Download Resume
Full name

Michael McDonald

Title

Sr. Artist at Weta Workshop / Magic Leap

Location

Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Biography

➡ As a game developer with over 10+ years of experience, I have had the pleasure to work with some very talented teams over the years, creating a wide range of AAA quality real-time experiences that millions of people are now enjoying every day.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to support small to medium sized art teams to bring their ideas from conceptual ideas through to a marketable product.
I am very familiar with all development stages of interactive entertainment - from pre-production right through to live service updates.

I have assisted teams by providing Agile Scrum leadership, constructive feedback/mentorship, and pipeline documentation, as well as bridging the gap between Engineering, Design, Analytics, UI/UX, and Marketing. (both internal and external)
This ensures we are producing the highest quality product within tight deadlines, while putting smiles on the faces of Producers, DDs, PMs, Creative Directors, and our beloved customers! 😄

These efforts have directly enabled studios to deliver groundbreaking flagship experiences on cutting-edge mobile and XR platforms, such as the very first iPad, and most recently, Magic Leap One.

★ Real-time and pre-rendered demos to receive billion-dollar buy-in from VC's.
★ Google I/O Conference - World's first public-facing Vulkan demo running on mobile. (bit.ly/2woIXOH)

The studios I’ve worked with have received overwhelming recognition and praise from journalists, and most importantly, our target audience - see Honors & Awards section below.

I have a natural ability to see the big picture, bridge communication, and most importantly, support people to deliver highly successful commercial experiences.

Currently I am creating exciting art assets while helping to empower and inspire the talented minds at Weta Workshop | Magic Leap.

Let's bring out the best in what each creative individual has to offer and blow expectations out of the water! 🚀



14 Shipped Games:

• Dr. Grordbort’s: Invaders (Magic Leap One) – Sr. Artist
• Need For Speed™ No Limits VR (Google Daydream) – Lead Environment Artist
• Need For Speed™ No Limits (iOS/Android) – Lead Environment Artist
• Real Racing 3 (iOS/Android) – Mid-Level Artist
• Need For Speed™ Most Wanted (iOS/Android) – Mid-Level Artist
• Mass Effect™ Infiltrator (iOS/Android) – Mid-Level Artist
• The Sims™ FreePlay (iOS/Android) – Mid-Level Artist
• Dead Space™ (iOS/Android) – Mid-Level Artist
• Need For Speed™ Hot Pursuit (iOS/Android) – Mid-Level Artist
• Need For Speed™ Nitro (DS) – Outsourced Artist
• The Sims 3™ World Adventures (iOS) – Outsourced Artist
• Path of Exile (PC) – Environment Artist
• Petanque Pro (Wii) – Technical Lead Artist
• World Sports Party (Wii) – 3D Artist

Specialties

• XR ready environments, characters, vehicles and props, • Team communication between art, code and design, • Photo-realistic art asset production, • UI/UX design and asset production, • Real-time and pre-calculated lighting, • Visual effects, • Concept art, • Level greyboxing, • Look development, • Paintovers and constructive feedback, • Marketing assets and key art, • Art asset efficiency/re-use, • Optimisation and profiling, • Low poly modeling, • Sculpting, • Materials and shaders, • Team management, • Task scheduling, • Agile scrum, • Pipeline maintenance, • Documentation, • Procedule and automated asset generation, • Adopting/integrating new technology, • Empowering and inspiring teams

Experience

Sr. Artist

Weta Gameshop / Magic Leap

Wellington, New Zealand · December 2016 – Present

• Assisting the Art director with the technical art requirements of the project.
• Collaborating with our infrastructure and tools teams to find solutions towards achieving both the creative vision and technical requirements of the project.
• Providing the art team with mentorship and training to support best practices and to ensure all art assets were meeting the performance criteria set.
• Collaborating with external engineers and SDK teams to improve rendering and performance issues on device, and learning how to create app icons in Kali.
• Creating environments, characters, lighting, shaders, and visual effects.
• Assisting the leads and producers with identifying art optimisation tasks and helping bridge our art and code teams to reach our performance benchmarks.

