VFX and Animation - Professional animator working at this deck with a tablet and lots of character sketches

VFX & Animation

The word is out that Vancouver is the place to be for VFX & Animation

A competitive and stable tax credit program. A history of screen-based storytelling spanning fifty years. Even Vancouver’s time zone. For four decades, these factors played a key role in the success of Vancouver VFX & Animation industry’s high concentration of homegrown studios and experienced creatives.

From the world’s first CG TV series on ABC to a seemingly endless procession of major animated feature films and highly rated television series, Vancouver has grown through the decades to establish itself as a world-leading centre of VFX & animation talent and technology.

With more than 150 businesses comprising Vancouver’s visual effects and animation industry and an unmatched array of globally acclaimed training programs, the city is one of the world’s most significant clusters of domestic and foreign-owned studios. As such, it is a sought-after destination for creative professionals to pursue fulfilling animation and visual effects careers.

Thanks to this accumulation of talent, Vancouver continues its long track record of producing cutting-edge animated content ranging from award-winning shorts to internationally renowned series and feature films.

While known the world over for its work on features and series, professionals in the industry also regularly lend their talents to game cinematics, commercials, advertising firms, educational content, not-for-profits and other content creation services.

Why do VFX & Animation Studios Choose Vancouver?

  • Impressive and ever-increasing concentration of companies and talent, matched by first-rate infrastructure
  • Peerless concentration of highly ranked and globally recognized animation and visual effects programs
  • Collaborative and close-knit environment, naturally fostered by the city’s compact design
  • Proximity to major industry hubs in the US, including Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and Seattle
  • Business-friendly climate, tax incentives and outstanding quality of life

In Vancouver, over 60 studios make up the VFX and Animation industry, making it the world’s largest cluster of domestic and foreign-owned studios. The industry has a long track record of producing cutting edge animated content ranging from award-winning shorts to internationally renowned series and feature films.

Related subsectors and specializations:

  • 3D modelling
  • Asset creation
  • Compositing
  • Digital lighting
  • Environment creation
  • FX technical direction
  • 2D FX

Key Stats

Vancouver is a global destination to grow visual effects and animation careers

The industry is well-supported through diverse education and training programs for artists, software engineers, and other technical-related professionals, and many of them have strong alumni networks that provide instruction and mentorship to their alma maters. The Hollywood Reporter has consistently recognized Lost Boys School of Visual Effects, Think Tank Training Centre and the Vancouver Film School in its annual top 10 list of best training providers – the highest concentration of any jurisdiction.

Training and education programs:


Major Tax Incentives for VFX & Animation (not exhaustive)

Federal, provincial & municipal governments provide strong support & incentives to tech businesses operating in Vancouver

  • British Columbia Production Services Tax Credit
    Offers Canadian, or international film and TV production companies with a permanent establishment in BC, a 28% refundable tax credit on eligible labour costs.
  • Film Incentive BC Tax Credit
    A labour-based tax incentive offering a refundable tax credit of 35% to Canadian-controlled production companies.
  • Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit
    Offers a credit of 25% of qualified labour to Canadian-controlled production companies provided by the Government of Canada, with a credit of 16% of qualified labour costs to Canadian- controlled production companies and those with a permanent establishment in Canada.
  • BC Digital Animation or Visual Effects (DAVE)
    Provides a tax credit of 16% on qualifying labour costs to production companies employing BC talent for post-production and sound.
  • The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED)
    program, a federal tax incentive encouraging R&D in Canada. Qualifying non-Canadian companies can receive tax credits of 15% of qualified expenditures, while Canadian companies receive enhanced credits. Qualifying Canadian and non-Canadian corporations conducting R&D in BC can also benefit from a 10% provincial tax credit.
  • British Columbia Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit Taxable Canadian corporations with permanent establishments in British Columbia, in the business of developing interactive digital media products may be eligible for a refundable 17.5% tax credit on qualified labour costs.

Visual effects and animation careers provide steady and resilient employment to thousands of workers in the city of Vancouver

Trends in content consumption and animation spending by major streaming providers paint a very bright outlook for animation.
Total Spend of the BC Post-Production & Animation Industry 2012 to 2020

In recent years, many visual effects houses – particularly those with international footprints – have opened animation divisions to service the growing demand by streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.

The emerging trend of virtual sets – where cast and crew work against live animated backgrounds, rather than a green screen – could result in another source of work. Furthermore, it could mean a greener footprint for the film industry, with less travel or set models or production required.