- Directors Guild of America
- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- The Academy of Televsion Arts and Sciences
- British Academy of film and Television
- Board of Directors at Otis College of Art and Design
- Advisory Board at Academy of Art University San Francisco
Starting his career in 1980, Rygiel joined Pacific Electric Pictures, one of the earliest companies to employ computer animation for the advertising and film markets. In 1983, Rygiel's work took him to Digital Productions where he began work on The Last Starfighter (1984). While at Digital Productions, Rygiel's commercial work was nominated for numerous awards, winning a prestigious CLIO award for the introduction of the Sony Walkman. From 1987 to 1989, Rygiel supervised numerous projects while at visual effects companies Pacific Data Images (PDI) and Metrolight.
In 1989 Rygiel was asked to form and head a computer animation department at Boss Film Studios. This department of one grew to over 75 animators and 100 support staff within a little more than a year, winning several awards. While at Boss, Rygiel supervised many feature films, both as Digital Effects Supervisor and Visual Effects Supervisor. His credits there include Starship Troopers, Species, Outbreak, Air Force One, The Scout, The Last Action Hero, Cliffhanger, Batman Returns, Alien III, and Ghost. After Boss Films closure Rygiel went on to supervise, The Parent Trap, Star Trek: Insurrection, Anna and the King, and 102 Dalmatians.
In 2002, Rygiel received the American Film Institute's first AFI Digital Effects Artist of the Year award, the Academy Award and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Visual Effects, for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Rygiel is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and The British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Visual Effects Supervision
2nd Unit Directing