Lead Animator

Microsoft - Santa Monica, CA4.2

Full-timeEstimated: $94,000 - $130,000 a year
The Initiative is a new first-party game studio located in Santa Monica backed by Microsoft. Our studio is about craft, creating story, innovating, and looking ahead to the next big thing.

At the Initiative, we are looking for collaborative problem solvers who want to dive into something new and create groundbreaking experiences for our players. Join us for this once in a career opportunity to help build the studio, define our culture, and create an environment to attract world-class talent.

The Initiative has an immediate opening for a Lead Animator with a passion for games to join our team. We're looking for a passionate, talented, and driven animator, who enjoys collaborating with others to create immersive experiences, and have an extensive knowledge of animation fundamentals and technical expertise to help us define our animation pipeline and workflow. You are versatile, have strong development and production-sense, and the expertise to inspire and mentor others to do their best work.

As an experienced Lead Animator, you will work directly with the art and design team and other key stakeholders across disciplines to deliver the following:

  • Collaborate with the design and engineering teams to define animation pipeline and workflows
  • Work closely with the team to establish animation style and ensure unified look and consistent quality
  • Provide mentorship, animation feedback, and training to animation team
  • Work with experience teams to create previz, prototypes, and production animations that help define the look and feel of the game
  • Maintain and communicate a strong knowledge of innovative production technologies and the capabilities/limitations of these technologies as they relate to the project goal
  • Actively contribute to growth of new start up studio. Lead by example, including demonstrating a willingness to give and receive feedback, collaborate with others to share techniques, ideas, and contribute to a positive working environment

  • 6+ years of Gameplay animation experience through keyframe and motion capture editing
  • Experience leading, building and developing high functioning teams
  • High level expertise in Maya, 3D Max, MotionBuilder
  • Strong understanding of traditional animation principles and fundamentals, able to demonstrate an exceptional visual/technical understanding of animation mechanics
  • Experienced in gameplay animation with the ability to animate at an extremely high level of quality and utilizing various techniques/style
  • Demonstrated experience in designing, developing, and shipping major game systems in a published game or entertainment with market or critical acclaim
  • Experience animating both player and non-player characters

  • Cinematic animation experience
  • Tools development and scripting skills
  • Self-directed and takes initiative to drive progress
  • Strong communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
  • Ability to quickly prototype and iterate in collaboration with others
Microsoft is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, ancestry, color, family or medical care leave, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, protected veteran status, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable laws, regulations and ordinances. We also consider qualified applicants regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements. If you need assistance and/or a reasonable accommodation due to a disability during the application or the recruiting process, please send a request via the Accommodation request form.

Benefits/perks listed below may vary depending on the nature of your employment with Microsoft and the country where you work.