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Getting to know Susan Fong

Find out more about Susan Fong!

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] How did you get into computer graphics? - Hmm. - [Voiceover] What drew you? - 1995 Toy Story. (laughing) When I was in high school, I worked on yearbook staff, and yearbook staff was a very graphical, artistic endeavor; but I was also really good at math. When I went to college, I kinda discovered the magic of the union of the two: I could go to school, learn math, learn how to program, but create art the end of the day. When I first came to Pixar, I started as a rendering software engineer. That means I was actually writing the math of that rendering equation for a living. Over time, I moved out of software and into production, and I now am in charge of the entire rendering process from start to finish on a film, as well as all new technology needed for a film. So, my actual title is Global Technology and Rendering Supervisor. I think one of the biggest problems facing Pixar is the concept of scalability. Rendering keeps getting more expensive, more physically realistic, and the more expensive it is, the more computers we need to do the job. The more computers that there are to do the job, the harder we have making the entire system of computers work efficiently. That's really critical to having an affordable cost point for rendering a film. So I honestly think that one of the reasons I'm really good at math is because I'm diabetic. I've been a type 1 diabetic since I was five years old, and everything in diabetes is an equation: you eat 15 grams of carbs, and that equals one unit of insulin; and everything you do. I actually have a graph now, amazing technology, that shows me my blood sugar every five minutes. I can look for trends; I can correlate if this is how much I ate last time and this was the outcome, how might I change it next time? That kind of trending, of how would I fix the situation, actually extrapolates really well to a render farm: when you're trying to think about looking at patterns and trends on a farm, and trying to make decisions about how you might change it to change the outcome the next time around. So, kind of, diabetes set me up for this.