Lead Environment Artist / Sr. Specialist Artist

Electronic Arts

Melbourne, Australia · June 2013 – December 2016

• Conceptualising, greyboxing, modeling, texturing, lighting, optimising, polishing and delivering real-time art assets and level environments for high budget game titles on iOS and Android.
• Working closely with the Sr. Art Lead to ensure all art across the project is consistently high quality and meets our high level objectives.
• Supervising environment artists by providing mentorship, constructive feedback, art guidelines, reference materials and documentation, as well as hosting scrum meetings, assisting with sprint planning, and task scheduling.
• Collaborating with internal and external teams including: Game Development, Engine Core, Marketing, Legal, Creative Services and Publishing to help plan and produce exciting new game content and improve upon art tools/pipelines.
• Providing look development images, proof of concepts, visual target images, pre-vis videos, and case studies to assist with the projects visual direction.

Mid-Level Artist

Electronic Arts

Melbourne, Australia · April 2010 – June 2013

• Modeled and textured real-time environments, characters, vehicles and props for a wide variety of game titles on iOS and Android platforms.
• Collaborated with designers and Art Leads to ensure environments were effectively facilitating gameplay, free of bugs, and of high visual quality.

3D Artist (Contract)

Tin Man Games

Melbourne, Australia · October 2009 – March 2010

• Provided outsourced art assets for IronMonkey Studios and Firebrand Games.
• Created environment models and textures for games on iOS and Nintendo DS.

Environment Artist (Contract)

Grinding Gear Games

Auckland, New Zealand · August 2009 – September 2009

• Created tileable environment assets to support procedurally generated levels.

3D Artist (Technical Lead)

Mere Mortals

Auckland, New Zealand · July 2008 – July 2009

• Created cinematics and real-time art assets for game titles on Nintendo Wii.
• Established lighting methods and art optimisation techniques for the team.

Art Lead / Co-Founder

Disyi Arts

New Plymouth, New Zealand · February 2008 – July 2008

• Helped manage the business direction of a small start-up games studio.
• Directed a small art development team to create our own original IP.

Art Tutor

Bubble Dome Ltd

Auckland, New Zealand · April 2007 – April 2008

• Taught 3D art skills to students and other teachers.
• Prepared and managed lessons and lectures.

Education

Graduate Diploma of Game Development (Art Stream)

Media Design School

Auckland, New Zealand · 2006 – 2007

• Recipient of the Sidhe Interactive Scholarship for 2006.

Diploma of Multimedia

Natcoll Design Technology

Wellington, New Zealand · 2005 –

Skills

Photoshop (15+ years), Maya (12+ years), 3ds Max, ZBrush, Modo, Substance Suite, Quixel Suite, After Effects, Premiere, Unreal Engine, Unity, Mel, Lua, and Xml HTML and C# scripting, Shader creation tools, various scripting languages, various rendering engines, in-house proprietary tools

Awards
2019 🏆 The Slice of Heaven – Grand Prize – Winner , NZ Games Festival – The Pavs
Dr. Grordborts: Invaders
2019 🥈 Immersive Reality Technical Achievement – Nominee , D.I.C.E
Dr. Grordborts: Invaders
2019 🥈 Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project – Nominee , VES Awards
Dr. Grordborts: Invaders
2014 🥈 Game, Original Role Playing – Nominee , NAVGTR
Path of Exile
2013 🥇 Gold Rating , PocketGamer
Real Racing 3
2012 🏆 Best Aussie / NZ-Made Game – Winner , IGN AU Black Beta Select Awards
Mass Effect™ Infiltrator
2012 🏆 Best Mobile Graphics – Winner , IGN
Need For Speed™ Most Wanted (iOS/Android)
2012 🥇 APP STORE BEST OF , Apple Inc.
Need For Speed™ Most Wanted (iOS/Android)
2012 🥈 Mobile & Handheld – Nominee , BAFTA
Dead Space™ (iOS)
2011 🏆 iPad Game of the Year Award – Winner (U.S. and Canada) , Apple Inc.
Dead Space™ (iOS)
2008 🏆 Best Animation, 48Hour Film Festival , 48Hours
2006 🎓 Sidhe Interactive Annual Scholarship – Recipient , Sidhe Interactive (PikPok)
2004 🥈 Morning Madhouse Make a Madvertisement – Runner Up , The Edge Radio Station
2nd Place for a nationwide TVC competition broadcasted in NZ.