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Associate Software Engineer - Lighting & Render Pipeline

Burbank, California, United States

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Job ID 975045BR Location Burbank, California, United States Business Walt Disney Animation Studios Date posted May. 09, 2022 Flex Type Hybrid

Job Summary:

At Walt Disney Animation Studios we have a deep commitment to the philosophy that creativity inspires technology, and technology inspires creativity. Engineers in our Production Technology department are charged with developing and implementing new algorithms to solve unique and challenging problems for all of our animated content. We do this working alongside a user base that shares a collaborative environment with us, and uses the code we develop to make our feature films.

We are looking for an engineer to join our Production Technology team, for tool development in our lighting and rendering pipeline.

In this role, you will partner with artists, production and technology leadership, technical directors, cross-team software engineers, and other technologists and researchers across the Walt Disney Studios. You will be responsible for evolving a mature suite of tools to make performance and workflow improvements while maintaining a stable product. This will also include investigating, triaging and resolving issues reported by users.


Projects Include:

  • Evolving, revising and supporting our rendering pipeline, a core system that produces the data consumed by our in-house renderer, connecting it with interactive authoring packages.
  • Optimizing the processing of large data sets to improve artist iteration times and efficiently utilize the render farm.
  • Leveraging technologies such as USD and redesigning our data representations to maximize benefit for practical production use.
  • Designing and developing new artist tools and workflows, utilizing applications such as Houdini and Nuke.

What does it mean to be a developer at Walt Disney Animation Studios?

  • Our engineers get the opportunity to work on the full stack of our tools, from developing the underlying algorithms through building intuitive artist-friendly interfaces.
  • Work hand in hand with artists and a team of cross-site developers to make the tools we need for the incredibly complex characters/environments featured in our content.
  • Develop on top of a highly performant, extendable in-house application framework.
  • Develop new artist-centric interaction models using the latest hardware and technologies.

You will succeed in this role if you have:

  • Ability to quickly produce maintainable, robust, debuggable code.
  • Good problem solving, troubleshooting and debugging skills.
  • Ability to collaborate with team members across different disciplines, including directly interfacing with stakeholders to understand requirements.
  • Strong communication and teamwork skills.
  • Knowledge of animation workflows and graphics techniques.

Key Qualifications:

  • 0-1 Year(s) designing and developing complex user facing software, ideally in a studio environment
  • Proficiency in modern C++.
  • Experience with scripting languages including Python.
  • Familiarity with optimization techniques, preferably including multi-threading.
  • Understanding of computer graphics foundational concepts and algorithms.

Bonus Qualifications:

  • Strong mathematical fundamentals, including linear algebra and numerical methods.
  • Basic understanding of coding process, standards and testing principles.
  • Maya or Houdini development experience.
  • Experience building clean interfaces using common UI toolkits, especially Qt.

Required Education

  • BS in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or equivalent experience.

This role is considered hybrid, which means the employee will work a portion of their time on-site from a Company designated location and the remainder of their time remotely.

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. 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 2019’s Frozen 2, the biggest animated film of all time, to our 60th animated feature, Encanto, releasing November 2021. Among the studio's timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Frozen, 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 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. 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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