Pitof was born Jean-Christophe Comar on July 4, 1957 in Paris, France. From an early age, he harbored an interest in photography. As a teenager, he built a photography studio in the basement of his parents' house and landed a job as a photographer's assistant.
Pitof entered the film industry in 1976 as an assistant director and film editor. He branched out into visual effects in 1986 when he co-founded Duran Duboi, a successful post-production studio. He continued working as a visual effects supervisor and assistant director until 2001, when his directorial debut, the supernatural thriller film Vidocq was released. The film was notable for being the first motion picture to be shot using entirely digital cinematography. It was a commercial success despite receiving mixed reviews from film critics.