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Sr. Software Engineer, Character Performance & Authoring

Apply NowApply Later Job ID 10038932 Location Burbank, California, United States Business Walt Disney Animation Studios Date posted Jan. 24, 2023

Job Summary:

Job Summary

At the 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 daily.

We are looking for a talented engineer to join our Production Technology team, targeting development of our in-house Character Performance & Authoring tool set. In this role, you will be part of a small, dedicated team of cross-site developers who partner closely with the Modelers, Character Riggers, Layout Artists, Crowds Artists, and Animators using our tools, as well as production and technology leadership, technical directors, cross-team software engineers, and researchers.

The developer filling this role would employ a wide variety of techniques including: kinematics algorithms; rig evaluation and caching; curve editing and interpolation; applied research; user interface/experience design; geometric and procedural techniques; efficient data parsing, storage, and transfer; and other computer graphics algorithms associated with artist workflows. In-depth understanding of both underlying mathematical and theoretical foundations as well as user-facing workflow needs are qualities we seek in an ideal candidate.

Projects Include

● Complex, highly performant geometry deformation and rig execution systems (including debugging, benchmarking, and optimizing rig interactivity and playback)

● Expanding and supporting our custom tool suite for creating character assets (sculpting brush workflows, deformers, procedural rig helpers, topology processing algorithms, etc.)

● Collaborating with artists to evolve our custom tool suite for in-shot posing and manipulation (animation capture and transfer, playblasting, dynamic rig armatures, path-driven animation, procedural secondary motion, etc.)

● Sequence-based cinematography and staging toolkits

● New approaches for art directed simulations for characters and effects

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:

● The ability to quickly produce clear, testable code

● Understanding of the importance of performant solutions for user interaction

● Excellent problem solving, troubleshooting and debugging skills

● Ability to collaborate with team members across different disciplines, including directly interfacing with artists and stakeholders to understand requirements

● Exemplary communication skills, including the ability to engage with artists to understand their requirements and formulate practical solutions

● The ability to balance the timeliness of solutions with their sustainability

Key Qualifications:

● 4+ Years designing and developing complex user facing software, ideally in a studio environment.

● Proficiency in modern C++

● Experience building clean interfaces using modern UI development toolkits

● Extensive experience designing APIs from scratch, as well as designing APIs that extend existing frameworks while maintaining established patterns and architecture

● Ability to develop and optimize algorithms for efficiency and scalability

● Deep understanding of mathematical fundamentals (linear algebra, graph theory, etc)

● Experience working in and developing plugins for large-scale animation DCCs

Bonus Qualifications:

● Master’s Degree in Computer Science

● Working knowledge of Python

● Experience with game engines such as Unreal or Unity

● Expertise in performance tuning and writing/debugging of parallel code

● Knowledge of the latest publications in the academic community relevant to character deformation and animation

● Ability to adapt and extend relevant research to production-level tools tailored to the specific art-directed needs

Required Education

● BS in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or equivalent experience

The hiring range for this position in California is $136,038.00 to $182,490.00 per year, which factors in various geographic regions. The base pay actually offered will take into account internal equity and also may vary depending on the candidate’s geographic region, job-related knowledge, skills, and experience among other factors. A bonus and/or long-term incentive units may be provided as part of the compensation package, in addition to the full range of medical, financial, and/or other benefits, dependent on the level and position offered.


Additional Information!:


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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