BIO

Jason Kaehler was fortunate enough to grow up in a family-run game store  His afternoons and weekends were spent playing Dungeons & Dragons, Car Wars, Gamma World and Axis & Allies. He began his professional career with a traditional animation and film degree from the California Institute of the Arts ( CalArts ). This solid foundation has proven invaluable throughout his journey.  Possessed with a creative mind and also deeply invested in technology and process, Jason is the kind of executive who is constantly pushing for quality, immersion and emotional impact.

During his 20 years as an Art Director, Jason has been responsible for the vision on a variety of commercial projects. Titles have ranged in scope from large ( Stranglehold was ~70 artists at one point), medium (Darkspore was done with <10 artists) to smaller more "indie" style efforts.  Jason has spent his life building a diverse visual vocabulary to suit any project. Strong communication skills and his depth-of-experience make him an effective leader of creative talent. 

In 1997, Jason co-founded Osiris Studios. Running development from the studio management level gave him a practical perspective on the business-aspect of making games. Working closely with publishers, growing a team (from 3 to 35) and shipping console games on-time and on-budget ( Jet Moto 3 and HBO Boxing) were important career milestones.

Jason’s professional contributions have been considerable both as a manager and as an individual contributor.  His high energy personality and passion for innovation make him a force-multiplier to any creative team. Jason's management style is ‘hands-on' and he prefers to spend most of his time circulating around the studio working directly with artists, designers and engineers.  When in his office, he's probably building Style Guides, developing outsourcing strategies, creating concept art or visual prototypes (aka. "look development").  Before focusing on mobile he spent a few years looking closely into the problem of 'pre-production' for large AAA story-based games.  

From 2009-2013, Jason was offering his services as a consulting Studio Art Director. His expertise is in working with companies who would like to improve the overall quality (visual or otherwise) of their products. His process involves interviewing execs and staff, evaluating the development process and producing a kind of 'audit' for the leadership team. This written report offers guidance in key areas.  Learn more HERE .

Jason is writing a book about his industry experience (working title: 'Art Directing for Video games'). The material is a comprehensive guide to management of the creative process presented as organized lessons learned in the trenches.  

As co-founder of Asylum Labs in 2012, his current efforts are focused on cross-platform games for the global social and iGaming casino markets.  Asylum Labs is a team of video game and online gambling folks dedicated to innovation in the online casino industries.  For more, see www.asylumlabsinc.com

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j.kaehler@asylumlabsinc.com

SUMMARY:

  • 24+ years of development in the videogame and casino industries

  • Constant dedication to shipping great product on-time and on-budget

  • AGILE / Scrum expert – Certified Scrum Master and Certified Product Owner

  • Seeking management role in a quality-minded development environment

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EXPERIENCE: 

Asylum Labs www.asylumlabsinc.com                                                                     June 2012  – present 

CEO

  • Build mobile game studio

  • Evaluate and approve all projects

  • Staffing & training

  • P&L, BD, IP development

  • Operations & Analytics

  • Product Owner & Creative vision for products

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Studio Art Director Tagged.com                                                                                Sept 2011 – June 2012

  • grow casual games studio inside social network Tagged.com

  • responsible for minimizing art risks by proactively identifying issues & providing solutions

  • oversee development of multiple titles

  • define and implement company-wide milestone and production process

  • work with stakeholders for evaluation and selection of new titles

  • lead content outsource efforts

  • manage career development for art staff including quarterly reviews, training and best practices

  • UI / UX development

  • lead visual focus testing efforts

  • help evaluate external developers for M&A opportunities

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Archangel Consulting                                                                                              Jan 2010 – July 2011

Consultant  

  • contribute to specification of then up-coming PS4 console

  • evaluation services for digital content-creation studios like Sony, Ignition and Riot

  • perform audit on existing pipelines and recommend process improvements

  • competitive analysis of a product's visual quality

  • work with executive staff to align internal and external efforts w/ studio vision

  • determine art staffing, management and human resource action-plan

  • make recommendations on Organizational Development

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Maxis / EA                                                                                                             Jan 2009 –  Jan 2010

Senior Art Director - Darkspore (PC)

  • First artist on project, develop "look and feel" of the game

  • Develop, evaluate, train & hire art staff of 9

  • Define all technical art requirements for new pipeline

  • Manage schedules & scope for art team

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Midway Home Entertainment                                                                                 Sept 2003 - Dec 2008

Art Director     Unannounced Project- GunRunner  (Xbox360, PS3, PC)

  • Create pre-production process adapted as company-wide solution; assemble prepro team

  • Determine art budget allocation across internal and outsource solutions

  • Primary contact between Team and Cinema groups; Final approval for all cinema

  • Team of 4 Directors, determine theme, scope and direction of project

Art Director - John Woo’s Stranglehold  (Xbox360, PS3, PC)

  • Winner IGN PC E3 2006 “Best Action Game” Award

  • Manage and schedule team of ~30 artists (7 direct reports). Grew team from 8.

