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Character Technical Director, Rigging

Apply NowApply Later Job ID 10043754 Location Burbank, California, United States Business Walt Disney Animation Studios Date posted Mar. 07, 2023

Job Summary:

At Walt Disney Animation Studios, Character TDs work on Character Rigging, Simulation Setup, and Technical Animation. We are currently hiring experienced Character TDs with an emphasis in Rigging to join our team in creating the most appealing character performances on the planet! 

At Walt Disney Animation Studios our rigs are tactile, sculptural, intuitive interfaces for posing the character. Our ideal candidate is self-motivated with strong artistic skills built on top of a solid technical foundation. 

You will work closely with the industry's top talent in fields ranging from design and modeling through animation to bring our characters to life.


  • Build an intuitive interface for posing a character that maintains appeal and design throughout its range of motion

  • Author clean deformations with hand sculpted shapes that perform with consistency and predictability

  • Shepherd the rig build process, starting with geometry received from modeling all the way through delivering a final rig to animation, debugging broken or poorly functioning assets/shots with minimal supervision

  • Work closely with the character teams (comprised of visual development, modeling, simulation, look development, animation, and technical animation), iterating quickly and addressing notes accurately

  • Contribute to our codebase in a way that others can build off of, taking input from peers and building tools around consensus


  • Solid understanding of the principles of animation and design

  • Extensive knowledge of anatomy, kinematics, and physical behaviors

  • Expertise in facial rigging that leans heavily on sculpting appealing shapes on top of a clean and stable deformation base

  • Attention to detail focused on delivering a quality product

  • Solid understanding of Python scripting

  • Experience on CG feature film productions

  • Experience working in collaborative environments and taking direction

  • Strong problem-solving ability

  • Comfort with Linux environments

  • Previous leadership experience is a plus

  • Experience in modeling, sculpting, and creating blendshapes are a plus

  • Experience in animation is a plus

  • Experience in hair or cloth simulation is a plus

  • Bachelor's degree in Art, Illustration, Computer Graphics, Engineering, related field or equivalent experience

A Note About Software:

Our department currently uses Autodesk Maya as our primary platform with proprietary solvers, hair instancing tools, and other authoring plugins. Applicants should be adept in Maya or an equivalent CG application or demonstrate an aptitude for learning software quickly. A strong skill set in packages like Marvelous Designer, XGen, and Houdini is an added plus.

Application Materials:

  • A reel of best rigging work that is no longer than 3 minutes in length 

  • Work focused on appealing facial performance is encouraged

  • Examples of rig function that demonstrate appealing articulation through a broad range of motion and performance. Please no high speed control wiggles or distortion of your rig without purpose

  • A resume that details your work history outlining past experiences that relate to working on appealing rigs and facial rigs in a collaborative environment

  • A reel breakdown of the visuals on your reel (if applicable)

  • An optional portfolio of drawing or sculpture work reflecting an understanding of design and anatomy is always welcome

The Walt Disney Company is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

The pay rate for this role in Burbank, CA is $54.74 to $60.21 per hour, which follows the pay scale agreed upon in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The base pay actually offered may vary depending on the candidate’s geographic region, job-related knowledge, skills, and experience, among other factors.

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. Disney Animation 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 our 62nd animated feature, Wish, releasing November 2023. Among the studio's timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, and Encanto.

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: Disney Entertainment, ESPN, Disney Parks, and Experiences and Products. 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 The Secret Lab, which is part of a business we call Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The Secret Lab 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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