Riot Games was established in 2006 by entrepreneurial gamers who believe that player-focused game development can result in great games. We released League of Legends in 2009 which has since become the most played PC game in the world and a key driver of the explosive growth of Esports. With the release of Valorant, LoL: Wild Rift, Team-fight Tactics & Legends of Runeterra, Riot has now transformed into a multi-game studio, expanding our footprint in Asia and internationally in order to develop new games that can hyper-serve players globally.
As a Principal Animator on a Research & Development project, you will be responsible for all aspects of game animation helping the team to develop early game prototypes that define the promise of our game thesis, building organizational confidence in our project to facilitate efficient progress through the R&D development cycle through to global launch. You will set and define craft standards in a hands-on manner while coaching the animation team to achieve quality execution that fits the project’s creative vision and desired player experience. Working closely with Creative & Art leadership, your critical eye for quality and appeal will help strengthen our cinematic storytelling while ensuring high quality, satisfying combat animations that fit the gameplay goals of our game designers. Your past experience as a cinematic animator and combat animator will enable you to translate the gameplay and thematics of League of Legends Champions into a new exciting game experience by tapping into your expert-level grasp of classic animation principles and body mechanics.
We are seeking a highly experienced animation specialist to drive our vision for a cinematic gameplay experience with rich visual storytelling sequences that support the gameplay & narrative goals of our project. You will help direct the core cinematic experience, communicating and aligning that vision with leadership while leading execution across the team and across disciplines. A great reel will showcase a diverse selection of cinematic animations with strong demonstration of cinematography and creative storytelling as well as robust experience with combat animation for action games that demonstrates expert-level understanding of animation fundamentals and the basic principles of animation. Your expert level craft expertise will bring to life our beloved Champions and world setting in fresh ways that will thrill and delight players new and old. As a senior member of the team, you will help mentor your fellow team members to continue to raise the quality bar at the studio, as well as surfacing development challenges and project needs in order to help us consider future art staffing as well as outsource and contractor solutions.
Collaborate closely with the Creative Director, Art Lead and other animators to define the animation style of our game in a way that supports the creative direction and gameplay pillars of the project based on timeline and goals set by product leadership.
Set a clear animation vision as well as quality targets for combat sequences and narrative experiences in the game, leading with hands-on craft and providing feedback and notes as needed.
Explore and define animated action sequences with cinematic camera work.
Create animation assets for highly iterative gameplay prototypes, continuously delivering animation assets that fulfill the evolving requirements of the project.
Develop and refine Style and Process Guides to ensure smooth in-game execution and efficient outsourcing during content development phases.
Generate prototype VFX that communicates gameplay mechanics while also working with VFX artists to define final, polished sequences.
Understand League of Legends characters and recognize opportunities to enhance champion expression.
Meet project deadlines in a timely manner without compromising artistic integrity, setting clear performance standards for teammates as well as performance and quality targets for outsourcers and contractors.
Mentor and train more junior artists on the team, consistently providing and receiving clear feedback and directing next steps that allow for clear creative goals and outcomes that are well understood by the animation and greater art team.
Constantly champion animation as a way to enhance the player’s experience, always seeking new, innovative ways to push for outside-the-box possibilities.
Help us consider outsourcing and contractor solutions, as well as explore new technologies and production techniques that can help us maintain an edge of efficiency in line with evolving industry standards.
8+ years of professional experience working in animation
8+ years of professional experience working in Maya
Expert understanding of Unreal and it’s animation pipelines and workflows
Multiple shipped mobile and/or AAA game titles.
Strong examples of melee combat animations in a shipped AAA game or animation.
Strong sense of game design and deep experience working with combat designers
Expert level understanding of both stylized, key-framed animation as well as motion capture and new, cutting edge ways of generating high-quality animations.
Expert level understanding of character rigging and different rigging systems.
Professional level understanding of facial rigging systems, blend shapes and how to combine them to create resonant facial expression animations that are also asset and workflow efficient.
Professional experience producing real-time cinematics with keen understanding of cinematography/camera work.
Strong pre-vis and storytelling animation skills , including simple storyboarding skills.
Expert understanding of how to set up pre-viz animation sequences while working with 3D artists, animators and VFX artists on efficient pipeline execution.
When submitting your application, please provide a portfolio and/or demo reel of high-quality animations and cinematic sequences. As a part of the application process, you may also be asked to complete an art test.