Assistant technical directors (ATDs) may perform a diverse series of technical support functions in order to ensure the smooth running of a visual effects project. They are responsible for:

  • supporting and troubleshooting the pipeline and workflow tools
  • providing technical assistance to people in creative departments
  • managing data and resources

ATDs utilise a variety of industry standard graphical applications, scripting languages and operating systems. They may support projects by gathering artist requirements, designing solutions and coding small-scale tools using established employer workflow requirements. They are expected to work well within a team and to be good communicators and problem solvers. Upon successful completion of their apprenticeship the individual could have a diverse career progression. Some may progress to become Pipeline Technical Directors, Software Developers, Riggers, Technical Directors or FX Artists. Some will eventually become Supervisors in their field. ATDs will typically be employed by a range of small to large post-production companies servicing the British and International Film, Television and Commercial industries. They will usually be based in an office environment working on television commercials, television series and feature films.

Assistant Technical Directors will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Initiative and a keen ability to problem-solve
  • Ability to communicate with colleagues and work as part of a team
  • Ability to take direction and willingness to address feedback, and to be self-critical of the quality of work produced
  • Ability to manage priorities and bring multiple tasks to completion within deadline
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail and a high level of accuracy
  • Enthusiasm to learn and develop professionally
  • Respect for the procedures or requirements of a particular studio, production or pipeline
  • Proactive attitude to research and access available resources
  • A high level of professionalism, good time keeping with a focus on the work

Full details of the Apprenticeship Standards for Assistant Technical Director (Visual Effects) positions can be found here: Institute for Apprenticeships

Entry requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria, but this is likely to include A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualification) in an ICT or moving picture related subject. Most candidates will also have English and Maths at level 2 on entry. Some employers may also ask for an online portfolio, coding examples or the completion of a timed assessment.


Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to the completion of their apprenticeship.


It is unlikely that individuals entering this apprenticeship without previous experience will complete the apprenticeship in less than 18 months, and a typical completion time is likely to be 24 months.