John Remmes, ’15


Dream work

Pixar Animation Studios and DreamWorks Animation are renowned for bringing to life such fantastic film dream worlds as Toy Story and Shrek. They rely on the artistic and technical talents of people like computer engineer John Remmes, ’15, to build the tools that bring those iconic stories to the screen.

Remmes’ interest in animation was sparked in high school when he watched the 2007 documentary The Pixar Story. “Everyone in the film was so passionate about what they did,” he says. “I thought, ‘I want to work in a place like that.’ When I rewatched the film in college, I realized, ‘I want to work there.’”

Richmond’s Integrated Quantitative Sciences class taught him an interdisciplinary approach to computer science that he applied in his subsequent work at NASA Langley Research Center and Mitre Corp. There, he created virtual reality simulations and mastered the C++ coding language used by animation studios. On the side, he created his own virtual reality arcade game called Legend of the Shieldbearers.

“It was incredible to see my name in the credits.”

When DreamWorks recruited him in 2022, he’d “been waiting a decade for that call,” Remmes says. He developed new features, fixed bugs, and optimized the code of the proprietary software used by the studio’s animation and rigging team.

In June 2023, Remmes celebrated his 30th birthday by attending the premiere of his first animated film, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken. “It was incredible to see my name in the credits,” he says.

Remmes now works in the Tools Characters department at Pixar’s headquarters. “I have a feeling of awe and appreciation every time I go into work at Pixar’s offices and get to talk with the artists and animators who’ve worked on these amazing films,” Remmes says. “I get more starstruck seeing them than if a celebrity walked by me.”