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Render Wrangler

Industries:
Animation
Personality type:
Scientist
Departments:
3D computer animation

The lowdown

  • Supervising and controlling the rendering process (converting computer data and outputting it as a sequence of viewable images) and managing the render farm

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • have a high degree of computer literacy
  • have knowledge of at least one of the relevant, industry-standard 3D packages (eg. Maya or 3D Studio Max)
  • be able to learn new software quickly, and learn on the job, if necessary
  • have strong analysis and problem-solving skills
  • be able to manage and prioritise your own time and workload
  • be able to record information accurately and produce reports
  • have good team-working skills
  • have experience in scripting, ideally
  • be able to take direction and work with minimal supervision
  • be able to deliver on schedule, working calmly and efficiently under pressure
  • show respect for the procedures and requirements of a particular studio, production or pipeline
  • have knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

What does a Render Wrangler do?

Render Wranglers supervise the rendering process. In computer-generated imagery (CGI), rendering is the process of converting computer data and outputting it as a sequence of viewable images. Render Wranglers monitor and control the rendering process and manage the render farm. They can work on a project from previs (previsualisation) at the start of production until the final material is delivered for compositing.

Rendering can be required in the planning stages and throughout production, including development and tests for models, animation, effects and lighting. Although Animators usually check their own work in progress, animation may need to be rendered to view subtle movements such as facial expressions. Render Wranglers deliver the final rendered computer-generated (CG) elements to Compositors.

Artists from various departments submit completed data for rendering. This is placed in a queue for Render Wranglers to prioritise the work and allocate machines. This can be anything from a few computers to a major render farm of, perhaps, a thousand machines. They continuously check the computers to ensure there are no technical problems which might interfere with a successful output.

Render Wranglers may receive directions from Producers, Supervisors, Co-ordinators or Resource Managers and have contact with artists in various CG departments, particularly to sort out problems that they are unable to resolve themselves. When they are new to the role, Render Wranglers can expect to shadow more senior colleagues for a limited period before starting on day shifts with supervision. With more experience, they can also expect to be assigned to night shifts. Rendering Departments work on rota systems; there are usually three shifts over 24 hours so the job can involve anti-social hours.

This role offers a good opportunity to gain professional experience and acquire a broad based knowledge of CGI procedures within a production environment.

Will I need a qualification?

To become a Render Wrangler, it will help you to gain a degree in computer animation, computer science or similar, or in an art-related subject.

If you are considering taking an animation or art and design/graphics course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a creative career:

Animation courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

VFX courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

Even with a less appropriate degree, they may have chosen to acquire some CGI training on specialised short courses, some of which may be software-specific.

What’s the best route in?

You could enter the industry in the role of Render Wrangler, especially if you have good computer skills.

You can achieve this role as a graduate or with specialised training, or having been a Runner with suitable skills and talent.

You could apply to be a trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Where might the role take me?

Depending on your talent, skills and interests, you could progress into most 3D departments, including layout, modelling, animation, effects, and matte painting, or into co-ordinating.

Interested? Find out more...

Websites

  • Animation Magazine - a US magazine about the business, technology and art of animation and VFX
  • Animation World Network - production news, interviews, jobs and a big archive 
  • Shooting People – community-driven site, founded by filmmakers, and providing opportunities, news and animation jobs 
  • Skwigly Animation Magazine - the longest running UK based animation magazine and community. Offers news, interviews, reviews, podcasts, videos and tutorials 
  • Toonhound – website about cartoons, animation, comic strips and puppets in the UK
  • Own-it - offers intellectual property (IP) advice, information and learning resources for the creative sector 
  • Animation Nation - Animation industry news and useful links
  • 3D World Magazine - international magazine for CG artists, covering the fields of animation, VFX, games, illustration and architecture
  • Computer Graphics World - magazine covering innovation in computer graphics technology across various industries
  • Cinefex - quarterly magazine devoted to motion picture visual effects

Books

  • The Art of Maya by Alias Wavefront (pub. Sybex)

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