Clay Budin, Developer in New York, NY, United States
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Clay Budin

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Graphics Developer

New York, NY, United States
Toptal Member Since
June 2, 2021

Clay has over 20 years of experience creating amazing software at the highest performance standards, efficiency, and ease of use. With a master's degree in computer science, there is no programming task that Clay cannot accomplish, specializing in software for graphics, entertainment, interactive, and game industries. He's experienced with all graphics and game programming platforms and frameworks, as well as the underlying mathematics.


Unreal Engine, Cinder, Blender, Photoshop CC, 3D Graphics
Leo Villareal Studio
DMX, Networking, Unreal Engine, Raspberry Pi, TouchDesigner, Arduino...
Symbiote Inc | 3D Portraits Brooklyn
3D Printing, 3D Modeling, iOS, Augmented Reality (AR), Game Development...




Preferred Environment

Processing, TouchDesigner, Cinder, OpenFrameworks, Unreal Engine, Unity, Virtual Reality (VR), X Reality (XR), Mixed Reality (MR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), WebGL, iOS, Windows, MacOS, Linux, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, 3D Graphics

The most amazing... installation I've designed and developed enabled 30+ people to walk around while colorful halos appeared at their feet and followed their movements.

Work Experience

Senior Immersive Developer

2021 - PRESENT
  • Developed immersive interactive experiences using Unreal Engine, Unity, Cinder, TouchDesigner, Processing, Maya, Cinema4D, Blender, Houdini, Photoshop, Illustrator, Nuke, Gimp, and other graphic tools.
  • Wrote software to interface with various external hardware systems such as QR scanners and 3D cameras, coordinate file transfers, and trigger events in the graphic system.
  • Developed image processing software to recognize, isolate and enhance human facial features, normalize skin tones, and remove background artifacts.
  • Developed scripts in Python and VBS to automate the creation of digital portraits. Used Anaconda to spin up a machine learning system for facial and clothing segmentation of images.
Technologies: Unreal Engine, Cinder, Blender, Photoshop CC, 3D Graphics

Interactive Software Developer

2018 - PRESENT
Leo Villareal Studio
  • Maintained and developed interactive graphics software tools utilized in the creation of small- and large-scale LED art installations all over the world using C++, Python, and TouchDesigner.
  • Designed and developed complex software systems and user interfaces in TouchDesigner, Python, and C++ to control, trigger, and sequence dynamic art installations using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and other embedded systems.
  • Designed and developed software to support lighting communications protocols such as DMX, KiNET, sACN, and Art-Net.
Technologies: DMX, Networking, Unreal Engine, Raspberry Pi, TouchDesigner, Arduino, Touch Design, 3D Graphics

Founder and President

2012 - PRESENT
Symbiote Inc | 3D Portraits Brooklyn
  • Developed the custom photogrammetry processes for 3D scanning of people and automatically editing, cleaning up, and enclosing models in preparation for 3D printing.
  • Built the systems for creating lifelike 3D printed portraits in a variety of media and sizes using multiple 3D printing processes.
  • Performed iOS software development, specializing in games, augmented reality, and virtual reality. Recently posted an action and puzzle game called Dink! to the Apple App Store.
Technologies: 3D Printing, 3D Modeling, iOS, Augmented Reality (AR), Game Development, 3D Scanning, Photogrammetry, 3D Graphics

Senior Developer

2020 - 2021
Silver Spoon Animation
  • Contributed to developing a C++ plugin for Unreal Engine to control, manipulate, and trigger 3D geometry for BroadcastAR applications.
  • Developed a system in Unreal Engine with C++ and Blueprints to communicate with the American football statistics server and visualize scoring drive data with colorful animated arrows for broadcast during SuperBowl LV in February 2021.
  • Created a system in Unreal Engine (C++ and Blueprints) to position and trigger animated characters used during the March Madness college basketball tournament broadcast in March 2021.
Technologies: Unreal Engine, 3D Graphics

Interactive Graphics Software Developer

2018 - 2020
  • Created and developed interactive graphics applications on various platforms, including augmented reality applications for iOS and Android using Unity and Vuforia.
  • Engineered a large-scale interactive video installation for Marriott Hotels using projectors and Intel RealSense cameras to display lively real-time graphics that reacted to people passing by.
  • Built an augmented reality multilingual concept application for iOS and Android for the Turkish Museums Directorate to highlight and explain fragile antiquities in the collection.
Technologies: Unity, iOS, Cinder, Android, Augmented Reality (AR), 3D Graphics

