Disney Portfolio Requirements-and Guidelines- 1998

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  09 September 2012
Disney Portfolio Requirements-and Guidelines- 1998

Rob Note: I was cleaning my storage unit and I found this VERY cool document that might be
helpful for those interested in what were the requirements to work for Disney back in the 90's.

I am having a light day so I decided to OCR the document, and post the content that would be of interest to the forum. I will post more pages during the day.

For the CURRENT submission form go here:


Walt Disney Feature Animation

Portfolio Requirements, and Guidelines for Computer Generated Imagery Applicants

Thank you for your interest in Walt Disney Feature Animation. We are interested in you and would like to have the opportunity to see your work.


· Character animators use the computer to bring characters to life. To be a successful candidate, these artists may have backgrounds in any of the following animation disciplines, in addition to their computer training: traditional (hand drawn), stop motion, or claymation. The sensibilities and mindset of a good animator should transfer between mediums, and we strongly support animators looking to explore new technologies and techniques. Prior training should cover anatomy, perspective, and composition, including solving problems in weight, balance, movement, space, construction, and proportion. A video reel of animated scenes, is required.

· Effects animators add the forces of nature to an animated film, as Well as providing props, furniture, and even vehicles such as boats, chariots, carts, and canoes. Expertise in the realistic creation of wind, rain, sunlight, mist, fog, shadows, and fire aids in producing a believable world and Setting the mood for the story. In addition to having a passion for the elements of nature, requirements for artists interested in this area of animation match those of a character animation artist. A video reel showing a variety of effects is required.

· Modelers are responsible for creating complex, organic models needed for character animation, prop elements for effects, and virtual sets for layout. Familiarity with some complex modeling package is highly encouraged. We would like to see hard copy or video output of digital models (including wireframes), as well as photographs of traditional sculptures or models, if available. A drawing portfolio of model designs and sketches, including some life drawing, is encouraged.

· Lighting artists work in the 3-D environment creating the look of individual elements and entire scenes. This can include the creation of textures or the subtle use of virtual lights to enhance the mood and tone of a scene. Understanding of color, contrast, and lighting design is required, and some familiarity with 3~D lighting is strongly encouraged. A portfolio showing video examples of 3-D lighting or traditional work, including painting, drawing, or photography, is appropriate.

· Compositors use state-of-the-art tools to assemble various elements into their final version. A strong visual sense and the ability to distinguish subtle differences that affect the matching of elements created in multiple mediums are imperative. A video showing skill in compositing moving footage, preferably film footage, animation and live action, and before and after shots is required. Other examples of work in computer graphics or traditional art mediums are also encouraged.

· Motion Technical Directors work directly with character animators and modelers to define and create the controls that will allow the animator the creative freedom to pursue the ultimate in digital acting and performance. An understanding of animation principles and strong technical problem solving skills is required. Examples of work showing computer graphic animation and modeling are important in a portfolio for this area.

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. 1998 8/5/98

WDFA: Portfolio Requirements and Guidelines for CGI Applicants,
page 2

· Modeling Technical Directors create all non-character motion systems for animation. Among other things, this may include prop animation, particle systems, or procedural animation. Tasks vary, depending on the requirements of solving individual production problems. Knowledge of 3-D animation systems, programming, and modeling are all appropriate skills for this production role.

· Look Development Technical Directors work as part of a Look Development tca_m that defines all the technical aspects needed to create the look of a 3-D element. This may include the development and Writing of custom RenderMan shaders, painting and applying texture maps, or developing other custom software to accomplish the art-direction goals of an element or environment. A person with a thorough understanding of 3-D computer programs, and how lights are specified within them, would be an excellent candidate for this role. Specific RenderMan experience is ideal. Visual examples of images exemplifying work in this area are requested for review.

· Look Development Artists work with other Look Development staff to achieve the look of a more complex CG element (i.e. principle characters) in the show. This could include painting texture maps (cg. color maps, specular maps, displacement maps, stc.), working with TD’s to enhance the Look, and creating lighting setups. This artist typically has previous production experience or has demonstrated exceptional skills/abilities in CGI/traditional artwork. Production Software Technical Directors create software using their thorough knowledge of 3-D animation systems and graphics programming to help solve the creative requirements of show-specific production elements. Advanced degrees in computer science, math, physics, or engineering may be appropriate, as may a background of proven industry experience and a solid understanding of 3-D graphics programming in C/C-H- and high-end graphics packages

Computer Generated Imagery Portfolio Guidelines

· Enclose your résumé.

· Write a cover letter identifying your specific discipline of interest (e.g., character animation, modeling, lighting).

· Include samples of traditional work, if available. See "Traditional Portfolio Guidelines" below for more information.

· Include your work on a video reel. Reels should be no longer than four minutes. Your name must be on the tape and the case. A table of contents (Demo Reel Breakdown) identifying your responsibility on each sequence and software uses (if applicable) must be included.

