Why a Studio Pipeline TD is so Important

Studio Pipeline TD

A Studio Pipeline TD (Technical Directors) make sure a VFX project runs smoothly by identifying and fixing problems as they arise. This is done by making sure each department has the software tools that they need to complete their part of the project to the best standard possible.

What is the Job of Studio Pipeline TD?

The role of a Studio Pipeline TD will involve working closely with the rest of the pipeline team. It involves the responsibility for developing and maintaining departmental tools used for animation, VFX and other projects. Specific responsibilities will include writing and modifying computer code to solve problems related to art or productivity, acting as a liaison for communicating technical issues to Production, R&D and IT, testing and debugging tools and processes to ensure stability, and educating Artists on how to work with the pipeline and department tools.

A Studio Pipeline TD will work with a range of people, including 3D Animators, Riggers, Modellers, Lighters, and Compositors. They communicate with VFX Artists across the team to understand their needs. If the project that they are working on isn’t running smoothly, then it is the Studio Pipeline TD’s responsibility to identify what kind of tools need to be developed to fix the issues.

Key Skills

  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Excellent problem-solver
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to work in a team as well as independently
  • Experience using software packages such as Python, Maya, Nuke and Shotgun
  • Ability to prioritise production needs and tasks
  • Good understanding of the visual effects process, from shooting through to composition

Salary & Working Hours
The average salary for a Studio Pipeline TD can vary from £60,000 up to around £67,000, but the average is around £63,000.

Working hours for a Studio Pipeline TD will depend on whether you are working in a studio, in which case it is likely to be normal hours, 9am-5pm, with the occasional need to work overtime and evenings when deadlines are approaching. For those who are working on a freelance basis, working hours will depend on when you choose to work, and when you can get projects to work on.

How To Become a Studio Pipeline TD
As the Pipeline TD oversees departments and has a lot of responsibility, the Pipeline TD must have a very good understanding of how VFX production pipelines work and the different roles within them. It may be useful to get a few years’ worth of experience working as a VFX Artist or in a related role, in order to build up your skills. The role of Pipeline TD is a fairly senior role, so you’ll need to work your way up from a junior position.

As with most jobs in the film industry, a portfolio is essential in order to showcase your work and show potential employers what you are capable of. Building up experience, even through volunteering will always put you at an advantage as well.

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