Wizards of the Coast is hiring a

Lead Technical Animator (Skeleton Key)

Austin, United States

At Wizards of the Coast, we connect people around the world through play and imagination. From our genre defining games like Magic: The Gathering® and Dungeons & Dragons® to our growing multiverse, we continue to innovate and build new ways to foster friendship and connection. That’s where you come in!

Skeleton Key is a new game development studio and division of Wizards of the Coast. We are a group of industry veterans who are guided by the belief that empowering our teams and providing the proper time, tools, and support we can foster a creative culture where everyone can do their best work.

Our new studio will be located in Austin, TX, and we are looking for a passionate and dedicated Lead Technical Animator to join us and build and manage a diverse team of technical animators.

Reporting to the Animation Director you will play a meaningful role as we concept and kick off pre-production. You'll help to create, assess, and implement the animation vision for the project and support the cinematic and gameplay experiences in it. You will be responsible for developing and maintaining animation systems, rigging, pipelines and processes used by the animation team

What You’ll Do:

  • Collaborate with game leadership to develop the overall vision & determine technical animation feasibility.
  • Build up and maintain detailed documentation for all owned features, leaving no pathways unexplored.
  • Evaluate the game's vision, design and technical needs and identify animation risks and mitigation plans.
  • Work closely with engineering to assess existing animation and rigging tools and occasionally design custom ones to improve pipelines for both gameplay and cinematics.
  • Support animators, game designers, and riggers with their technical needs + informatively and constructively explain the root causes of risks, blockers, etc.
  • Train team members on tools and techniques + raise awareness of new processes.
  • Resolve sophisticated issues & make technical validations.
  • Anticipate technological advancements and stay up to date on market trends to define our standard processes and share them with our studios and the industry.
  • Responsible for performance metrics with regards to animation.
  • Regularly play the game, providing constructive feedback and suggestions to other members of the team.
  • Hire, lead, and mentor a group of Technical Animators artists to further their skills and cohesion as a team.
  • Build automated animation setups and rigs.

What You’ll Bring:

  • 5+ years of production experience in video games or film as a Senior, Lead, or Principal Technical Animator.
  • Experience managing, mentoring, and managing a team or individuals.
  • Experience rigging/skinning sophisticated characters, creatures and vehicles in Maya.
  • Scripting / tool creation experience with Python / Mel.
  • Strong understanding of character rigging / animation pipelines.
  • Unreal Engine Experience in procedural animation systems (Animation Blueprints, Control Rig setups).
  • Dedicated and internally driven, able to take initiative and work independently or collaborate effectively with artists, engineers, and designers.
  • A passion for deep, compelling, narrative-driven horror games.

We'd Love To See:

  • C++ Maya Plugin development.
  • Unreal Engine Cloth / Ragdoll setup experience.
  • Qt or Pyside Maya UI tool scripting.

We are an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

The above is intended to describe the general content of and the requirements for satisfactory performance in this position. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of the duties, responsibilities, or requirements of the position.

We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. If you are selected to move forward in our application process and need to request an accommodation, please let your recruiter or coordinator know.

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