The Supervising Animator role at ESPN is responsible for collaborating with and leading teams to create high-caliber animations across ESPN properties. 

This role works directly with Animation staff and managers to deliver consistently robust animations fitting the style and pacing required by our production partners. 

Requires excellent collaboration and communication skills along with the ability to lead diverse teams and assignments. Must be able to manage, direct and develop other creatives, and provide regular, actionable feedback. 

Must be capable of performing high-level animation and troubleshooting duties and be proactive when working with partners and outside vendors. 

Must be able to work and coach others in a variety of animation styles and be highly skilled in both 2d/3d animation. This role regularly mentors and directly supervises less experienced animators and assists with the development and maintenance of animation production workflows. 

Must be proactive, have excellent communication skills and not be shy about offering up smart solutions. 

This is a hands-on position requiring expert knowledge of Cinema 4D, After Effects, Media Encoder, Photoshop, and Illustrator

This position contributes regularly to the creation of innovative animation packages, regularly mentors and supervises staff animators, and contributes to the development, evolution, and maintenance of animation team workflows.

General Overview Responsibilities:,

  • Expert knowledge of After Effects, Media Encoder, Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Expert After Effects Scripting and Toolkit knowledge
  • Expert Cinema4D knowledge
  • Directly supervise, mentor, coach and develop animation staff members
  • Direct oversight of 2 – 4 direct reports (Provide daily managerial responsibilities, such as learning oversight, commitments, evaluations, reviews, feedback, scheduling, and other daily tasks)
  • Advanced knowledge of industry-standard CPU/GPU render engines
  • Working knowledge of other 3D/2D animation packages (Houdini, Unreal Engine, Substance, Z Brush, etc.)
  • Advanced software and technical troubleshooting skills
  • 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
  • Produce high-caliber animation from provided concepts as well as from scratch
  • Collaborates with internal and external teams (including post-houses) in the initial production stages to define production and animation expectations.
  • Maintain monthly Animation team creative reviews and production check-ins.
  • Pursue technology and workflow solutions for departmental efficiencies
  • Strong technical skills in animation, software solutions, and production pipelines
  • Work closely with the Animation Managers to lead the team in the creation of innovative 3D animation packages
  • Advanced scene optimization abilities with the ability to troubleshoot elements from post-houses and other artists
  • Collaborate with management to provide development opportunities to animation artists
  • Experience as a team leader with the ability to motivate and possessing personal initiative qualities
  • Assist in the building of and maintenance of new and innovative animation production workflows
  • 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, and 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
  • Online portfolio/demo reel link required

Demonstrates Expert 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
  • Oversee the distribution of Edit Templates
  • Create and provide custom scripts and optimized formats for more effective delivery
  • Displays the 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
  • ESPN Tools scripting functionality and troubleshooting knowledge
  • 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 Expert:

  • 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 poly’s, spines, and nurbs
  • Practical understanding of UV texture mapping
  • Create unique materials, texture maps or adjust pre-built textures
  • Strong lighting and key-framing skills
  • Shows skill to use layers and takes system for compositing passes
  • Capable of effectively animating 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 3 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 to 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
  • Research, develop, and recommend animation software, hardware, and workflows to provide the most ambitious, creative, and technically advanced animation solutions.
  • Display extensive and practical knowledge of a minimum of one or more additional software packages for next-level animation solutions (Houdini, Unreal, etc.).
  • Collaborate with external clients as the primary animation liaison for file delivery, software compatibility, and other animation solutions.
  • Research advanced animation techniques and develop avenues for implementation into the creative animation pipeline.
  • Demonstrate advanced troubleshooting abilities within multiple animation packages (2D & 3D) while being a creative problem solver

Soft Skills:

  • Communication, Independence, Leadership Main animation resource on a production
  • Expected to provide oversight and manage responsibilities of other artists

Basic Qualifications:

  • Expert 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 animator preferred
  • A high level of Cinema 4D knowledge preferred
  • Prior Animation supervision experience preferred
  • Interest in sports and some familiarity with ESPN show package identities

Required Education:

HS Diploma or Equivalent

Preferred Education:

Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent

Additional Information: