About a week ago, California-based VFX company Tippett Studios (they made Robocop!) laid off 40 percent of its workforce, according to the the company’s CEO and president Jules Roman.
More than 50 visual effects designers were let go, leaving a staff of 100 full-timers still working at the studio.
“We’re hibernating, figuring out a way to reinvent and scale down because there’s a lag in work obviously and there’s such upheaval in the visual effects industry, period,” Roman told THR.
“We’re not sure where it’s all going, but we think it’s probably going north,” she added, referring to recent losses to Canada-based effects houses, which lure Hollywood studios with enticing tax credits.
The move comes in the wake of the collapse of Rhythm & Hues, the effects studio behind Life of Pi, acquired by Prana Studios following a recent bankruptcy filing. It offers further evidence that the visual effects industry is going through economic turmoil.
Roman adds that if nothing changes, more layoffs will come to Tippett – a 30-year-old studio that got its start with stop-motion animation in films like the RoboCop trilogy.
And just recently following the closure of LucasArts, Reuters news service reported that Disney will begin a new round of layoffs within the next two weeks. Most of the cuts will come from the marketing and home video units, but layoffs in the animation department are also expected.
The staff reductions are the result of an internal audit that happened in late-2012 to identify positions that were redundant or no longer necessary thanks to technological advances.
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