Welcome, Bruce Shutan My Account  |  Logout  

A VFX World of Difference
Bruce Shutan explores the workload and trends that are driving several prominent vfx studios around the world.

Quiet Man in New York specializes in commercial projects. Past work includes “Statue” for the MLB. © MLB. Courtesy of Quiet Man.
With new technology and swelling bandwidth connecting an increasingly global economy, the world of vfx is suddenly is much smaller. Boutique shops on every continent have unfurled shingles with the help of cheap labor, favorable exchange rates and growing acceptance of a virtual workplace.

Key trends include the convergence of Hollywood and Silicon Valley in the U.S. as reflected in videogame development, which has been exported to far-flung corners of the globe, such as Bangalore, India, where Paprikaas Animation Studios Inc. started a game division. Similarly, Framestore NY in New York has redeployed talent from its London-based parent studio across the pond so that feature-film production values shape more commercial campaigns — with vfx artists helming the crossroad of where Vine Street meets Madison Ave.

Efforts also are under way to supercharge workflow, with a new corporate culture emerging at R!OT and tweaks to the Zoic Studios infrastructure aimed at elevating creativity and productivity — moves that are largely driven by changing technology. Indeed, consider how Guava is ramping up for more work in the hi-def format or Sony Pictures Imageworks has augmented pipelines to accommodate the digitalization of filmmaking. Quiet Man also is making noise about a huge increase in rendering due to the spike in CG and 3D, while Mr. Wonderful has set its sights on data management.

Industry Snapshot
What sort of work are vfx houses doing these days? Enough common denominators can be found in both the U.S. and abroad to offer a clear snapshot of where the industry appears to be headed.

One leading player on American soil, L.A.-based Rhythm + Hues, has produced vfx and animation on more than 100 feature films in all genres (accounting for about 80% of annual revenues) and hundreds of commercial campaigns. Recent movie credits include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which proved to be the company’s largest and most challenging movie project to date, Superman Returns, Charlotte’s Web and Garfield 2. Commercial campaigns have been designed for corporate mainstays such as Target, Jack in the Box and Mercedes-Benz, as well as videogame makers EA Games and Activision.

Sony Pictures Imageworks in nearby Culver City, operates in four principal areas: vfx and digital character animation for live-action films that include Narnia, Superman Returns and the Spider-Man franchise; full-CG animation for Open Season and Surf’s Up; hybrid Imagemotion that enables live-action moviemaking techniques to be applied in the production of all-CG movies, such as The Polar Express, Monster House and Beowulf; and 3D stereoscopic conversion for The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience and Monster House.

Orphanage’s strengths include high-end vfx and animation services. The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D (left) and Sin City represent the San Francisco-based studio’s recent work. Courtesy of Dimension Films.

R!OT, a vfx, animation and post-production studio with locations in Santa Monica, California, New York and Atlanta, handles commercials, music videos, television and feature films. On the commercial side, the company provides mostly CG, compositing and visual effects production, as well as a mix of traditional post services and full HD capabilities. Feature film credits include Shark Boy & Lava Girl in 3-D, Empire, Peter Pan, T3 and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, with a reputation built around matte painting.

Quiet Man in New York specializes in commercials with sidelines in film and music video. The focus is on character animation and related facets involving high-level 3D compositing, which accounts for about 80% of the workload. Recent commercial projects include GE’s “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Statue,” MLB and the Partnership for a Drug Free America, while music videos were done for Ray Charles and The Beatles on “Free As a Bird.” The upcoming animated Barnyard rounds out work on the feature side.

     Page 1 2 3 4 Next >>   
0 Comment(s) Posted  |  Post Your Comments  


Feature Articles

Layer Cake Director to Helm Gaiman’s Stardust
October 26, 2005

Dimension Taps Ed Wood Writers for King’s 1408
October 26, 2005

27-Year-Old Robotics Ph.D. Options Robot Book
October 26, 2005

Top Cow’s Magdalena Spirits Feature Deal
October 26, 2005

Animated Feature Deadline Nov. 1 for 2005 Oscars
October 26, 2005

Download AWN's Special Animation Flash MIPCOM 2005 pdf formatted Newsletter!

  • Issue 1 - 09/27/05
  • Issue 2 - 10/5/05
  • Issue 3 - 10/13/05

  • T-Splines Review: Plugging into Maya for Better Results

    Fred Galpern tests T-Splines, the new modeling plug-in for Maya 7, and discovers a first iteration with great promise for handling difficult areas and speeding...

    Doom: Making a First Person Shooter Movie

    Alain Bielik chats with Framestore CFC and Double Negative about creating the character animation and environmental vfx, respectively, in Doom...

    The Digital Eye: Globalization

    In this month’s Digital Eye column, Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Jenny Fulle describes how globalization is enriching the VFX experience that filmmakers bring to their work...

    Digital Intermediate (DI): The Great Visual Enabler

    Is Digital Intermediate evolving from a post-production facilitator into a creative force of its own? Janet Hetherington chats with industry experts about how DI is...

    Converging on the eDIT 8. Filmmaker’s Festival

    Carolyn Giardina reports on DI, honoring Phil Tippett and other panels at the recently concluded eDIT 8. Filmmaker’s Festival in Frankfurt, Germany...
    © 2003 - 2005 AWN, Inc. | About Us | Contact Us | Terms Of Service