Job Opportunity: Visualization Studio Production Engineer at CAS

The California Academy of Sciences is looking for an engineer who would like to join the science visualization team, to support their ongoing effort to create award-winning, immersive fulldome shows for Morrison Planetarium.  You will help design and maintain the hardware and software infrastructure of our in-house Visualization Studio to empower a small team of artists and science visualizers to create digital imagery at the highest quality and resolution, in a variety of display formats.  This job is an opportunity for a talented engineer to play an integral role in the creation of beautiful cutting-edge science content showcased in San Francisco and planetariums around the world.  The Visualization Studio Production Engineer reports to the Visual Effects Supervisor.

The California Academy of Sciences welcomes people of all backgrounds, identities and beliefs to join us in achieving our mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth.  We place diversity, equity, and inclusion at the heart of our recruiting efforts and strive to build a culture centered on mutual respect, equal treatment, and the opportunity to succeed.

Essential Duties and Responsabilities

  • Maintain and architect 24/7 reliable network, storage and renderfarm infrastructure with high resource demands for daily turnaround of high-resolution image sequences generated from large 3d models, animations, textures and scientific datasets
  • Collaborate with visualization team to develop visual effects and editorial pipeline tools to improve efficiency, identifying processes that can be automated to streamline the workflow
  • Install and maintain visual effects software, operating system environments and licence management services
  • Provide hardware and software technical support to artists' workstations in Linux and Mac environments, empowering their efficient use of a wide array of tools
  • Maintain, engineer and operate the planetarium dailies playback system
  • Facilitate long-term design, planning and budgeting of future hardware and software infrastructure
  • Build and maintain strong win-win relationships with computer hardware and software vendors
  • Create disaster recovery, backup and archive strategy
  • Install/de-install equipment and generate/maintain documentation of systems
  • Cross-train with Experience Engineering staff to provide support and coverage for planetarium systems including nights, weekends and holidays as needed


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.

Education and/or Experience

A qualified candidate will possess a combination of the following education and/or equivalent experience:

  • Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Engineering or equivalent experience
  • 3-5 years working in visual effects, real-time graphics, science visualization or similar audio/visual production environment

Knowledge, skills and abilities

  • Linux/Mac systems administration with RHEL7/CentOS 7 and macOS server
  • Data server administration. Panasus or Avere is a bonus
  • TCP/IP networking, configuring ethernet and fiber switches. Ability to troubleshoot network issues and implement security protocols with guidance from IT department
  • Strong programming skills and use of software engineering best practices in a Unix based Enterprise environment. Experience with scripting languages like bash, Python, Perl, or high-level languages such as C, C++
  • Experience with visual effects software such as Houdini, Blender, Clarisse, Nuke, Maya, AdobeCC and good understanding of 3D and 2D computer graphics and visual effects workflows
  • Strong knowledge of render server, 3D and editorial workstation architecture, custom CentOS and Mac operating system image testing and deployment
  • Renderfarm and job management software experience, such as PipelineFX Qube or similar preferred
  • Virtual environments and virtual machines experience preferred
  • Cloud computing and storage experience a bonus
  • Works well within a team, tracks/shares progress proactively and on a regular basis
  • Is a self-starter with strong problem-solving abilities, works systematically and with care, has a high attention to detail, excellent communication skills and a sense of humour

Read the full job posting and apply here.

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