Technical_director_banner©Ed Gregory

Technical Director

Industries:
VFX
Personality type:
Creative
Departments:
3D computer animation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bQAXPrrcGI&list=PL56X-L2OwyQt42YvXALlu3bZqkRHc_5UM&index=75

The Lowdown

  • Creating incredibly complex effects using computer programming and simulations
  • Tendency to specialise rather than generalise – For example, a “Groom Technical Director” will only work on creating realistic hair

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need to:

  • Work well under pressure whilst maintaining high work quality
  • Have a keen eye for detail
  • Be knowledgeable in Python and other programming languages
  • Be able to display great patience during long render times
  • Have excellent design, layout, colour and composition skills
  • Be proficient in professional compositing programs such as Maya, Cinema 4D or Nuke
  • Be willing to work beyond a traditional 9-5 schedule
  • Create incredibly complex animations that would be almost impossible to do by hand
  • Deliver work of a professional standard to a tight deadline
  • Maintain and improve your own scripts and systems
  • Work closely with all departments on pipeline improvement and development

What does a Technical Director do?

A Technical Director is a somewhat broad term for a range of disciplines within VFX. Generically, they are in charge of running simulations and programs in order to create desired effects, but the science and artistry involved means that nearly all Technical Directors are very specialised. For example, a Groom Technical Director would be responsible for generating realistic hair and fur.

Technical Directors will write script to generate the effects, and will experiment with various attributes and figures until they achieve the perfect result. This makes things impossible to animate by hand easy to create for artists later in the pipeline, like realistic water, fire and smoke.

Will I need a qualification?

Yes, many Technical Directors hold degrees in Computer Sciences or Art and Design. It's difficult to prove yourself as a Technical Director without having a way to show off your specialism, so unqualified prospective TDs may find a niche in procedural animation before moving up.

What’s the best route in?

The best way to become a Technical Director is to start as a 3D artist before moving on to become an Assistant Technical Director. A strong background in programming and knowledge of software such as Maya or Houdini would be required, as well as an excellent showreel of procedural animation work.

Where might the role take me?

Technical Directors usually become more and more specialised in their chosen field, the more experience they amass the more sought after they become. It’s common for Technical Directors move into Research & Development roles after a number of years, or even into becoming VFX Supervisors.

Interested? Find out more…

For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.  

Websites

  • Art of VFX hosts news and interviews from within the VFX Industry
  • Conrad Olson has a list of VFX Companies currently operated in the UK.
  • FX Guide posts news and guides on VFX industry

Publications

  • Cinefex publishes illustrations, interviews and news
  • Stash Media Worx delivers the latest animation, VFX and graphics projects every month on DVD

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