Walt Disney Feature Animation

With close to 70 years of experience, Walt Disney Feature Animation doesn't need much help improving it's work process. But after completing "Dinosaur," their first CG animated film, it was clear something new was going to be needed.

Ron joined the software department of "Feature Animation" as the team was absorbing lessons learned from the Dinosaur production, and casting them into a new, smaller and more modular system to support digital workflow.

Put simply, the system moves digital assets from one department to another, in such a way that a database can keep track of which assets are ready, and what level of approval was given. The hard part, championed well by the team's leader, was keeping the system flexible enough to work with nearly all departments and their myriad types of digital data.

Ron's specific responsibility was designing and implementing a graph editor. The editor was used to draw workflow and list assets moving from one department to another. The editor was initially written in C++ and Motif, but then later rewritten to use the Qt User Interface toolkit. Outside of this there were a number of smaller tools written in Python.

Disney was one of the most impressive places I've ever worked. Foremost, this was due to the team of talented people with which I worked but also the sense of continuous history kept alive by the people who work there, the dedication that engendered, and the acknowledgement of a "Disney standard" which keeps the brand alive.