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Rob Skiena
Animation - Layout - Pipeline - Tools

  • Nearly 20 years of industry experience across large and small studios
  • Animation and Layout credits for film, television and games
  • Designer and developer of user-friendly production tools and scripts
  • Supervisory, Lead and Mentor experience in Animation and Layout
  • Product Designer for Maya 3D at Autodesk
  • US citizen with Canadian Permanent Resident status
  • Skills: Layout, Animation, Rigging, Previsualization, Pipelines, Tool Development
  • Software: Maya, Adobe Creative Suite, MEL, Python, Java, Linux, Shotgun


  • Veteran CG layout artist with feature film and television credits
  • Character animator with film, television and game credits
  • Self-starter with the ability to take direction and work collaboratively
  • Comfortable in both large studio environments and small shops
  • Developer of user-friendly production tools and scripts
  • Ability to simplify complex workflows and anticipate future needs
  • Supervisory, Lead and Mentor experience in Animation and Layout


Snowball Studios, Toronto, ON

Lead Layout Artist, 2017 - Present

  • Lead Layout artist and team supervisor
  • Fulfill the Director's vision through cinematography and character blocking
  • Perform sequence staging, character blocking and camera animation
  • Manage and mentor junior artists
  • Ensure on-time hand-off to downstream departments
  • Determine workflows and develop production tools

Arc Productions, Toronto, ON

Layout Artist, 2015 - 2016

  • Layout artist for film and television projects
  • Performed sequence staging, character blocking and camera animation
  • Developed and designed layout production tools, including previs artist toolset
  • Projects included: “Blazing Samurai”, “Elena of Avalor”, “Barbie: Starlight”, “Max Steel”

Autodesk Inc, Toronto, ON

Principal Product Designer: Maya, 2011 - 2015

  • Crafted user experiences for Maya, the leading solution for Animation, Games and Visual Effects
  • Designed both artist-facing features and foundation technology for production pipelines
  • Developed user-friendly bonus tools and scripts to accompany new features
  • Produced tutorials and reference materials regarding new features for customers and beta testers
  • Mentored and supervised interns working on in-house animation projects

Sony Picture Imageworks, Culver City, CA

Layout Artist, 2010

  • Rough Layout artist for the Aardman film "Arthur Christmas"
  • Performed sequence staging, character blocking and camera animation
  • Furnished animation, lighting, and effects blocking via layout
  • Developed animation systems and rigs
  • Authored departmental production tools
  • Inventor: “Asset Management During Production of Media”

Reel FX, Dallas, TX

Remote Layout Artist, 2009 - 2010

  • Rough Layout artist for "Looney Tunes" theatrical stereoscopic shorts
  • Performed sequence staging, character blocking and camera animation
  • Furnished animation, lighting, and effects blocking via layout

Plumber 3D, Portland, OR

UX Designer and Developer, 2009-2010

  • Designed and developed a completely GUI-based CG production pipeline for Maya using Python
  • Created documentation, video reference guides, sample projects files and user tutorials
  • Devised a simple turnkey implementation with hooks for customized client solutions
  • Authored and maintained the product website with Dreamweaver

LAIKA Animation, Portland, OR

Lead Layout Artist/Animator, 2006 – 2009

  • Layout artist for in-house projects and production sequences
  • Character animator for LAIKA House and Feature Film departments
  • Performed shot staging and set planning for complete sequences
  • Furnished animation, lighting, and effects blocking via layout
  • Authored and supported production tools, including complete previsualization pipeline
  • Liaison between Layout and Research and Development departments
  • Devised production workflows and refined departmental procedures
  • Created stereoscopic test sequence including layout, assets, tools and workflow

Dreamworks Feature Animation, Glendale, CA

Layout Artist, 2003 – 2005

  • Performed shot staging, character blocking and set planning in Rough Layout
  • Created custom animation and production tools using MEL script
  • Rigged RLO characters and devised tools for consistent animation controls
  • Worked closely with episode directors and Layout Supervisor
  • Provided set dressing and final cameras with proprietary software
  • Projects included Over the Hedge and Father of the Pride

T.J. and E. Productions, San Rafael, CA

Animator/Artist, 2000 – 2002

  • Performed layout, animation, lighting and editing for in-game movie sequences
  • Animated, rigged and modeled real-time characters for released X-Box title
  • Solved technical issues and created production tools in MEL

Tippett Studio, Berkeley, CA

Animator, 1998 - 1999

  • Animated creatures and effects for the feature film The Haunting
  • Rigged control systems as needed for assigned shots
  • Performed layout for in-house development projects

Dream Quest Images, Simi Valley, CA

Character Animator, 1997 - 1998

  • Animated lead character of Mighty Joe Young
  • Created previsualization animatics for Mighty Joe Young and Inspector Gadget

Mainframe Entertainment, Vancouver, BC

Senior Animator, Supervising Animator, 1996 - 1997

  • Supervised suite of eight animators, and animated assigned shots
  • Ensured timely delivery of completed episodes of Beastwars
  • Performed modeling, rigging, surfacing, effects and lighting for assigned shots
  • Weekly quota of 30 seconds of finished footage per week


Vancouver Film School, Vancouver, BC

3D Animation and Visual Effects Program

  • Recipient of Director's Letter of Recommendation
  • Student project awarded Second Place at BC Student Film Festival

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Bachelor of Arts in English

  • Received Random House Award for Oustanding Achievement in Literature
  • Counselor in English for the Dyslexic Center