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Animation Studios - Simulation Software Intern, Summer 2021

Burbank, CA - US

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Job ID 768184BR Location Burbank, California, United States Business Walt Disney Animation Studios Date posted Nov. 16, 2020

Job Summary:

As a Walt Disney Animation Studios Technology Intern, you will have the unique opportunity to work directly with a Disney mentor as you explore all aspects of technology in relation to filmmaking. This immersive program offers hands-on experience focused on individual craft and multidisciplinary team collaboration.

Please note, the safety and well-being of our teams is very important to us. We will be determining whether this program will be in-person at our Burbank, CA studio or virtual in the coming months based on government recommendations.


The software engineers on our Hair & Cloth team are responsible for developing and supporting the tools that the artists use across our full end-to-end hair and cloth pipelines, all the way from grooming/tailoring, to simulation rig setup, and technical animation shot work. We are looking for an intern to partner with our Hair & Cloth team engineers and artists to explore extensions to our in-house hair simulation framework.

Artists use our simulation software to drive hair motion to help bring our characters to life. One of the keys to creating convincing visuals is the ability to generate dynamics that are physically-based, stable, and art-directable. A key challenge in hair simulation is robust collision detection and resolution.

The material point method (MPM) provides an alternative solution for collision handling as well as for coupling of other materials, such as fluids, cloth, and rigid bodies. In this project, we plan to experiment with MPM to see if it can enable efficient and reliable collision handling for hair simulation while maintaining art-directability. A secondary goal would be to explore coupling cloth and hair simulation using this method

Main responsibilities will include:

  • Reviewing state of the art publications on MPM and collision handling for hair

  • Collaborating with artists and engineers towards effective solutions

  • Integrating a prototype simulator using MPM

  • Identifying performance bottlenecks and implementing solutions for optimization

  • Designing unit tests for mathematical verification of the simulator

Basic Qualifications:

  • Proficiency in C++, ideally C++11/14​
  • Experience with scripting languages including Python
  • Knowledge of physics, mathematics, and simulation techniques.
  • Strong mathematical fundamentals, including linear algebra and numerical methods
  • Understanding of computer graphics foundational concepts and algorithms
  • Experience writing performant parallel code.
  • Strong communication and problem solving skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with MPM

  • Experience with hair collision handling

  • Experience with hardware level performance optimization

  • The ability to design unit tests based on the mathematical properties of a given function

Required Education

Undergraduate Senior, or Graduate level Master's or PhD student, or recent graduate (within 6 months of graduation) pursuing a degree from an accredited college or university in Computer Science, Computer Graphics, Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or a related field.

Additional Information:

Internship Eligibility:
  • At the time of application, must be enrolled in an accredited college/university taking at least one class in the semester/quarter (spring/fall) prior to participation in the internship program OR must have graduated from a college/university within the past 6 months OR currently participating in a Disney College Program or Disney Professional Internship
  • Must not have completed one year of continual employment on a Disney internship or program.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must possess unrestricted work authorization
  • Must provide full work availability
  • Must provide own housing and transportation to/from work
  • Current Active Disney cast members must meet Professional Internship transfer guidelines (for Walt Disney World cast members this is no more than four points and one reprimand in the last six months; for Disneyland cast members this is six months of consecutive service and a performance record clear of any disciplinary issues (warnings, suspensions, etc.) for at least six months)
Program Length:
The approximate dates of this internship are May/June 2021 - August/September 2021. Interns must be available to work full-time for the duration of the internship.

About Walt Disney Animation Studios:

Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. Located in Burbank, WDAS continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, from the first fully-animated feature film, 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, to 2013's Academy Award®-winning Frozen, the biggest animated film of all time. Among the studio's timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with Walt Disney Pictures, which is part of a business segment we call Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Walt Disney Pictures is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or protected veteran status or any other basis prohibited by federal, state or local law. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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