9 July 2014

Careers in R&D at Dneg

Hi, I’m Jeff Clifford, I’m the R&D Manager here at Double Negative and I want to share our view of career paths and entry points into R&D at Double Negative.

Typical entry into R&D is via a Degree in Computer Science, Physics or Maths – or some other science/engineering degree with a programming element. We are after people who are good problem solvers and have a passion for programming. The main computer languages we use, and look for experience in, are C++ and Python. We also require that people are able to work well as part of the R&D team and can communicate their ideas clearly to artists working within our film production pipeline. That way we ensure optimal use of our in-house tools.

We find many people, before starting at Dneg, have already played with and written programs that use libraries such as Boost, Qt, OpenGL, Cuda and various other maths or image-based libraries. And where they have not been taught a particular language, they have learnt it themselves.

Initially new members of R&D typically start out in what we call the pipeline side. This area of R&D is responsible for tools that allow artists to access the assets required for working on their scenes; making sure that items are correctly tracked and stored within our internal databases and that the flow of data between applications all the way to the final render is correct.

As a person gains more experience they will take on more tools written by the R&D department (as well as being responsible for previous ones) and are expected to manage the multiple requests for updates and bug fixes to them. In turn they will also get more exposure to in-production scripts and dealing with the artists and compositors in our 3D and 2D departments directly.

Another route some people take into R&D is via our Tech department. This is a department we work closely with and which also has programming needs. It is a very good department from which to get a good overview of the company and it’s technical needs. Over time some people who have started off in Tech who have taken a greater interest in the programming side of things have joined the R&D department.

We’re always after more programmers to join the R&D and Tech teams at Double Negative. We need our in-house tools to be cutting-edge to allow our artists and compositors the creative freedom they need. It’s an interesting software engineering job in the sense that what you write will get used in production (sometimes the same day!) and you get to see the results on the silver screen, which is very satisfying.

There simply aren’t enough R&D programmers in the world and at Double Negative we are always looking for new additions to the team. We want people to join our R&D team who are passionate about programming and film, and work well in a team. If you think this is you, please contact jobs@dneg.com. I look forward to welcoming you to the team.