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Technical Art Director

Microsoft Santa Monica, CA
  • Expired: over a month ago. Applications are no longer accepted.

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 Technical Art Director to define and develop key technology and content creation methods. As a Technical Art Director, you are expected to have a deep understanding of the latest industry techniques and the passion, drive and vision to help pioneer future visual techniques & technology. You will be passionate about both tech and art, be highly effective and positive in ambiguous situations, able to drive a team to high performance, manage time effectively, and react quickly to changing requirements. You will partner with discipline Leads and Directors to ensure we are making the best technical decisions to execute on unified artistic vision. Additionally, you will help drive rendering technology to enable the team to achieve incredible graphics and build an immersive experience.  


You are versatile, have strong development and production-sense, and the expertise to inspire and mentor others to do their best work. We're looking for a passionate, talented, and driven technical art expert, who enjoys collaborating with others to create game experiences. 


As an experienced Technical Art Director, you will direct technical art team, drive technical innovation, and partner with other key stakeholders across disciplines to deliver the following: 

  • Partner with developers to develop tools/scripts/plugins to streamline art and design processes, workflows, systems, and pipelines 
  • Constantly improve and advocate for content creation and production best practices  
  • Engage and recruit industry-leading technical art talent and manage team 
  • Provide mentorship, feedback, and training to others on the team 
  • Work through ambiguity while still delivering timely and high-quality results 
  • Assist with the management and integration of art and animation assets and ensure are optimal for performance and memory 
  • Troubleshoot and solve technical art production issues 
  • Work with leads to establish and educate technical best practices to ensure content is being built in the best and most efficient way to deliver unified vision 
  • Partner with Engineers to establish solutions for complex rendering needs such as Water/Foliage/Hair 
  • 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 




  • Bachelor's Degree or equivalent practical experience 
  • 8+ years of experience as a Technical Artist, designing, developing, and shipping major game contributions in published games or entertainment with market or critical acclaim 
  • Extensive demonstrated knowledge of Maya/Max/Houdini/ZBrush and the ability to extend the capabilities of these packages via plugin APIs 
  • Demonstrated working knowledge and ability to script in various languages such as Python/C++/C#/HLSL/GLSL/Lua 
  • Proven track record working with real-time engines 
  • Leadership and Management experience, including people management and directing technology development 



  • Demonstrated ability to prototype in engine, and capable of working quickly in the prototyping phase and then delivering final, quality code that can be leveraged by others 
  • In-depth knowledge of material/shader development and experience with Substance Designer/Painter and HLSL/GLSL 
  • Extensive knowledge across art, animation, and rigging 
  • Passion for building tools, toolkits, and documentation/guidance 



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.



Santa Monica, CA