Demo Reel Breakdown Guidelines

Example: "Segment 2: ‘The City'—animated the cars and people walking down the street; modeled the buildings and the cars; created the textures on the signs and the lighting. [State software used.]"

Video reel format must be one of the following: VHS, U—Matic (3/4 inch), NTSC, or PAL.

© Disney Enterprises. Inc. 1998 8/5/98
:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government

Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 09 September 2012 at 05:37 PM.
  09 September 2012
Recommended Course of Study for Students

Interested in Careers in Animation

The following describes skills Disney Feature Animation looks for in Artists, both Traditional and CGI. When looking for a college to attend, you may want to find one that has strong programs and classes in the following:


· Sequential Drawing - Drawing that tells a story in consecutive sequences
· Realistic, representational life drawing
· Anatomy
· Clothed-figure studies
· Quick studies ‘
· Head, hands and feet drawing
· Quick sketches of urban surroundings and landscapes.


(Not essential to obtaining an entry level position in Animation, although a plus if you have some experience)

· Squash and stretch
· Anticipation
· Follow through
· Overlapping action
· Pantomime
· Perspective
· Composition
· Stop Motion
· Claymation


· Illustration
· Painting
· Color theory
· Design
· Composition
· Perspective


(Not essential to obtaining an entry level position in Animation, although a plus if you have some experience)

· live action cinematography and film history
· Understanding film language
· Editing
· Sound

© Disney Enterprises. lnc. 1999 Tiffany Baht v. 1.1. 4/l/99


Acting and Improvisation

· Art history
· Animation history
· General history

In addition to the previously mentioned courses, students interested in CGI should consider a curriculum which included the following:


(Not essential in obtaining an entry level in Animation, although a plus if you have some experience)

· 2D computer tools (illusion, Matador, Amazon Paint, Fractal Painter, Photoshop, Composer)
· Solid understanding of 3D animation disciplines (Modeling, Animation, Lighting, Rendering)
· And high-end graphics packages (i.e Alias Power Animator, Maya, Softimage, Renderman)
· Traditional Sculpture/Models (Modelers)
· Photography (Lighting)
· Technical problem solving skills
· Programming in C/C++ and UNIX and high-end graphics packages (Technical Directors)(i.e Alieas Power Animator, Maya, Softimage, Renderman)
:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government

  09 September 2012
Rob Note:

ill post more pages soon. (Going to lunch)
NEXT I will scan
  • Advice for Students from WDA
  • Facts of the WDA pipeling of 1999

Walt Disney Feature Animation
Portfolio Requirements-and Guidelines for Traditional Applicants

Thank you for your interest in Walt Disney Feature Animation. We are interested in you and would like to have the opportunity to see your work.


· Visual Development artists are hired to visually explore a literary or musical property under consideration for and adaptable to animated films. These artists, working in the Disney Feature Animation Development Department, will experiment with the diverse elements of film presentation to manipulate dramatic-comic story moments (and plot thrust), moods, character conflict, place-time motifs, and possible stylizations for maximum emotional effect in communicating that story's theme. Qualifications include a rich imagination, a sense of caricature and design, a strong color sense, mastery of human and animal anatomy, ability to work in different media, and the versatility to conceptualize visually in a variety of techniques.
Children's book illustration can be a plus.

· Story Sketch (Story Board) artists have the ability to visualize a film script in a series of panels somewhat like a comic strip. Ability to quick skeck, a mastery of human and animal anatomy, a filmic sense, and a design—caricature ability are all necessary elements.

· - Layout artists are equivalent to that of the live-action film's Set Designer. However these artists stage every scene and camera set-up through drawings. Prerequisite talent includes a superior drawing ability, a mastery of human anatomy, perspective, pictorial composition, architectural rendering (pencil), and an understanding of the filmic vocabulary.

· Character animators are primarily creative draftsmen who must be able to express their
ideas clearly, forcibly, and quickly with a pencil—knowing thoroughly the skills of linear drawing. The beginner in this production area has mastered the mechanics of drawing animals and figures in action, and can caricature not only features, but actions, emotions, and situations. Prior training will have covered human and animal anatomy, perspective, composition, quick sketch, and figure drawing, and will have included solving problems in weight, balance, movement, space, construction, and proportion. Cartooning ability is not an important consideration for an artist interested in this field

· Clean-up artists refine the animators rough drawings into the final drawings actually seen in the finished film. The consistency of their work creates the illusion that one artist drew every scene in the film. The clean-up artist must be an excellent draftsman, demonstrating the ability to interpret the animators rough drawings and execute them (on model). Training should include extensive animal and figure drawing as well as the study of human and animal anatomy. An understanding of structure, composition, and perspective, is also essential.
· Effects artists use the study of and the ability to render natural and physical phenomena (rain, fire, water, etc.) to add the embellishments to the drawn character actions in each scene. Qualifications for beginning a career in this unique part of animated film production include all the requirements noted for Character Animation, with the addition of an inquisitive mind and a love of drawing the elements of nature.

