What does a creature TD do?
Creature TDs build the software that enables artists to create believable fur, feathers and skin on their creatures.
They develop and program the digital tools for all the artists who work on digital dinosaurs, animals or magnificent beasts, helping them to be as efficient as possible. They then work with pipeline TDs to incorporate the tools into a VFX production pipeline.
The scope of the creature TD role varies depending on the size of the studio. In some studios, the role includes rigging, which involves creating systems of skeletons and muscles which are then used by an animator as the basis for the creature’s movements. In larger studios, the role of creature TD is focussed on creating the fur, hair, feathers, skin. The goal is the same, to make sure the effects look convincing and blend seamlessly with the other VFX and live-action components of the film or TV programme.
Creature TDs can be employed by VFX studios or work as freelancers.
What’s a creature TD good at?
- Problem-solving: be able to come up with solutions and overcome obstacles, use the most cutting-edge technology to find new ways to achieve a creative vision
- Collaboration and communication: be able to work with other VFX artists, use each other’s resources effectively and efficiently, be able to receive feedback in a constructive way
- Programming and coding skills: be able to use a variety of relevant software such as Houdini, Maya and Ziva Dynamics, be able to understand and use script languages (Python as preference, Mel and C++ as optional)
- Working with Linux or Unix operating systems: know how to work with these operating systems, which are different from Microsoft Windows or macOS (Apple)
- Working to deadlines: work within given time frames, be able to complete work under pressure, be organised