Principal Engineer | Content

2017 - 2020
Madison Square Garden Company
  • Developed VR software in Unity to visualize architectural plans for an arena still under construction. Developed tests for line-of-sight, screen coverage, vantage point, and other quantifying metrics.
  • Designed and developed AR application for iPads using Unity and Objective-C to interface with a 360-degree camera and present live-streaming video into a 3D scene with extensive user-control features.
  • Tested and evaluated cutting-edge VR, AR, digital signage, wayfinding, motion capture, holographic and other technologies for inclusion in 21st-century state-of-the-art venue facilities.
Technologies: Unity, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), iOS, 3D Graphics

Creative Coder | Data Visualization

2016 - 2017
  • Designed and developed software tools using Processing for artists to create unique colorization effects of satellite climate temperature data, with user interfaces for artists to control numerous parameters, including colors, graphs, and animations.
  • Created the particle system visualizations of live world climate and wind pattern data containing over 800,000,000 particles for display on high-resolution monitors at the IBM corporate headquarters.
  • Built and designed wave simulation software to visualize live world climate rainfall data for the IBM corporate headquarters.
Technologies: Processing, Cinder, Java, C++, Data Visualization, DataViz, 3D Graphics

Interactive Software Developer

2016 - 2016
Potion Design
  • Built hardware and software for Raspberry Pi to playback various kinds of music while monitoring the user's heart rate. The system used sensor inputs (buttons, heart rate monitor) to control the audio output from the Raspberry Pi amp and speakers.
  • Designed and developed a touch table system for perusing recipes, assembling ingredients, viewing nutritional and caloric information with explanatory text, and extensive use of high-quality food photography to create a fully interactive experience.
  • Designed, 3D printed, and assembled self-contained cases for physical user experiences, such as monitoring heart rate data while playing various music.
Technologies: Cinder, Python, Raspberry Pi, 3D Printing, 3D Graphics

Interactive Software Developer

2016 - 2016
The Mill
  • Developed a system for displaying animated magazine covers in AR for iOS and Android, using Unity and Vuforia.
  • Designed and developed a fully-featured text animation and display system using Cinder with SdfText and Arduino to inject lyrics and display them under the real-time control of a live DJ.
  • Created a system for visualizing song moods as determined by the IBM Watson AI, using colors, textures, waves, and frequencies applied to abstract geometric shapes.
Technologies: Cinder, Arduino, Augmented Reality (AR), Unity, Android, iOS, Data Visualization, DataViz, 3D Graphics

Creative Coder - Interactive Developer

2010 - 2015
HUSH Studios
  • Developed an iOS app using Unity for Exxon Mobil's chemical division which interactively displays the chemical products used in automobiles. The app displayed an interactive "X-ray" view of a car in 3D and side menus displayed chemical components.
  • Developed a custom interactive display application in Cinder for Exxon Mobil demonstrating their offshore drilling operation in the Upper Zakum region. This app was part of their booth at ADIPEC and won 2nd place out off over 500 entries.
  • Developed a custom interactive display application in openFrameworks to visual sound waves bouncing around a room. This used real-time wave simulation to include interactive barriers, dampeners and refractors.
  • Developed a multi-touch kiosk using Cinderfor Twitter displayed at Cannes fim festival which featured real-time updates of World Cup statistics and twitter feeds.
  • Developed an immersive interactive environment for Oculus/Leap VR headsets using Unity which allowed users to visit 3D worlds and interact with whimsical creatures. Used input from Leap sensor to detect and interpret hand and finger movements.
Technologies: 3D Modeling, 3D Art, 3D Images, Cinder, C++, Python, Unity, iOS, Touch ID, OpenFrameworks, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Objective-C, Data Visualization, DataViz

Senior FX Technical Director

2003 - 2005
Blue Sky Studios
  • Created "Dominoes Sea" effect for 3D animated feature film "Robots" involving millions of dominoes which the principal characters swam in and surfed on.
  • Created "Oil Fountain" effect for 3D animated feature film "Robots" which appeared in numerous scenes to help convey the wealth and prestige of one of the main characters.
  • Created "Ball Bearings" effect for 3D animated feature film "Robots" in which thounsands of ball bearings spill out and 2 of the principal characters fight and then dance on.
  • Researched and developed fur effects for upcoming film productions using in-house volumetric rendering system. Wrote C++ code to extend and enhance the capabilities for use in feature animated film "Horton Hears a Who."
Technologies: 3D Modeling, 3D Art, 3D Images, Autodesk Maya, C++, Python

Museum of Feelings
Served as the lead developer from November 24th to December 15th of 2015 on the Museum of Feelings, a pop-up experiential installation in Lower Manhattan. Worked on an "invigorated" room in which colorful halos surround and track users and the "scent table" where animations responded to user movements.

