Walt Disney Animation Studios

Location: Burbank, CA

Founded: 1923

Website: http://www.disneyanimation.com/

Walt and Roy Disney founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in 1923. Known today as Walt Disney Animation Studios, it is the oldest subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937 as the first full-length animated feature film in English and Technicolor.


Notable Products

  • The Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Aladdin
  • The Lion King
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Tangled

What to Expect

The iconic characters brought to life by the artists and animators of the Walt Disney Animation Studios over the past seven decades represent the foundation of Disney’s identity in the entertainment industry. More than any other commercial properties, the Disney Princesses and other cartoon characters remain the most familiar and identifiable with audiences around the world. It is a rich legacy that every incoming member of the team strives to live up to. Among the notable alumni of WDAS are John Lasseter, Don Bluth, and Tim Burton.

Employment opportunities within Walt Disney Animation Studios are available in the areas of art and technology. Technical positions include software engineering, system administration, technical support, and rendering. Those applying for a technical role must provide examples of scripting ability and/or completed software applications. Necessary proficiencies include C++ and Python. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, or related major. A master’s degree is preferred.

Positions within artistic departments include those for storyboard artists, modelers, layout artists; character technical directors responsible for constructing 3D character rigs, animation interfaces, and muscle behavior; character animators, matte painters, and other related roles. Artists seeking employment should have a solid foundation in traditional art and animation, including excellent drawing and painting ability. The company seeks a range of experience among candidates, but at least two years of demonstrated ability within Maya or similar programs is required for CG animators, modelers, and character riggers. Other proficiencies typically expected among art applicants include rendering, shader writing, scripting, and digital painting. A bachelor’s degree in computer animation, digital art, computer graphics, or related area is required.

The application process for all positions requires a portfolio or demo reel that may be submitted electronically via uploaded video, website, or CD/DVD. Artists and animators must deliver completed, polished examples of work relevant to the position sought and accompanied by a breakdown that details the techniques used and steps taken in the production of the work.

Talent development and summer internship programs are available for current college students and recent graduates of relevant art and technical programs. The Talent Development Program (paid) is offered to recent graduates (within three years) of an undergraduate or graduate curriculum and takes place over 3 or 6 months at the Burbank WDAS location. Under the mentorship of current studio filmmakers, participants will have the opportunity to further develop their skills and acquire hands-on experience. Areas of specialization available within the program include story, visual development, animation, production management, post-production, and disciplines within technical direction.

Two internship opportunities are available to current college students. The first is the Art & Production Summer Internship, which is an 8-week program conducted at the Walt Disney Animation Studios in Burbank. Students will participate in individual and group projects, collaborating with other interns under the mentorship of a studio veteran. Like the previously mentioned development program, concentrations are offered in numerous areas of art, animation, and production. The technology internships extend for three months and may take place during the spring, summer, or fall semesters. Students are introduced to the tools and software applications in use at WDAS and directed through specific projects by a studio mentor. Applications for all student programs may be submitted through the company’s official website in the career section.

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