- Lead Animator

Job Details

Lead Animator


Lead Animator

• Intermediate Level


The Lead Animator role at ESPN is responsible for translating assignment details and creative direction into visually compelling solutions through the creation of template and custom animations for short turn-around and long-range projects.

Category Animation  Art Department  Compositor  Modeler  Special Effects 
Location Connecticut
Time Period Full Time
Posted Date Jul 26, 2023
Start Date N/A
End Date N/A

Job Description

The Lead Animator role at ESPN is responsible for translating assignment details and creative direction into visually compelling solutions through the creation of template and custom animations for short turn-around and long-range projects. Individuals need to work well within a team, but also have the skills to be successful when working independently. Must be proactive, have excellent communication skills and not be shy about offering up smart solutions. This is a hands-on position requiring advanced knowledge of After Effects, Media Encoder, Photoshop, Illustrator and Cinema 4D – showcasing the ability to develop animations from concept to completion. Successful individuals in this role possess strong conceptualization and technical skills, are able to change direction easily, actively develop their software skills and proactively communicate on all phases of an assignment to ensure the delivery of quality creative content.

General Overview:
  • Advanced knowledge of After Effects, Media Encoder, Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Advanced After Effects Scripting and Toolkit knowledge 
  • Advanced Cinema4D knowledge
  • Actively mentor, coach and develop animation staff
  • Familiarity with industry standard CPU/GPU render engines
  • Render Farm Node management knowledge
  • Translate assignment details and creative direction into visually compelling solutions 
  • Displays next-level creativity within productions, actively pursues creative solutions and shares with teams
  • Strong technical skills within animation, software solutions, and production pipelines
  • Ability to quickly and independently transfer between productions when required
  • Maintains high-level output and efficiency
  • Engineer animation projects for efficient versioning and rendering
  • Excellent attention to detail, accuracy and adherence to quality control and delivery specs
  • Highly motivated, work well under pressure, and able to prioritize assignments
  • Confidence working independently and within a team
  • Strong organization, communication, collaboration skills
  • Receptive to creative direction/critical feedback
  • Proactively develop personal software and technical skills
  • Reliably adhere to time entry and daily reporting requirements
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including on-site as needed
  • Online portfolio/demo reel link required
Specifics: Demonstrates Advanced After Effects Knowledge:
  • All skills necessary to independently build new animation templates and toolkits for production, Edit, or less experienced artists from scratch
  • Ability to customize scripts and code (Python, JavaScript) for more efficient Template and Toolkit delivery
  • Displays ability to pipeline elements into the production workflow
  • Aptitude for reviewing and troubleshooting internal and external AE scenes, providing guidance and technical solutions that fit within our pipeline
  • Advanced organization, naming, labeling, and optimization techniques
  • Ability to create efficient AE templates for Junior Animators, Edit, or external teams within pre-defined parameters
  • Intermediate to advanced knowledge of AE and third party plugin suites (Red Giant, Sapphire, RE:Vision, etc.)
  • Displays ability to effectively utilize and combine plugins for next-level visual effects
  • Intermediate to advanced keyframing abilities including easing, spline adjustments
  • Understanding and aptitude to execute key-to-key, cut-to-key, and various other transition elements
  • Utilizes ESPN Tools effectively
  • Practical knowledge of 2D tracking techniques
  • Import render layers for compositing
  • Strong understanding of different image formats utilized for advanced compositing (EXR, PNG, etc.)
  • Ability to utilize 3D cameras within a composition and work within AE 2.5D space
  • Advanced keying techniques using Primatte or other plugins
  • General knowledge of expressions and ability to utilize within a scene
  • Capable of creating batch render scripts and utilize on productions
  • Practical understanding of Media Encoder for AE rendering and conversion
3D Animation: Cinema 4D Advanced:
  • Knowledge of the most recent C4D version within our production pipeline
  • Strong organizational techniques including naming conventions, structure, etc.
  • Ability to import splines and effectively model 3D logos using different techniques
  • Modeling of hard surface and organic objects
  • Ability to model in polys, splines, and nurbs
  • Practical understanding of UV texture mapping
  • Create unique materials, texture maps or adjust pre-built textures
  • Intermediate lighting skills for a single object or within an environment
  • Displays strong keyframing skills
  • Shows skill to use layers and takes system for compositing passes
  • Capable of effectively animate objects and fluid camera motion
  • Understanding of render setting and final sequence output
  • Ability to troubleshoot 3D scenes and develop effective solutions
  • Strong knowledge of at least one advanced renderer such as Arnold, Octane, or Redshift
  • Showcases technical skills to optimize scenes and renders for efficient speeds
  • Knowledge of a render farm, including departmental expectations and requirements for submissions and renders
  • Aptitude for troubleshooting renders, properly adjust settings, and utilize farm effectively
  • Working knowledge of different visual effects tools such as X-Particles, Turbulence FD, and others
  • Advanced abilities developing visual effects utilizing C4D, Mograph, X-Particles, Turbulence FD, and other solutions
  • Extensive knowledge of at least 2 render engines, including one CPU and one GPU, with the ability to utilize either or both within a production workflow
  • Ability to track 4K footage within C4D and composite 3D objects within a photo-real environment
  • Capable of reviewing 3D scenes from internal sources and vendors, while effectively troubleshooting and sharing recommendations and guidance
  • Display the skill to utilize Mixamo within character animation development
  • Advanced abilities in 2 render engines, showing versatility in look development and output
Other 3D & VFX:
  • Displays working knowledge of other departmental software applications, such as Substance, Z-Brush, or others and effectively utilizes within the animation production pipeline.
  • Advanced troubleshooting abilities within primary software packages and the ability quickly troubleshoot other artists scenes, providing effective solutions
  • Advanced knowledge of the render farm with the skills to optimize submissions, adjust priorities, provide guidance, problem solve
Basic Qualifications:
  • Advanced knowledge of After Effects, Media Encoder, Photoshop, Illustrator, Cinema 4D
  • Online portfolio/demo reel
  • Ability to work nights, weekends & holidays as assignments require
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience within the animation or graphics production industry as a hands-on artist preferred
  • Interest in sports and familiarity with ESPN show package identities
Required Education:
HS Diploma or Equivalent

Preferred Education:
Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent

Additional Information:

Position is based in Bristol, CT/Remote Capable

The hiring range for this remote position is $67,944 to $106,766 per year, which factors in various geographic regions. 

Job Type Full Time 
Weekly Limit N/A
Shift Day
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