© Disney Enterprises. Inc. 1998 Tiffany Bahr v. l.l, 5/2393

WDFA: Portfolio Requirements and Guidelines for Traditional Applicants,

page 2 ’

· Background artists take the drawings from _Layout artists and translate them into color through paint. While a love of painting (particularly in gouache and acrylic mediums) is a primary requirement, other important abilities must include: drawing ability, a strong color and design sense, and capability to adapt to different styles of painting.

· Color Stylists work in the Color Models Department, where all the elements of an animated scene come together for the first time in color. Using state-of-the-art computers and software, they work with the art director to establish the exact colors needed for each animation element. Then they fine tune the overall look and continuity of the film, integrating the animation elements with the mood and lighting of the background paintings. Artists need an excellent sense of color with a strong foundation in color theory, as well as attributes of accuracy and attention to detail. Color Stylists should provide projects, in color only, created in or outside the academic environment demonstrating knowledge in color and design. Indicate if any of the work has been created on the computer and, if so, what software was used.


· Enclose your resume.
· Write a cover letter identifying your specific discipline of interest (e.g., animator or background artist).
· Avoid including loose artwork.
· Send photocopies preferably rather than original artwork.
· Fix pastel, charcoal, and chalk drawings and mount them behind plastic.
· Identify each piece of artwork, as well as the portfolio case, videotape, slides, etc., with your name.
· Limit your portfolio to twenty-five pages total (a sketchbook or video reel counts as one page).
· Edit video reels (VHS, U-Matic [3/4], NTSC, or PAL) to no longer than four minutes. Include slates on the tape or a table of contents (breakdown) identifying your responsibility on each scene, i.e. animated the cat and the bear in The Chase: rough in betweened the water splashes in Duncan's Voyage at Sea.

Basic Portfolio Contents

· Several pages of current life drawing from live subjects.
· Sketchbooks (or mounted pages from sketchbooks) with gesture-style drawings of people and animals in motion.
· Head, drawings——both quick sketch and long poses.
· Some samples-reflecting color and design, sense.
· Some figurative drawings reflecting knowledge of lighting.
· Some work based on imagination.
· A few samples that display cartooning skills. Do not include copies or interpretations of Disney or other classic cartoon characters.
· No more than two or three samples of comic-strip, comic—book, or fantasy illustration.
· Do not include graphic, advertising, industrial, textile, or 3-D design; photography; or jewelry.

© Disney Enterprises, Inc. 1998 Tiffany Bah; v_ L1, 5/22/93

WDFA: Portfolio Requirements and Guidelines for Traditional Applicants,

page 3


In addition to the Basic Portfolio Contents,’ the following materials should also be included for specific positions.

· Visual Development artists should provide artwork that displays a sense of caricature imagination, color, and design; a selection of color sketches (any media) that dramatizes a story; and extensive samples of character concepts drawn from your design and imagination. Include various types: humans and animals, personalities, anthropomorphic objects, model sheets, characters in environments, etc.
· Story Sketch artists should supply one or two sets of storyboards (animation or live action); character designs and/or model sheets; and quick sketches showing lighting, dramatic setting, and staging sense.
· Layout artists should provide a selection of layout drawings demonstrating a strong sense of staging, design, lighting, and perspective. Include character drawings for the layouts, if possible; a selection of comic strip and/or comic book samples, if possible; and indicate if this work is from your own roughs or clean-ups from another artist's work.
· Character Animation artists should include a video reel of scenes you've animated and two or three animation "flips," if available.
· Clean-up artists should supply at least two sets of rough keys, along with clean-up drawings of same and other clean-up samples (please note if drawings are assistant, breakdown, or in-between work).
· Effects artists should provide drawings showing a variety of work and approaches to design; a résumé noting any optical or digital training you might have; and a video reel is suggested but, not required.
:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government

Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 09 September 2012 at 05:45 PM.
  09 September 2012
Interesting post. I haven't looked at the current requirements, but from seeing a few 'big studio' requirements I would say very little has changed.

The core requirement is still; Capable, creative, artist.*

* Technical roles, of course, require language / software specific skills which change.
I dabble...
  09 September 2012
Posted more:
Disney Advice for Students Considering a Career in Animation (From 1993)
:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
This message does not reflect the opinions of the US Government

  09 September 2012
I remember that document as well. Ah, the days of dreaming. LOL I remember a recruiter at Ringling explaining the requirements back in the late 80's. It took me 4 tries to get into Ringling School of Art and Design and when I finally got accepted, I turned it down so I wouldn't have a huge college debt. A small regret today, oh well.
  09 September 2012
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