What is the VFX and Animation industry?
Visual effects (VFX) describes imagery that’s created, manipulated or enhanced using computer-generated elements (think of blockbuster films and series like Game of Thrones, Star Wars, or Avengers: Endgame). Animation is where illustrated or rendered images are combined with motion.
Vancouver’s VFX and Animation sector is part of a dynamic creative economy that employs people across the country. Over the last decade, the industry has more than doubled in size with streaming services helping to drive further investment.
Why is the VFX and Animation industry important?
Visual effects and animation are key elements of telling an engaging story and have become integral to films and TV shows, video games, web series, ads and other mediums.
The industry has also proven itself remarkably resilient. During the COVID-19 pandemic, visual effects and animation companies were able to transition thousands of employees to remote working models practically overnight. While the industry saw significant disruption from fluctuations in global spending and filming hiatuses – particularly to visual effects projects – the spike in demand for fresh content helped to keep creatives employed.
Now, trends in content consumption and animation spending by major streaming providers paint a bright outlook for VFX and animation (see “Opportunities” below).
What are the opportunities in the VFX and Animation industry?
In Vancouver, there are over 150 VFX and Animation businesses, making it the world’s largest cluster of domestic and foreign-owned studios. The industry has a long track record of producing cutting-edge content ranging from award-winning shorts to internationally renowned series and feature films.
- Post-production and animation crossover. 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.
- Virtual sets / production. The emerging trend of virtual sets – where cast and crew work against live animated backgrounds, rather than a green screen – could lead to more jobs in the industry. It could also mean a greener footprint for the film industry, with less travel or set models or production required.
“Animation keeps pushing the boundaries of creative expression and finding critical and commercial success – just look at the performance of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The art form’s potential audience is expanding and that will open up even more opportunities.”
Jennifer Twiner McCarron, CEO, President and Director of Thunderbird Entertainment and Atomic Cartoons
VFX and Animation in Vancouver: A Place for Creatives
From the world’s first computer graphics TV series on ABC (Reboot) 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.
Today, Vancouver houses one of the world’s most significant clusters of domestic and foreign-owned studios, and home to an estimated 150+ VFX & post-production businesses. Notable among them is an array of highly regarded training programs with strong industry ties. As such, it is a sought-after destination for creative professionals to pursue fulfilling animation and visual effects careers.
While known the world over for their work on features and series, professionals in the industry also regularly lend their talents to video game cinematics, commercials, advertising firms, educational content, not-for-profits and other content creation services.