  • Establish overall look and art direction for product

  • Member of Lead Team (4 persons) to define core features for product

  • Team of 12 determine primary engine technology for entire company (UE3)

  • Create and maintain art schedule for ~2.5 year project

  • Manage in-game dynamic advertising (250k savings)

  • Manage relationship with 2 outsourcing partners (1 domestic and 1 China)

  • Create milestone deliverable, budgets and contract overview for all outsourcing

  • Software design for pipeline (innovation and improvements)

  • Actively promote product at press events, e3, etc. (spoke to 2000+ audience)

Animation Director - Psi-Ops (Xbox, PS2, PC)

  • Manage and schedule team of 7 animators

  • Manage 1 animation engineer: determine tasks and priorities

  • Direct 20+ motion capture sessions in-house (~2200 moves)

  • Play-test and identify all animation and world-interaction bugs

  • Motion Capture cleanup and polish (Motion Builder)

  • Character rigging and creature keyframe animation in Maya

  • Add motions to engine via proprietary scripting language (animFSM)

  • Design enemy hit-reaction system

  • Co-lead design team for all Boss Battles (design, art & engineering)

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3DO Company                                                                                                        Sept 2001 - May 2003

Art Director - 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, cancelled due to Chapter 11)

  • Hire and manage team of 10 internal artists and 6 external contractors

  • Direct Sessions and manage integration of all in-game motion-capture (~1500 moves)

  • Work with high-profile talent like Simon Beasley and Stan Winston

  • Design all motion-trees for main character and NPCs

  • Co-design both melee and range combat systems (team of 4)

  • Develop technical specifications for all characters (unique to each sku)

  • Model, rig and animate multiple characters

  • Recommend and approve ~150K / year software purchases

  • Software tool design: dynamic lighting system

  • First-in-company to provide pipeline for radiosity-based light-maps

  • First-in-company to develop bone-based pipeline at 3DO (previously all Character Studio)

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Osiris Studios                                                                                                      June 1997 - July 2001

Creative Director / Founder

  • Build studio from 3 to 35 employees over 4 year period

  • secure seed financing and grew company to EBITA ~$3.5M/year

  • Co-developed all original concepts w/ staff designers

  • Oversaw development of numerous proprietary art tools

  • Mentor / train / review all art hires (16 total)

  • Work with Producers to develop all schedules and budgets

  • Evaluate and approve all hires

Art Director - HBO Boxing (PlayStation, Released Oct. 2000

  • Acclaim sold ~150,000 units to-date (TRYST)

  • Develop schedule, milestones and budget

  • Manage 8 artists

  • Designed and Directed mocap shoots (~1200 moves)

  • Develop Art Pipeline

  • Shipped on-time and on-budget (13 months and $1.2M)

 External Art Director - Jet Moto 3 (PlayStation, Released Nov. 1999 Don Traeger Studios)

  • External AD and Producer for Osiris Team

  • Managed team of 3 artists

  • Individual contributor as 3D artist on 3 levels

  • Managed relationship w/ DT Studios

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Zombie VR Entertainment                                                                                           May 1996 - May 1997

Art Director - SpecOps (PC, Playstation)

  • >500,000 units shipped worldwide creating successful franchise

  • Establish look / feel for title

  • Develop all 3D art-pipelines for Zombie (multiple sku)

  • Level Design, layout, storyboards

  • Manage team of 6 artists

  • Designed, directed and integrated all mocap (~450 moves)

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Disney Imagineering - VR Studio                                                                             Jan 1995 - May 1996

Ride Designer - DisneyQuest

  • Member of concept team to pitch original ride themes to VPs

Character Animator - Aladdin Magic Carpet Ride

  • character modeling/texture/animation (Jasmine, Rajah & Sultan)

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Xatrix Entertainment                                                                                               June 1993 - Dec 1994

Art Lead - Cybera

  • >1m units sold worldwide

  • Vertically responsible for 90% of all 3D environments (model, texture, light)

  • All in-game cameras (400+)

  • Proprietary tool design (multiple)


TOOLS DESIGN: 

Maxis – level building tool, all shader definitions/tools, lighting tool

Midway – numerous UE3 improvements (destruction, lighting, FSPE, facial wrinkle tool etc.).

3DO – visual animation state machine tool, baked radiosity tool

Osiris –entire art pipeline, visual animation state machine tool

Xatrix – virtual cinema tools


EDUCATION:

California Institute of the Arts  (CalArts) www.calarts.edu

BFA Computer Animation, minor in Film          

First in Class of 14 students

Certified Scrum Master & Product Owner - Collabnet www.collab.net

 


REFERENCES:

Many at my Linked In Profile:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonkaehler  (More available upon request)


SHIPPED TITLES:

Rampage, Cyberia, SpecOps, Aladdin Magic Carpet, Jet Moto 3, HBO Boxing, Psi-Ops, Stranglehold, Darkspore, Deckadence, Find The Words, Lucky Ace Slots, Wild Party Bingo, WGT Baseball, Congo Bongo, Beauty & Beast, Paywire


ENGINES:

Unity, Unreal, Crytek, HTML5