A render wrangler is a new position within the computer graphics industry.
Described as "the keeper of the render," a render wrangler is the last person
who sees the animation before its final output to film and video.
Rendering adds texture and depth to the original wireframe animation. It
makes the animation recognizable, like in the movies Antz and Finding Nemo.
Animation can be found just about anywhere -- from computer games to commercials
to the big screen. A render wrangler is the person that ensures the animation
is rendered properly. They could be described as a quality control person.
Render wranglers must also be able to solve technical problems quickly
and efficiently. They need to understand network maintenance. They have to
be familiar with advanced animation software and programming. They must be
able to untangle UNIX directory structures and debug files.
The computer graphics industry is booming. There is a demand for people
with both technical and creative skills. However, only large animation companies
tend to hire render wranglers. Smaller companies usually include a render
wrangler's duties with an animator's role.
Todd Peterson is an animator. He owns a small render farm and does this
work himself. However, he says he can see there being a growing demand for
this position in the larger animation companies.
For example, when Toy Story 2 was created, Peterson says there were 1,400
processors rendering the images. It took between 30 minutes and three days
per frame to do this. In this case, a render wrangler would be required.
Kandrix Foong is president of an entertainment company. Foong agrees that
a render wrangler will always be a large company position.
However, render wranglers have transferable technical skills. That means
they will be able to move into an area where there is a demand for their skills.
That's especially true if the render wrangler has a degree in computer science.
"There's a huge demand for technical people," says Foong. "Especially in
the United States."
The average workday varies. It depends on where a render wrangler works.
They usually work for larger animation companies. That means the positions
are full time and involve either day or evening shifts. In companies that
have large render farms, shifts may go right around the clock.
Travel is generally not required. But positions may be available worldwide.
Overtime is not usually required, except maybe when a deadline is close.
Render wranglers generally spend most of their day in front of a computer.
Little physical activity is required. This work may be well suited to those
with physical disabilities.