Helen Zhang: UI/UX Designer & Video Game Artist
Download: Helen’s Resume PDF
I am a highly motivated, award-winning digital artist with a broad set of creative abilities, analytical mindset, and solid communication skills that have allowed me to adapt to studios large and small. I’m a quick learner and self-starter with an infectiously positive attitude. I thrive on projects and teams that value my strong sense of ownership, leadership, and ability to get things done on a deadline.
Adaptable, analytical, and artistic games industry veteran with over a decade of professional experience across mobile, web, desktop, and console platforms. Adept at working in cross-disciplinary teams to bring ideas from concept to completion.
- UI/UX Design & Prototyping: Photoshop, Sketch, Marvel, InVision
- Illustration, concept, vector: Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, Flash
- Texturing, UV Unwraps: Photoshop, 3D-Coat, Mudbox, Crazybump, 3DS Max
- 2D Animation: Flash, After Effects
- 3D Modeling, Rigging, Animation: 3DS Max
- Agile development: Hansoft, JIRA, Scrum
- Version control: Subversion, Perforce
- Game engines: Unity, Flare3D
- Website Design, XML: Dreamweaver, HTML/CSS, inDesign
- Page layout: inDesign
Senior UI / 2D Artist — Backflip Studios – April 2013 – January 2019
-UI/UX Design for Ninjump Rooftops, Ninjump Smash, DragonVale Pop, and DragonVale, working closely with Game Designers to bring UI from wireframes to final, production-ready assets. Implemented UI for Ninjump Smash and DragonVale Pop with NGUI and Unity.
-Principal artist on 3D bubble shooter DragonVale Pop (Android), working closely with another team member (who was both principal programmer and game designer): took over UI design, concept, illustration, logo/icon creation, 3D environment asset modeling/texturing, world-building, asset optimization and implementation using NGUI and Unity. Responsible for reducing 300+ drawcalls in a given level by reducing all bubbles to a single drawcall using Sprite Packing and texture atlas tools.
-2D Concept, Illustration, Logo and Icon design: Created character & environment concepts for Ninjump Rooftops, in addition to boosts, IAP, and mission icons. Created logo and icon for Ninjump Smash, and logo for Ninjump Dash.
-Art direction and consulting for Ninjump Dash, providing extensive written and visual feedback on UI art and design for a published title in the Ninjump franchise.
-Training and on-boarding new UI artists on DragonVale – establishing and documenting best practices and processes while unifying and improving upon the existing style
Senior Artist, CityVille 2 — Zynga East – May 2011 – Feb 2013
– 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, and basic rigging/animating environment assets, buildings, and props for 3D social game CityVille 2 using 3DS Max and Photoshop (2011-present)
– Establishing and documenting 3D asset pipelines while informing art tool creation for use in a real time 3D engine
– Researching and developing creative broad strokes to solve technical problems, like how to optimize low poly trees that still retain a high quality aesthetic, and how to approach interlocking roads, clouds, and terrain pieces
-Collaborating with designers, engineers and production managers to execute new features and tech, while keeping a keen eye on what is technically possible, aesthetically pleasing, and profitable
Senior Artist, FrontierVille — Zynga East – October 2009 – May 2011
-2D concepting, vector illustration, and Flash animation for social game FrontierVille as a founding artist; influencing the early look and feel of the game, and creating a majority of the game’s animating animals during live production
-Familiarity with XML coding for asset implementation and amending cross-discipline bottlenecks
-Getting new artists up to speed, informing art tool creation, attending spec reviews and interpreting art asset asks
-Utilizing creative problem solving skills to overcome technical hurdles and art errors
-Honing an efficient and flexible work style in response to an aggressive feature cadence, consumer demands, and shifting
Creative Manager — Benxing Entertainment – May 2009 – October 2009
-Directed a small team towards creating consistently high quality, entertaining video game titles for children and the iPhone, while guiding individuals’ diverse creative talents towards a common goal.
-Concept, illustrate, model, texture, rig, and animate characters, environments, props, and UI elements for a 3D, stylized online children’s game, using Maya, Photoshop, and the Unity engine.
-Redesign the website and brand identity with HTML, CSS, and Dreamweaver.
-Enabled open communication between team members to reduce blocking issues and inefficiencies.
Art intern — Big Huge Games — Nov 2008 – Mar 2009
-Created environmental textures, low-poly models, and UVs for an unannounced RPG using Photoshop, 3D Studio Max, Crazybump, and Zbrush
-Worked within the production pipeline to create polished, coherent cities that resonate with concept artists’ vision.
UMBC – Baltimore, MD: Bachelor of Art, Animation – 2005 – 2009
Summa cum laude (3.97) – Linehan Artist Scholar
Boulder Digital Arts, Boulder, CO: UI/UX Design – 2020
UI/UX Design Certificate
Awards & Honors
Individual Hackathon winner (Zynga, 2012) – First place character concept art category
Group Hackathon winner (Zynga, 2012) – Tied ﬁrst place in a group Hackathon, operating as principal artist responsible for all art assets for a game produced in a weekend
Shirt.woot.com (2009) – 3rd place Derby winner for t-shirt design: over 2900 sold: http://shirt.woot.com/offers/loss
Try to Believe Contest Winner (2008) – 1st place from the Brooklyn Philharmonic for collaborative animation with IRC Fellows class.
Linehan Artist Scholar (2005-2009) –Full scholarship to attend UMBC for excellence in visual arts
Imaging Research Center Fellow (2006-2008) – $10000 for outstanding performance in visual arts/technology
- Wacom Intuos challenge (2007) – 2nd place
- Sketchbook Pro challenge (2007) – 2nd place
- Sketchbook Pro challenge (2006) – 3rd place
President’s List, UMBC (Fall 06-Spring 08)
Dean’s List, UMBC (Fall 05-Spring 08)
RISD Annual Art Award (2005)