Full Time Job

Software Engineer - Character Performance & Authoring

Walt Disney Animation Studios

Vancouver, BC 11-13-2021
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  • Paid
  • Full Time
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 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 TDs, 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 with associated 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
• Evolve, expand, and support our custom tool suite for creating character assets (sculpting brush workflows, deformers, procedural rig helpers, etc.)
• Evolve, expand, and support 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.)
• Debug, optimize, and benchmark rig interactivity and playback
• 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. • Our developers work in a collaborative, cross-site, environment in the pursuit of simple and performant solutions to complex problems.
• 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.
• Support the artists in their day-to-day work including debugging any issues with the tools as well as brainstorming on the best use of the tools to solve a particular creative challenge.
• Develop new artist-centric interaction models using the latest hardware and technologies.

Key Qualifications
• Bachelor's/Master's with specialization in Computer Graphics (with a focus on areas related to the rigging and animation toolset) or comparable industry experience in a research, studio, or games environment
• Proficiency in C++, strong software design and engineering skills
• Excellent problem solving, troubleshooting and debugging skills
• Ability to develop and optimize algorithms for efficiency and scalability
• Deep understanding of mathematical fundamentals (linear algebra, graph theory, etc) • Ability to prioritize competing demands
• Exemplary communication skills, including the ability to engage with artists to understand their requirements and formulate practical solutions
• Experience working in and developing plugins for third party animation packages (especially Maya)

Bonus Qualifications
• Professional experience in a software developer role
• Experience working in an Animation production environment
• Familiarity with UI development toolkits (especially QT) for building and supporting clean interfaces
• Expertise in performance tuning and writing/debugging of parallel code
• Knowledge of the latest publications in the academic community relevant to character animation
• Ability to adapt and extend relevant research to production-level tools tailored to the specific art-directed needs
• Working knowledge of Python

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.

This position is with Walt Disney Pictures, which is part of a business segment we call Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Jobcode: Reference SBJ-gw9wep-54-227-97-219-42 in your application.

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.