Full Time Job

Associate Software Engineer - Hair / Cloth Toolsets

Walt Disney Animation Studios

Burbank, CA 03-10-2021
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  • Paid
  • Full Time
  • Executive (10+ years) Experience
Job Description

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 daily.

We are looking for an engineer to join our Production Technology team, targeting development of our in-house Hair and Cloth toolset. Our developers work in a collaborative environment in the pursuit of simple and performant solutions to complex problems. In this role, you will partner closely with the artists using the tools, as well as production and technology leadership, technical directors, cross-team software engineers, and researchers.

The developer filling this role would use a variety of techniques including new simulation algorithms, applied research, high performance parallel computation, geometric and procedural techniques, highly efficient data parsing and storage, and other computer graphics algorithms with associated artist workflows. 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
• Evolve and expand our custom tool suite for grooming, tailoring, cloth/hair simulation, and additional in-shot work (e.g. sculpting, character performance tuning)
• Develop new approaches to achieve art-directed simulation with a high level of artistic control
• Expand our procedural geometry tools for creating hair styles and fur grooms, and driving motion in shots
• Take part in reimagining our overall toolset from the ground up in a highly optimized in-house 3D animation application framework
• Collaborate with artists on developing intuitive visualizations and interactive workflows

What does it mean to be a developer here at WDAS?
• 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 to make the tools we need for the incredibly complex and rich characters and environments featured in our movies
• Develop on top of a highly performant, extendable in-house application framework
• Develop new artist-centric interaction models using the latest hardware and technologies

Key Qualifications
• Proficiency in C++, ideally C++11/14
• Experience with scripting languages
• Strong mathematical fundamentals, such as linear algebra and multivariable calculus
• Understanding of computer graphics foundational concepts and algorithms
• Strong software design and engineering skills
• Familiarity with optimization techniques, including multi-threading
• Good problem solving, troubleshooting, and debugging skills
• Ability to communicate and collaborate with team members across different disciplines, including directly interfacing with stakeholders to understand requirements
• BS in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or related field

Bonus Qualifications
• Knowledge of animation workflows
• Experience with performance tuning and writing/debugging of parallel and vectorized code
• Knowledge of the latest publications in the academic community relevant to hair and cloth
• Experience building clean interfaces using UI development toolkits (Qt)
• Working knowledge of Python
• Other expertise: Maya API, Houdini, USD, OpenGL

Company Profile
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.