The Convergence of Games & Movies – Talk by Creative director at Treehouse Ninjas, Mauro Frau

The Convergence of Games & Movies  is a huge 3-parts talk, presented by Mauro Frau, co-founder and creative director at Treehouse Ninjas, an independent studio creating high-end environment art and lighting for movies and games, currently busy on Cyberpunk 2077.

The presentation is filled with industry insights and comparisons between the VFX industry and the game industry, it goes through the many ways movie grammar is being adopted in games and how realtime is changing the way movies are made. It presents how workflows are more and more becoming similar, which allows for artists to jump from one industry to the other. It also features a behind the scenes look at The Heretic short movie by Unity, as an example of a movie with realistic style fully developed inside a game engine, which back in 2018 Treehouse Ninjas created the environments for.

The talk is mainly aimed at industry professionals, but students can find many valuable hints at how the industry they’re aiming to join soon is evolving.

PART 1 sets the background for the topics treated and presents a full breakdown of the world art and design in The Heretic. It contains many examples of how the movie was set up with an hybrid approach where the underlying tech was a realtime engine, which implies a video game-like content creation pipeline, but the product was a movie, which implies cinematic sequence composition and storytelling.

PART 2 goes through the history of games and movies, proposing an approach against today’s saturation of contents. It touches on the converging technology (blockchain GPU rendering, quantum computing, etc..) but principally describes how the grammar and storytelling structures are merging more and more, introducing the idea of procedural storytelling and emergent movie making.

PART 3 dives deeper into an analysis of project management methods in games and in VFX, then it presents today’s standardization of formats, tools and scene description approaches. And finally covers how game artists and VFX artists today are free from industry boundaries and can change from working in VFX to working in games and the other way round.

You can watch The Heretic full short here:

For more info about Unity’s The Heretic and Unity Demo Team visit

For more info about Treehouse Ninjas visit

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