years and is now leading the LabLabLab research lab on interactive conversations with virtual characters.
Raphaël Lacoste is an art director and illustrator, born in Paris, France, in 1974.
He studied at the École des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux from 1993 to 1997, in Art and Media.
Wanting to learn 3D animation, he attended the CNBDI school of Angoulême in 1998, where René Laloux, famous French director of animated movies such as ‘Fantastic Planet’ and ‘Time Masters’, was his teacher. During his studies, Raphaël was also a part-time photographer for a theatre company in Bordeaux called ‘Les Pygmalions’, where he learned to work with a creative team on several plays, shows, and set designs.
Following his studies in animation, Raphaël joined the video game company ‘Kalisto’ as an environment artist.
He left Bordeaux in 2002 to take the opportunity to become an art director at Ubisoft Montréal for the game ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’.
This journey took him to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Canada, where he still lives with his family. Raphaël won a VES (Visual Effects Society) Award in February 2006 for his work on cut-scenes from the game Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
With a desire to challenge himself more in the film industry, Raphaël took a break from the games industry, and joined the RodeoFX collective in Montreal to work as a matte painter and senior concept artist on feature films such as Terminator: Salvation, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Death Race, Immortals, Repo Men, and Jupiter Ascending.
In 2009 Raphaël returned to Ubisoft Montreal to take on the role of Franchise Art Director of Assassin’s Creed. He has since become a well-known illustrator, and teaches environment design and illustration at the Centre NAD (National Animation and Design Centre) in Montreal.
Raphaël continues to give conferences and lectures on his professional and personal work all over the world
JC is a software engineer specializing in animation workflows and technology for human characters and athletes. He has worked at BioWare on the Mass Effect franchise and at EA Sports on the FIFA Street and NBA Live projects. He is currently working on the latest version of NBA Live from Vancouver, Canada.
Dean Takahashi is lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat. He has been a tech journalist for more than 28 years, and he has covered games for 21 years. He has been at VentureBeat since 2008. Prior to that, he wrote for the San Jose Mercury News, the Red Herring, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Dallas Times-Herald. He is the author of two books, “Opening the Xbox” and “The Xbox 360 Uncloaked.” He organizes the annual GamesBeat and GamesBeat Summit conferences. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.