Technical Director, Resident - Character Rigging
Pixar - Emeryville, CA

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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-renowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. Creator of 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" and "Brave," the Northern California studio has won 29 Academy Awards® and its films have grossed more than $7.7 billion at the worldwide box office to date. "Monsters University," Pixar’s fourteenth feature, will open in theaters in the United States on June 21, 2013.

About the Residency Program

The goal of the program is to provide new graduates the opportunity to apply their academic training and knowledge in a real job at Pixar. Residents will work on Pixar’s films and will have the opportunity to build their skills and learn from our creative and talented workforce. All technical “Residents” will receive ongoing mentorship and training throughout their time at Pixar. The residency is a twelve-month program. Residents will be evaluated during their term and may be considered for ongoing employment, dependent on overall performance and Studio needs.

Who Should Apply

To be eligible for a Technical Director Residency at Pixar, you must be a new graduate from a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD Program at the start of the residency.

Job Description

A Rigging Technical Director is responsible for working with Art Designers and Animators to realize a character in digital form. This includes both shaping the character's 3D geometry and the delivery of a well-designed set of animation controls for manipulating that geometry. The three main disciplines are modeling, rigging and rig building.

An applicant for a rig position is expected to be very strong in at least 2 of these areas. If you have strong artistic skills your two areas of focus might be modeling and rigging. If you are a CG grad you might be strong in rig construction as you can program and have math skills and you might have a good eye for modeling and motion.

Modeling covers the spectrum of being able to build humans, robots, cars or toys.

Task Description:
Using modeling software to sculpt and refine a neutral 3D model to fit the aesthetic needs of Character Designers.

Designing and maintaining a modeling topology conducive to the storyboarded range of deformations.

Reel guidelines

On a reel we look for examples of digital sculpting of organic forms such as faces or bodies as well as a variety of works and styles. The best presentations include a turntable showing the final result and a turntable with the mesh so we can evaluate topology. Modeling is an artistic endeavor so showing examples of drawings or clay sculpts will help. Showing cloth modeling and/or hair modeling will also strengthen a reel.

Rigging is the process of giving a character controls for movement, therein "articulating" its ranges of motion. We like to think of it as bringing the character to life.

Task Description:
Working closely with Animators to provide and refine an articulation of the full range of expressions and body movement needed to support a character's acting range in the film. A truth to materials/anatomy and animation principles is emphasized, as is patience and a willingness to experiment!

Creative use of deformers to achieve a specific deformation called for by Animation with a concise set of animation controls.

Reel Guidelines

What we look for in a reel is examples of rigging that support the type of character that is being attempted. A realistic character will have be true to the materials it is made out of. A cartoony character might have Tex Avery touches. Since rigging serves animation showing examples of animation will strengthen the reel.

Rig building i s the process of building and supporting rigs that a group of riggers can apply to a set of characters.

Task Description:
Designing and maintaining Master Rigs that can be re-used as a basis for articulating similar characters, or applying existing Rigs to newly created character sculpts.

Writing scripts to facilitate workflow improvements in Python or MEL, or working with a programmer to enable them to make such improvements effectively.

Brainstorming new techniques and ideas for user interfaces, deformation tools, and character specific rigging solutions.

Troubleshooting technical issues inherent in maintaining a clean file structure and pipelines for both in-house and 3rd party software.

Having proficiency in a programming language and math is important.

Reel Guidelines

What we look for in reels are systems that can be used to make faces or bodies. Showing how the controls work and the interface for the

animators is important. Descriptive text for the technical designs/tools shown on the reel should be provided on a separate breakdown sheet included with your reel/resume.


Starts Summer 2013 (12 months)

Application Deadline

All application materials must be submitted by 5:00 PM PST on March 22, 2013.

Submission Process

Apply online with your resume and cover letter.

Please ensure that you have agreed to the Terms at the end of the on-line application. You will not be able to continue without this affirmation. By agreeing, you are agreeing to the terms of the Submission Release.

A demo reel showing representative work is an important part of your application. Please check out the following link below for instructions on how to create a demo reel.

Once you have submitted your online application, please click on the SlideRoom link below and upload your demo reel.

SlideRoom Applicant Portal

SlideRoom Applicant Portal - First Time Users

  • Please sign up for a SlideRoom Account in order to upload your demo reel.
Note: Please be sure to use the EXACT same e-mail address that you used for your online application.

Already signed up? Go ahead and login to update your submission!

Note: If, due to legalities, your demo reel is not in a digital format and you cannot submit it online, please email for further instructions on how to submit your material.

For tips on how to create a demo reel please click here.

For technical help with uploading your demo reel please click here.

If uploading examples of visual work to SlideRoom, please upload file in a video format (ex. mov, wmv, flv, mp4).

Due to the high volume of submissions, we're not able to provide feedback.

Please do not mail in your material to Pixar--follow the instructions above.

You will receive an email acknowledging the successful receipt of your online application. Depending on the number of applicants, we are generally able to make final hiring decisions 3-4 weeks after the posted deadline date. We will contact you directly to discuss the opportunity if we are interested.

Pixar is an Equal Opportunity Employer.