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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Render Wrangler - Career Profile

Written by Michelle BurtonJanuary 9, 2015
Render Wrangler
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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What does a Render Wrangler do? Where does a Render Wrangler work? ACR takes a look:

About Render Wranglers

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Render wranglers, also called “technical resource administrators” (TRA), are accustomed to high pressure environments. This highly detailed job might require the wrangler to monitor and control the rendering process and monitor a few computers or an entire render farm of hundreds of machines. Render wranglers monitor the computers to ensure (input/output) of data across various file systems and initiate data moves to allocate disk space. Render wranglers communicate with animators, producers, supervisors, resource managers, coordinators, and other artists across various departments.

Render Wrangler Jobs

When artists submit completed data for rendering, the render wrangler prioritizes work and allocates machines. They monitor the computers around the clock to make sure there are no technical or computer problems that could hinder successful output. According to Skillset Animation, rendering can be required in the planning stages and throughout production, including development and tests for models, animation, effects, lighting, etc. Although Animators usually check their own work in progress, animation may need to be rendered to view subtle movements such as facial expressions. Render wranglers work with compositors about the delivery of final rendered CG (computer graphic) elements.

Render wranglers work for animation studios, motion picture and video production studios, and gaming companies.

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Render Wrangler Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary information for render wranglers, but the following salaries for computer support specialists should give you a good idea of the earning potential of these professionals. Computer support specialists average $48,900 per year or $23.51 per hour. The highest earners average around $81,190 per year and the lowest average $28,980 per year.

Individual salaries will vary based on education and experience, benefits, type and size of company, geographic location and more. For example, the top paying states for the broad career group “computer and mathematical occupations” are Washington, California, Virginia, District of Columbia, and Maryland. 

Becoming a Render Wrangler

In today’s extremely competitive job market, a degree is almost always required by employers—even for many entry-level positions. Common degree paths for aspiring render wranglers include computer animation, computer science or an art-related degree with an animation or CGI (computer-generated imagery) focus. Render wranglers must have a high degree of computer literacy and advanced knowledge of 3D packages such as 3ds Max or Maya.

Linux, shell scripting, and basic administration skills are important as well as writing, organizational skills and the ability to work well with a group. Because render wranglers are often asked to work the night shift, the ability work alone and solve problems is a must. 

Job Trends for Render Wranglers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report employment growth for render wranglers, so let’s take a look at the outlook for computer support specialists. According to the Bureau, employment of computer support specialists is projected to grow 17 percent for the 2012-2022 decade. This is faster than average for all occupations. The Bureau says, “more support services will be needed as organizations upgrade their computer equipment and software.” Projected growth for the multimedia and animation and game design (software development) industries are six and 22 percent, respectively.

Awesome Animation Fact: The following task may not require the same level of concentration as monitoring an entire render farm, but it's definitely darn interesting! Pick up a pile of Pixar movies and watch them over a relaxing weekend. Did you spot the Pizza Planet truck? If not, you’re not watching close enough because this clunky delivery truck appears in just about every Pixar film. Bonus: The Pizza Planet truck made its debut in Toy Story back in 1995.