NBC Universal Figure Animation Programmer (Animatronics / Robotics) in Orlando, Florida

Figure Animation Programmer (Animatronics / Robotics)

Universal Creative – Engineering


Universal Creative is the planning and development division of Universal Parks and Resorts™, which is one of the many businesses within NBCUniversal™. We are ideally situated in Orlando, Florida, which has become widely known as the theme park and resort capital of the world. We are responsible for the design, development, and delivery of all resort and theme park concepts for all of Universal vacation destinations worldwide – Universal Orlando Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Singapore, as well as a new destination coming in Beijing, China. Join us if you want to collaborate, innovate, develop, and deliver the most compelling entertainment experiences imaginable that drive growth for the Universal brand around the world.

What sets Universal Creative apart?

We rarely wear suits. We think pop culture is fascinating and newsworthy. We are aware that possibilities are not limited by today’s realities. We know that everyone has good ideas (and the occasional bad one as well). We know that the world is large and varied, and that we touch all of it. We know that most high school guidance counselors don’t know our jobs exist. We know that if this were easy, everyone would be doing it. We know that there is an eclectic assortment of talented people from various professional backgrounds at the heart of Universal Creative. In addition, we embrace the power of cultural diversity and inclusion and continuously strive to maintain a team that is a reflection of our global audience. We are a diverse group, but united by a common goal: to dream and deliver the best possible out-of-home entertainment for people from every walk of life. In order to make that happen, Universal Creative relies on collaboration, hard work, synchronicity, a bit of luck, and a bunch of talented, experienced people who do not let ego and turf stand in the way of brilliance. We depend on a team of people who understand the task, the business implications, and refuse to be defeated by the challenge to fuse fantasy with physics. Universal Creative embraces ‘The Universal Way’ by not just meeting guest expectations, but exceeding them, every time.

JOB SUMMARY : The FA Animator is responsible for conceiving, developing, 3D modeling, animating, and in-field show programming Figure Animation and other programmable show elements within Universal attractions, working in close collaboration with the Attraction Designer, Show Producer, Creative Director, Project Engineers, 3rd party FA/AP/SAE vendors and Media team (including but not limited to the Media Producer, Media Director and 3rd party media vendors). The Figure Animation Programmer works within a 3D digital pipeline throughout all stages of development to coordinate and precisely synchronize the mechanical movements of animated figures with the ride system and other show elements to maintain the illusion of life and ensure the technical execution of the final deliverable meets or exceeds the original creative intent.


  • Collaborates closely with attraction design team, 3rd party FA/AP/SAE vendors, media design team, 3rd party media vendors and project engineers to conceive, develop, direct and model figure animation integrated with ride system/media and/or other attraction elements. Works closely with Universal Creative Engineering & Safety to leverage emerging technologies in figure animation, media delivery, ride systems, show action equipment, control strategies and special effects to enhance potential guest experiences and expand strategic Universal Parks & resorts systems I.P.

  • Collaborates with the FA design team to direct the pre-production, production and post-production efforts of the 3rd party FA/AP/SAE vendor(s) to ensure media design and production efforts meet the physical (mechanical) parameters of figure performance and attraction’s design intent

  • Collaborates with the media design team to direct the pre-production, production and post-production efforts of the 3rd party media vendor(s) to ensure media design and production efforts meet the physical (mechanical) parameters of the ride system/motion base and attraction’s design intent

  • Responsible for programming figure, AP and SAE motion profiles that ensures accurate synchronization with the media’s visual message, ride programming and design intent.

  • Orchestrates, manages, and tracks the 3D simulation process and the use of simulation data in driving important business decisions, including but not limited to design intent, performance expectations and guest and team member safety. Participates in development and use of simulation and analysis tools designed to assist this process.

  • Responsible to support ride programming as needed, including studying the visual and mental cues of the ride media, and interpreting same to move the motion platform in synchronization with the film by programming the platform movements with a computer keyboard or joystick

  • Collaborates with Universal Creative Engineering & Safety team to capture biometric data necessary to test and ensure safe and enjoyable FA performance and safe working conditions for team members. Ensures, with Engineering, the compliance of Health and Safety guidelines to ensure physical parameters of the ride fall within established safety standards.

SCOPE: Responsible for collaborating on the design, production and installation of figure animation (FA/AP/SAE) specifically, and ride/show systems generally.


  • Strong character animation skills, including an intuitive grasp of spatial and temporal relationships as they pertain to animal/human motion and expression, along with a strong sense of theatrical presentation and show timing.

  • Ability to work well in a collaborative team environment that includes a wide variety of aesthetic, technical and project management disciplines.

  • Strong creative and technical skills in story direction and competency in all other areas of 3D including modeling, texturing, lighting, figure animation and rendering

  • Strong character concept skills, including life drawing, storyboarding, concept sketching and similar visual development of Figure Animation concepts for team communication during Blue-sky and Concept phases.

  • Working knowledge of show playback systems used by Universal for Figure Animation and other show elements.

  • A willingness to learn standard simulator techniques and confusion thresholds in human motor control, aural and optical centers, as well as knowledge of typical kinetosis boundaries

  • Proficiency using Maya as a primary animation tool; Willingness to develop working knowledge of 3D Max, AutoCad and other computer modeling software

  • Knowledge of new technologies, authoring environments, prototyping and user interface design is preferred

  • Proficiency in using Adobe products: Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, Flash & AfterEffects

  • Ability to design visuals and motion graphics for multimedia programs.

EDUCATION: High school degree or GED is required. Bachelor’s degree: Character Animation or related field is preferred.


  • Minimum 5-7 years regularly using Maya for character animation

  • 3-5 years’ experience with show programming tools – waveform animation tools similar to those used in computer animation or MIDI music editors. (The waveform/graph editor is used to shape the motion of the ride – each axis has its own wave/graph to be adjusted, and they all have to blend together to create a unified performance)

  • Must have experience with show playback systems and their typical programming interfaces.

  • Strong proven experience in animation and motion design (software, web, television and film), within a collaborative environment required.

  • Experience in designing and executing interactive media for web, LMS, and DVD delivery.

  • Proficiency in using Adobe products: Photoshop, Premiere, Illustrator, Flash & AfterEffects

  • Ability to design visuals and motion graphics for multimedia programs.

  • Or equivalent combination of education and experience.

Your talent, skills and experience will be rewarded with a competitive compensation package.

Universal is not accepting unsolicited assistance from search firms for this employment opportunity. All resumes submitted by search firms to any employee at Universal Parks & Resorts via-email, the Internet or in any form and/or method without a valid written Statement of Work in place for this position from Universal Parks & Resorts HR/Recruitment will be deemed the sole property of Universal Parks & Resorts. No fee will be paid in the event the candidate is hired by Universal Parks & Resorts as a result of the referral or through other means.


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