Harebrained Schemes is looking for an experienced, versatile Lead Animator who has a deep love of bringing characters and the worlds they inhabit to life. You’ll partner with the Game Director to develop exciting new IPs and define the animation style for a new and exciting game title and then lead a team of animators to realise that vision.
The ideal candidate has a great demo-reel which demonstrates a superb sense of timing, personality, action, and is able to demonstrate a firm grasp of character art production pipelines. If you are a thoughtful collaborator, with a deep understanding of—and appreciation for— animation across a variety of game genres and audiences, we’d love to talk with you.
This is an on-site, full-time individual contributor and management role.
(Please note that we are currently working from home due to Covid-19. We will return to the office in stages when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, all interviews will be done virtually.)
What You’ll Do
As the Lead Animator
Explore, establish and maintain the animation style that will bring our game world alive in order to build an immersive, exciting gaming experience.
Work with the art lead, design team, other animators and the production team to define key milestones.
Ensure all aspects of the animation content, state machines, blend trees, game logic and player input work harmoniously together to achieve compelling believable performances on screen.
Create written briefs and sample animations that set the bar for outsourcing partners and then provide both visual and written feedback as the outsourced assets are iterated upon.
Find efficiencies for in-game animation in service of gameplay goals and how the game plays as a whole
Mentor and lead your team by example both individually and as a group in order to help them grow and gel effectively.
Ensure quality and consistency across all the animation assets through constructive feedback, training and development of the team
Conduct 1-on-1s with your direct reports throughout the year as part of the performance review process.
As an Individual Contributor
Animate new characters from scratch, while also supporting and expanding on existing character movement sets.
Retarget motion and adjust existing animation sets across a variety of character rigs.
Review and revise animations on an ongoing basis in response to technical and game-play requirements.
Give and receive constructive feedback in a very collaborative and iterative environment.
Collaborate with the character art team, systems designers, and engineers to ensure consistency between vision, creation and implementation of animation assets.
Collaborate with technical teams to develop run-time character animation procedures & pipelines.
Troubleshoot and solve art production issues related to rigging and animation in partnership with other members of the character team,
Move animation data into the game through our production pipeline.
In partnership with the Character Technical Artist develop and evolve sophisticated character rigs that are capable of supporting the dynamic performances we are targeting.
Work with existing character models and rigs in order to modify animation created by other team members.
What You’ll Bring
You’ve worked on a variety of projects - big or small, indie or 1st party, PC or console or mobile, licensed or new IP, etc. - to understand the breadth of issues you have to anticipate and know that every project is different
Excellent leadership, communication, time-management and organizational skills.
Ability to showcase a task driven, self-motivated, proactive approach to the work and work well under deadline pressure.
Comfort with iterative development and differences between prototyping and production work.
An excellent aptitude for problem solving and the ability to follow an efficient workflow and pipeline process.
A strong sense of timing, personality, action, acting and staging. You can bring characters to life through movement that's easily readable from a distance and make highly responsive characters while telling a convincing and evocative story, without hindering gameplay.
Exceptional visual/technical understanding of animation mechanics with an emphasis on weight, good timing and fluid, overlapping motion.
Understanding of character pipeline considerations such as animation retargeting, standard locomotion sets (walk/run/pivot etc) and working with animation blends.
A deep understanding of Maya and Unity
Experience of when to keyframe, when to motion capture, and how to blend both sources of motion along with ragdoll and other procedural techniques into character performances.
Solid understanding of next-gen animation development processes, limitations and dependencies including motion-capture, key-framed, dynamic and physics-based movement.
Nice to Haves
Solid drawing skills
Experience 3D modelling
Shipped titles using Unity.
Professional character rigging experience.
Experience creating animations to fit stylized or minimalist art styles.
Experience in any other area of art production (3D modeling, VFX, concept, etc.).
Art-related degree (BA or BFA) and/or comparable professional experience.
All candidates must deliver a full resume with a showreel featuring character animation samples to be considered for this position.
Demonstrate ability to create character performances in a range of styles.
Show a high level of expertise with key frame performances that include body, facial, human and creature animation examples. Motion capture examples are a plus.
On a per shot basis, please include information regarding software used and your contribution to the piece.
What to Expect at HBS
All HBS employees
Contribute respectfully with empathy, emotional intelligence and self-awareness
Can work collaboratively in a team as well as on your own
Are able to be self-directed in their work and learning
Bring a growth mindset to the work they do
Working at HBS Means:
Work-life balance: a work family that doesn’t replace your family-family
Flexible workday hours and work-from-home opportunities
Time off when you need it: a wellness-first and family-first mindset
High transparency and easy access to studio leadership
Generous medical, dental, vision, EAP, FSA, and both short & long-term disability
Paid vacation time
Paid sick time
Paid holidays including the week between Christmas and New Years Day
Annual profit-sharing from Paradox Interactive
Easy access off I-405 and free parking
Skilled, passionate, and fun co-workers
You should apply to work at HBS if you want to:
Make amazing game experiences with co-workers who are just as passionate about their craft as you are
Be part of a project small enough (20-35 members) for everyone to have a significant impact
Join a warm, inclusive and diverse team, with a respectful and collaborative culture
Evolve and learn with us in a growth-mindset environment
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