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Michael Tsai


Looking for a position in production where I could utilize my artistic and technical skills for bringing a smooth pipeline within a Visual Effects or Animation studio


3D Autodesk Maya
2D Adobe Photoshop and After Effects
Camera Tracking Autodesk Matchmover, PF Tracks
Renderfarm client Thinkbox Deadline, Virtual Vertex Muster
Node Based Compositing Nuke, Shake
Scripting/Programming – Python, MEL, C, C++
Database – MySQL
Other UNIX, Shell Scripting, Mental Ray, Arnold renderer, Maya API


Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Entertainment Technology Center (ETC)

–       Master of Entertainment Technology  — 2012 Randy Pausch Award recipient                                                                         August 2010 – May 2012

Academy of Art University, San Francisco, CA

–       Graduate Study                                            Computer Arts – 3D Visual Effects                                                                January 2007 August 2008

–       Bachelor of Fine Arts                                    Computer Arts – 3D Visual Effects                                                                 September 2001 May 2006


Schell Games. Pittsburgh, PA July 2013 – Current
– Game Artist (Full time)
• Maintain and develop in-house Maya tools
• Create game assets for tablet games including 3D Modeling, Unwrapping and Character Animations
• Create game FX in Unity game engine

Whiskytree. San Rafael, CA October 2012 – February 2013
– Render wrangler (Contract)
• Quality checked rendered image sequences
• Managed and troubleshoot renderfarm with Thinkbox Deadline render client software
• Analyzed output and error logs with artists and developers to solve render issues

Old Navy LED wall media and Universal City Walk at Lightswitch. Sausalito, CA June 2011 – August 2011
– Artist (Internship)
• Created animations in After Effects for Old Navy San Francisco to use LED versa tubes wall display with weekly phone meetings
• On set with hippo critter engineer to discuss and modified for best display experience
• Worked on Universal CityWalk Lighting Show pre-visualization in After Effects

G-Force 3D at Sony Pictures Imageworks. Culver City, CA January 2009 – June 2009
– Technical Director, Associate (Contract)
• Converted finished film in 2D to stereoscopic format using Imageworks’ proprietary software and tools in Linux environment
• Utilized all compositing skills to fix all artifacts that was generated from 2D to 3D conversation
• Created digital double assets in Maya for team to use as placeholders

Red Cliff 2 and Disney TV commercial at The Orphanage. San Francisco, CA September 2008 – November 2008
– Matchmove Artist (Contract)
• Tracked footages in 3D tracking packages with PF Track and Matchmove, used Maya to work on set and fit to ensure the results
• Animated digital double objects in Maya to match scenes and footages
• Created Nuke scripts for compositors to pass the tracking results

Fantastic Four 2 at Giant Killer Robots. San Francisco, CA November 2006
– FX Technical Director (Contract)
• Used Maya fluid system to generate fire/flame simulations based on pre-viz footage
• Worked with compositor and rendered elements in different passes per compositor’s request
• Created looped flame simulations for other compositors to use in background elements


“CSI: CRIME SCENE INNOVATION” on Imagine magazine from John Hopkins University (Vol. 18 No. 5 | May/June 2011)
• Published an article with three graduate students from other schools about game-changing research and described the process of Project CSI: CRIME SCENE INNOVATION under “The New Media Explorers” section


Digital Dream Lab January 2012 – May 2012
Technical Coordinator
• Client based semester long project with Makeshop team of Children Museum at Pittsburgh to create an interactive table for children from 4 to 5 years old to learn programming
• Coordinated and setup hardware/software for team to develop product including website management
• Worked on most and in charge of all character animations in Maya
• Quality checked and debugged CG assets and animation between Maya and Unity game engine

Independent study courses – The Somnambulist short film project and UNIX study January 2012 – May 2012
Lead compositor/Render Wrangler/Pipeline Manager/Instructor
• Took two independent studies to gain experiences of teaching compositing, managing and maintain UNIX server with admin privilege and Renderfarm for film project independent study and for another animation project (Project Anihccam – at Entertainment Technology Center
• Taught compositing on Nuke and gave in depth talk of CG pipeline in film independent study course with new students who wants to work on live action compositing with materials from project Sturm Und Drang
• Worked and troubleshoot with everyone on this film independent study course to create more shots in modeling/effects/lighting/rendering/compositing
• Rebuilt and troubleshoot renderfarm including reinstall all CG software and render control software
• Worked with Project Anihccam to ensure renderfarm working properly and troubleshoot/debug with artists using Maya and Nuke
• Gave presentation of how to use and troubleshoot renderfarm to faculties at Entertainment Technology Center for internal project

Team Sturm Und Drang August 2011 – December 2011
Lead compositor/Pipeline Manager
• Semester long student pitched live action short film project
• Pulled green screen keys, matchmove, composite CG elements rendered from Maya into Nuke
• Managed and troubleshoot renderfarm with 24/7 maintenance using Muster render control software
• Experimented/demoed tracker-less motion capture system at ETC, and created a wiki page for future ETC students to use
• Worked with film director and director of photographer on set of live action shoots to ensure better post-production work experiences and coordinated equipments

Entertainment Technology Center of CMU, Pittsburgh, PA January 2011 – December 2011
Pipeline TA for Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) class
• Assisted professors to ensure smooth lectures including give talks and demos in class
• Coordinated and set up hardware with other TAs on different platforms including Microsoft Kinect, Playmotion Shadow Tracking Unit, Head Mounted Display System, Jam-O-Drum, Nintendo WiiMotes, Playstation Move and various prototypes hardware such as Phidgets for class presentation and playtest use
• Supported BVW class students by troubleshooting computer hardware/software issues including answer their help desk support emails and provide comments and directions
• Designed, coordinated and responsible for all show technology for both BVW Spring Festival 2011 and BVW Show 2011 in Fall

Project CSI: Crime Scene Innovation January 2011 – May 2011
Technical Artist
• Client based semester long project with College of Criminal Justice & Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven to build 3 mini games for kiosk display
• Designed in-game cinematic animations between scene to scene
• Modified digital assets for animating/lighting/rendering purposes
• Created particle and fluid fx in Maya and comp in Nuke