Dink! the Game
An action and puzzle game developed in Swift and Objective-C for iOS devices, published on the Apple App Store. Combined real-time gameplay with physics simulations to create a unique and challenging experience for users.

Mother and Children
A 3D printed sculptural portraiture piece from a live scan of models that included extensive automated and manual editing and manipulation of the 3D model. Printed in ABS using the fused filament fabrication technique.

Temperature Visualization GUI
Developed and designed a tool for artists to apply unique colorizations to live world climate heat and temperature data gathered by satellites. Responded to the needs and requests from artists and designers to incorporate the controls they wanted to allow them to achieve their artistic goals of the project.

Precipitation Visualization
Designed and developed software to inject live satellite rainfall data from all over the world and visualize it in a way that is both beautiful and informative. Worked with creative directors to achieve their artistic goals.

Global Wind Visualization
Built and designed a particle system visualization of live satellite global wind pattern data using over 800,000,000 particles to create a one-minute animated movie of the Earth's wind patterns, including vortices, eddies, and other phenomena. Rendered an 8,000x2,000 image for display on high-resolution monitors at the IBM world corporate headquarters.

AR Magazine Covers for Garage Magazine

Created the iOS and Android applications that displayed lively and colorful animations when triggered with specific images from magazine covers. Distributed the apps to promote Garage fashion magazine and give it a cool techno vibe.

Alex da Kid and IBM Watson
To promote its Watson set of AI tools, IBM hired the DJ Alex da Kid to perform a live mixing of songs from the past decade, which Watson had analyzed for emotional content and temperament.

While working with a team to bring visual brilliance to the lyrics, I designed and developed a tool for displaying song lyrics in real-time as many interlocking streams, which changed size and speed dynamically to fit the tone of the music.

Innit Pirch Table
A demonstration system using a touch-sensitive table to guide users through the "home of the future." The demonstration system helps the busy user choose a recipe, assemble ingredients and learn nutritional and caloric information about the meal. I designed and developed this system in Cinder using text and high-quality food photography to be fully responsive to the user's touch.

The following link displays a larger image of the table surface:

Exxon Mobil Chemical iPad Application
At their shareholder meeting, Exxon Mobil wanted a cool toy to showcase its chemicals division. I designed and developed an iPad application that showed a car in regular and X-ray mode and identified numerous internal parts which used various Exxon chemicals. The app worked in full 3D with the ability to rotate around the car and zoom in on tiny details. There were two different menuing systems based on the type of chemicals and their uses in the car.

Illuminated River
The LED artist Leo Villareal has covered the bridges across the Thames river in London with LEDs that sequence and pulse to numerous visual rhythms. I wrote software that communicates between the generating PC and the LEDs and software to test and deploy the LED layouts on the bridges.

Robots – 3D Animated Feature Film
A feature-length 3D animated movie with a theatrical release. As part of the FX department, I created numerous visual effects for this movie, including a sea of dominoes in which the characters swam, a fountain made of oil, and a rolling floor of ball bearings with which the characters interacted. I also did software development for tools, fur generation, and other projects.


Processing, Python, C++, Java, HTML5, JavaScript, Swift, Objective-C, C


Unity, Microsoft Kinect, Unity2D, Unity3D, Unreal Engine, OpenFrameworks


DataViz, Photoshop CC, Canvas, Blender


Windows, MacOS, Linux, TouchDesigner, iOS, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, PlayCanvas, Android, Vuforia


Computer Vision, Graphics, Algorithms, Operating Systems, Programming, 3D Printing, Game Development, 3D Scanning, Photogrammetry, Data Visualization, 3D, 3D Art, 3D Graphics, X Reality (XR), Design, Aesthetics, Typography, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Interactive UI, 3D Modeling, DMX, Networking, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Mixed Reality (MR), Touch Design, Touch Interactions, 3D Images, Autodesk Maya, Touch ID


Cinder, WebGL, Three.js, D3.js, Node.js


UI Design, Data Science

1992 - 1996

Coursework in Design and Photography

School of Visual Arts - New York, USA

1988 - 1992

Master's Degree in Computer Science

New York University - New York, USA

1983 - 1987

Bachelor's Degree in Cognitive Science

Harvard College - Cambridge, USA