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Sr. Software Engineer, Tools Characters & Crowds

Apply NowApply Later Job ID R-03422 Location Emeryville, California, United States Business Pixar Animation Studios Date posted Jan. 30, 2023

Job Summary:

Pixar is seeking skilled and enthusiastic engineers to join us in advancing the state of the art in computer animation. We develop and maintain our proprietary and powerful Presto Animation System as well as the industry-defining Universal Scene Description, OpenSubdiv, and Hydra projects for integrating with and extending premier applications such as Maya and Houdini. Pixar is an exciting and dynamic environment for adaptable and motivated individuals, with several concurrent movies and streaming projects all using our latest efforts to push the technical and artistic boundaries of storytelling. If you’re passionate about crafting world-class software and working with exceptional artists and engineers, we want to talk to you! This opportunity is to join the Characters and Crowds team in the Software Research & Development department, responsible for the tools used to build, articulate, and pose our digital actors. This includes algorithms for high-performance geometry deformation and graphical visualization, the UX used by the artists to author and control these behaviors, and pipeline tools to enable efficient collaboration and information transfer between departments and applications. Our team works directly with artists possessing a spectrum of technical experience, and the role requires initiative and communication skills for identifying and characterizing issues they encounter, along with the engineering skills to debug and resolve them in a large and complex code base. The work is a mix of supporting existing features and collaborating with project management and technical leadership to propose, plan, implement, and deploy new capabilities. Projects range from self-directed individual efforts to large departmental or studio initiatives involving the combined efforts of several technical teams.


  • A desire to work closely with users in a creative environment

  • Familiarity with graphics concepts such as subdivision, tessellation, mesh topology, bounding hierarchies, and parametric deformation

  • Familiarity with geometric operations such as basis evaluation, surface / curve parameterization, and projection

  • Strong problem-solving and verbal and written communication skills with a high attention to detail

  • Demonstrable proficiency in C++ with at least 3 years of relevant professional experience

  • An appreciation for the importance of long-term code health, peer review, automated testing, and documentation

  • The ability to balance rapid delivery of critical solutions with long-term product quality


  • Fluency with the practical concerns of programming high-performance software

  • Experience with multithreaded and GPU programming

  • Experience with USD, OpenSubdiv, or Hydra

  • Development experience with 3D content creation applications (e.g. Maya, Houdini)

  • Familiarity with Python as a scripting language

  • Experience developing in a UNIX / Linux environment

  • Able to work hybrid model (4 days a week on campus)

The hiring range for this position in Emeryville is $158,185.00 to $204,710.00 per year. 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.

About Pixar Animation Studios:

Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with world-renoinswned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. The Northern California studio has created some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” “Brave,” “Inside Out,” and “Coco.” Its movies have won 35 Academy Awards® and have grossed more than $13 billion at the worldwide box office to date.

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 Pixar Inc., which is part of a business segment we call Pixar Animation Studios.

Pixar Inc. 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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