3dRender.com : Glossary : Technical Director

Technical Director (also called a TD, pronounced "tee-dee") - a common job title in computer animation and visual effects companies. Two common tasks for TD's are preparing models to be animated, and lighting and rendering scenes. A Character TD is responsible for adding a skeleton and deformers to a model, and adding any other controls that will be provided to the animators to make the character move. A Lighting TD takes animation from the animators, simulations or effects animation from the effects department, textures from the texture painters, and any other elements needed to put together a scene, and would then light the scene and render it in as many passes are necessary to deliver to the compositors. There are other, more specialized roles for TD's at some studios, such as Shader TD's who write shaders to determine the appearance of objects or visual effects in a scene. At some companies, TD's are sometimes involved in compositing and effects animation for their shots.

In terms of technical knowledge, most TD positions do not require any programming skills (although there are some TD's at some companies who are full-time programmers), but any TD should be willing to learn basic scripting languages, and should also be able to work with different operating systems, including being proficient with common UNIX shell commands. But don't take the word "technical" too literally - most TD positions require a balance of artistic sensibilities, technical savvy, and good problem-solving skills.

© 2001 by Jeremy Birn.