Alumni and Donors

VFX/Animation Pipeline Technical Director Satish Goda M.S. ’05 Brings Stories to Life

Satish Goda M.S. ’05 may hold a degree in computer science, but he is an artist, programmer and innovator at heart. With 16 years in the visual effects (VFX) and animation industries, Goda has collaborated with storytellers, artists and technologists to bring stories to screens worldwide.

Animated films invite viewers to suspend a sense of reality, for the pleasure of losing themselves in a world of another’s imagination. For the professionals behind the scenes, animation entails building a bridge between the idea of a story and its audience.

Satish Goda M.S. ’05 is one such bridge builder. Goda, both an artist and technology innovator, has served as a technical director on animated films including the 2020 Oscar-nominated Over the Moon by Glen Keane and Academy Award-winning live-action/VFX films such as The Golden Compass and Life of Pi.

Integrating two disparate disciplines comes naturally to Goda. “My father, Dr. G.B.R.K. Sastry, was an economics professor, as well as a theater artist for over 50 years,” he explains.

Satish Goda poses with family

While studying mechatronics at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Technology in Hyderabad, Goda learned about computer graphics, virtual reality and CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and manufacturing) and became captivated. “I was fascinated by the ability to bring images to life,” he says.

Goda wanted to travel to the U.S. to earn a master’s degree in computer science. One of his undergraduate professors suggested Stevens, and when Goda heard that a visiting Stevens professor was teaching a class at his college, he enrolled. “I enjoyed the class very much. I researched Stevens and was impressed with the location and the university’s emphasis on innovation.”

“The classes were challenging and taught by professors who were active in industry,” he says. “I was building a solid foundation in software architecture and design, learning how to create structures that could be changed later. It gave me confidence to tackle any problems that came my way. I am grateful to Professors Satya, Vesonder and Kamberov for their support and guidance over the years.”

Goda joined the Visualization Lab as a research assistant in 2003. “I started working with an undergraduate senior design project team,” he says. “One summer, I also worked with another undergraduate researcher, Andrew Corrigan, and trained him and his friends to use Blender 3D software to create a game for the Game Boy Advance device. In the process, I developed my collaboration skills and as the team was quite diverse, I learned about diverse cultures. It was an unbelievably valuable experience.”

After completing his Stevens degree, Goda launched his career with the visual effects company Rhythm and Hues Studios, first as a junior pipeline programmer and later as a junior software engineer. His next professional stop was Pearl Studio in Shanghai, where he rose from lead technical director/pipeline software engineer to show technical director for The Monkey King, released in August 2023. In 2020, Goda joined Netflix as a pipeline technical director, where he is currently working on the animated films Ultraman: Rising (2024) and The Twits (2025).

“It takes a village to make a film,” Goda says. “As a technical artist, programmer and designer, I collaborate with other artists to create efficient tools and seamless workflows and, ultimately, an animated film that is entertaining and has meaning for audiences of all ages.”

“Every show is different,” he continues. “I am always innovating, trying emerging technologies and fitting them into the production workflow. Lately I have been working with a virtual reality tool called Gravity Sketch, assessing its potential for helping visual development artists build story worlds in virtual reality (VR). VR and AR (augmented reality) are gaining momentum in my field. One can now use a mobile phone or tablet as a virtual camera and control a camera in 3D creation software like Blender and Maya.”

Goda enjoys sharing knowledge as much as gaining it. He serves on the board of Digital Pipeline Development, Inc., the organization behind The Pipeline Conference, an annual gathering of professionals spanning the production process. He was co-chair of the 2022 conference. In 2020, Goda conducted a Blender 3D workshop for the School of Visual Arts in New York City and is currently advising one of its students with her project involving Blender. He has also conducted workshops and advised students at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and Shanghai Tech, Shanghai.

Living and working on the West Coast means fewer visits to Hoboken, but Goda keeps in touch with the senior design team he worked with in the Visualization Lab. He was happy to learn that one of the team’s members, Eugene Yokota ’03 M.S. ’06, recently joined Netflix.

Looking back on his education and career to date, Goda appreciates the challenging and rigorous coursework he undertook at Stevens. “Taking the most difficult classes in theory and practical application helps you to really understand the conceptual foundations of your discipline,” he says. “Stevens also gives you ample opportunities to work collaboratively in teams and to get to know people from other cultures. All these things help you succeed in industry.”