AVAILABLE POSITIONS Principal Artist – Words with Friends

Careers Category: Art & Animation

Careers location: Austin, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Chicago, IL; Eugene, OR; Toronto, Canada

Connected Worker Type: Connected

Requisition Id: R_112632

Position Overview

Zynga is seeking an experienced Principal Generalist Artist to join a dynamic team of one of Zynga’s most established games – Words with Friends. We are looking for driven individuals to contribute to the growth and development of our product in a highly collaborative environment. As a Principal Generalist Artist, you will have an expert understanding of animation, VFX and asset creation and be able to use a range of techniques to bring high quality assets to life in our games. You will balance delivering results with driving the art, animation and VFX guidelines and mentoring your fellow artists. You will motivate and guide others to excellence, acting as a role model for organizational, technical, and creative skills, whilst showing others ‘what good looks like’.

You will confidently and respectfully challenge the status quo in order to improve things. Assertive when needed, you voice concerns, generate ideas for improvements, and stay on the cutting edge of industry technology and techniques. Confident in your decision making, you nevertheless think mindfully before you speak and act.

Job Purpose

The Principal Generalist Artist is a highly skilled individual with excellent judgment and organizational skills. They are able to deliver the highest standard of work and effectively guide others to do the same. They are excellent at communicating both up and down, estimating and costing work, and mentoring staff.

They are proactive, organized and methodical. They provide critical support to the project with a deep understanding of process, pipeline and platform requirements. They communicate between disciplines, proactively solving problems and fostering good relationships across the wider game team and studio.

The Principal Generalist Artist will be a skilled, flexible team player that effectively time manages themselves to deliver the results required by the game team’s Art Lead and Art Director to specification, quality and on time.

Principal Generalist Artists work closely with the game team’s Art Lead and Art Director to set the quality bar and style for animations, VFX and asset creation. They document and maintain style guides and contribute to improving pipelines and production processes. They will be expected to be able to perform the production duties of their specialism at a Principal Level, setting and maintaining the art quality bar for a team.

 Main Responsibilities 

  • Produce expert quality animation for characters, environments, UI, VFX.
  • Work with the Art Lead and Art Director to visually develop the look and feel of the game’s animation and VFX.
  • Encouraging and generating creative ideas and solutions with the team.
  • Demonstrate excellent time management, to deliver animation, VFX and other game assets to required quality, specification and time.
  • Demonstrate highly proficient level of communication and emotional intelligence for cross discipline collaboration and problem solving.
  • Coach and mentor team members to develop professional skills.
  • Demonstrate expert understanding of how animation supports gameplay and narrative with the ability to communicate these links to the team.
  • Demonstrate expert level proficiency in 3D software (e.g. Maya, Unity).
  • Prioritizing optimization when integrating animations, VFX and assets in Unity.
  • Enforce optimal performance and efficiency of the game’s final visual assets.
  • Work closely with the Art and Engineering teams to construct and implement particle systems, animations, and shader VFX in Unity.
  • Work effectively to tackle any VFX and sorting-related bugs.
  • Create materials/shaders to achieve unique styles and hit amazing visual quality.
  • Create, maintain, communicate and implement animation and VFX art guidelines with other team members.
  • Work with Technical Artists to set defined and optimized workflows.
  • Our ideal candidate is a great communicator, teammate, and proactive problem solver. You draw from a range of skills to creatively determine solutions. You are a contributor of ideas, overseer of pipelines, and collaborator across subject area lines providing expertise and seeks out solutions before they become problems.

Desired Skills and Experience 

  • 8+ years of game development experience.
  • 8+ years of experience with Unity and/or other engines.
  • Expert level animation and VFX skills (2D/3D, character, environment, UI, VFX)
  • Core Adobe Creative Suite skills.
  • Experience creating animations in Maya, Spine and Unity.
  • An understanding of the high and low-res 3D modeling processes.
  • Experience writing and modifying Unity shaders and materials is a nice to have.
  • Expert level communication and problem-solving skills.
  • The ability to provide and receive feedback.
  • Significant software experience in: Maya, Unity, Photoshop, Perforce, Git
  • Technical experience modeling, skinning and rigging 2D/3D assets/characters.
  • Knowledge of game development on multiple projects, enabling pragmatic, strategic judgements and providing creative ideas and solutions to the team.
  • Proven experience delivering animations and VFX on ambitious timelines.
  • Proven experience of elevating team's morale and supporting other artists where needed.
  • Experience working on business level tasks, e.g. cross discipline pipeline development.
  • Previous experience in mentoring junior artists and other members of a team to promote team growth.
  • Excellent showreel.
  • A love of games!

What we offer you:

  • Competitive salary, bonus plan and ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan)
  • 401K Company Match Contribution (US)
  • RRSP/DPSP company match contribution (Canada)
  • Health coverage, dental, disability, critical illness, EAP, and life insurance (Canada)
  • Medical, dental, vision, EAP, life insurance, and disability benefits (US)
  • Virtual mental health and neurodiversity support programs
  • Global Fitness reimbursement program
  • Global Wellbeing Program
  • Financial wellness program with unlimited access to certified financial planners
  • Discretionary Time Off policy for many employees
  • Family planning support program
  • Generous paid parental, pregnancy-related disability, caregiver, and compassionate leaves
  • Subsidized Back-up child care (US)
  • Zynga happy hours and frequent employee events
  • Flexible working hours on many teams
  • Culture of diversity and inclusion including employee resource groups
  • Work with cool people and impact millions of daily players

We are an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to building a diverse and talented workforce. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, disability, or any other class or characteristic protected by applicable law. We welcome job-seekers, players, employees, and partners from all backgrounds to join us!

We will consider all qualified job-seekers with criminal histories in a manner consistent with applicable law.

We are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities in order to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us at AccommodationRequest@zynga.com to request an accommodation associated with your application for an open position.

The pay range for this position in  California at the start of employment is expected to be between $100,000 and $149,000 per year. 

However, base pay offered is based on market location, and may vary further depending on individualized factors for job candidates, such as job-related knowledge, skills, experience, and other objective business considerations.   Subject to those same considerations, the total compensation package for this position may also include other elements, including a bonus and/or equity awards, in addition to a full range of medical, financial, and/or other benefits.  Details of participation in these benefit plans will be provided if an employee receives an offer of employment. If hired, employee will be in an “at-will position” and the Company reserves the right to modify base salary (as well as any other discretionary payment or compensation or benefit program) at any time, including for reasons related to individual performance, Company or individual department/team performance, and market factors.


Zynga does not  engage in financial exchanges during the recruitment or onboarding process. We do not conduct job interviews over third-party messaging apps such as Telegram, WhatsApp or others. We will never ask you for your personal or financial information over unofficial chat channels. Our in-house recruitment team only contacts individuals via official company email addresses (i.e., via a zynga.com or naturalmotion.com email domain).

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam, you may wish to contact the authorities. In the United States, you may file a complaint with the FBI. More information is available here: https://www.ic3.gov.

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