After graduating from Burnaby North secondary, Rayani studied computer science at Simon Fraser University but later transferred to Emily Carr University of Art + Design to get his bachelor of fine arts.
Then, he said, there was no formal training in Vancouver to pursue the field he wanted to be in.
But, in 1995, he saw the vision of his career unfold before his eyes when he watched the animated movie Toy Story. “I knew right away that this was doing the sorts of things that I loved to do,” he said.
Rayani worked around the world in the industry and, less than decade later, he was a still photographer on a short drama called Yellow Bird and the visual effects technical director for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (both released in 2005).
That got the ball rolling for the lighting wizard who, in subsequent years, was involved in visual effects for The Wild, Superman Returns, Happy Feet, The Golden Compass, The Incredible Hulk and Aliens in the Attic.
Five years ago, Rayani landed his dream job as lighting technical director with Pixar Animation Studios, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company. He was part of lighting Up, Toy Story 3, Mater’s Tall Tales, Cars 2, La Luna and Brave.
And last month, Rayani saw the release of the short The Blue Umbrella that preceded the mega-hit Monsters University. For both films, Rayani helped to introduce a new technology for Pixar called Global Illumination, which for The Blue Umbrella gave it a “magic” photo-realistic look and, with Monsters U., provided a more stylized visual.