Sony Santa Monica's New PS4 Game to Use "Industry Leading Animation," Both MoCap and Keyframe

By Giuseppe Nelva

August 22, 2014

After the layoffs back in February Sony Santa Monica finally seems to be getting back into a hiring trend, with six developer positions offered at the moment of this writing, and a new career opportunity ad seeking a Senior Staff Animator/Motion Capture Expert gives us a glimpse on what we can expect from the animation of the studio’s upcoming game.


Contribute to the artistic vision and development of a product with a specialized focus on supporting and creating industry leading animation. Key frame skills and understanding of basic animation techniques are necessary. It is also important to have a thorough knowledge of motion capture driven animation principles and pipelines. You can work with high-level direction, possessing strong leadership skills, production-sensibilities, and the talent to produce and implement the highest quality work.

A senior character artist must possess the ability to effectively collaborate with a wide-range of development team members outside of their direct discipline such as the Art Director, Designers, Technical Artists, Character Artists, Programmers and Producers to optimally achieve artistic goals and implementation as they relate to design and technological considerations.

  • Work with a group of animators to create compelling and consistent performances for all major characters and utilizes both hand and mo-cap animation techniques to create animation of primary and secondary characters.
  • Is a key contributor in creating high quality character animation at a quality bar suitable for next-generation console development in order to define and achieve a product’s visual style or encourage artistic evolution within the studio. This entails expanding methods to improve the production pipeline, tools, systems and visual integrity.
  • Work closely with the animation director, lead animator and animation team to develop animation practices and assets that fulfill the requirements of the project’s game design and visual design.
  • Fully capable of resolving a range of complex artistic development issues for both artists as well as other team members.
  • Proactively facilitates requests or information needs regarding any aspect of the animation creation process as requested.
  • Work in a team-oriented environment and use organizational and interpersonal skills on a daily basis and bring a creative and proactive attitude to the task of animating performances.
  • Actively advances skill set and abilities by keeping aware of industry trends and techniques, evaluating competitive products, learning new software packages and traditional art methods.


Interestingly, the candidate will have to use both motion capture and key frame animation (basically animating by hand) for both primary and secondary characters of an upcoming next generation game, which most probably is the unannounced PS4 title that has been frequently teased, but still hasn’t been unveiled.

The ad also mentions the tools that will be used on the job, in the form of the usual Maya, and Autodesk’s Motion Builder.

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A high level of proficiency of classic animation principles and its fundamentals (staging, timing, anticipation, follow through, exaggeration, squash and stretch) as well as the ability to create the full range of lifelike performances from the subtle to the dramatic and powerful.

This ad definitely pairs well with the fact that the new studio now occupied by Sony Santa Monica is just a few feet away from a state-of-the-art motion capture studio, which is also going to be used by Naughty Dog, even if the new game’ animation will apparently still have a very strong base in the classic fundamentals of animation.

One thing is for sure: the gears seems to be spinning quite fast at Sony Santa Monica, and it’s hard not to wonder what they’re working on, especially considering how long it has been since we first heard that they’re developing for PS4 back during the console’s launch ceremony.

Almost a year passed since then. Will we know what the new game from the house of God of War will be by the PS4’s first anniversary? Only time will tell, even if my money is on a new adventure for Kratos, or for his successor.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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