Computer Graphics World

May / June 2015

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20 cgw m ay . j u n e 2 0 1 5 zone as Hollywood offers a lot of workflow advantages," says Lake. "The amount of pro- ductivity lost with even small differences in time adds up." A T T R A C T I N G T A L E N T VFX studios opening in Van- couver need to be assured of a deep pool of talent to maintain their facilities on a full-time basis and enable them to bulk up as projects demand. Historically, Vancouver has had a talent pool of Canadian animators working on televi- sion or direct-to-DVD content. "There was a nice solid base of animators, modelers, and CG specialists here," says Orloff. "Now, the talent base has exploded, and the last couple of years have seen an influx of compositors. We're at a tip- ping point with more Canadian artists who have at least five solid years of production expe- rience. And people are coming in from all over the world." Zoic's roster in Vancouver includes artists from "all over Asia, Israel, and other Middle Eastern countries, Central Europe, England, Australia, and New Zealand. They all want to come here, become Canadian residents, and build the indus- try," Orloff explains. Lake says that Imageworks has also been successful at attracting senior talent to Vancouver. "With our growth and more of our competitors in the marketplace, Vancouver has emerged as a hub of activity for the industry," he says. "Artists go there feeling safe that there are lots of opportunities in town. They're coming in from San Francisco, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe." FuseFX has hired locally but has been challenged to find talent that hasn't already been snagged by other companies, says Jacobsen. "The community has done a great job educat- ing talent and making training available to those who want to become VFX artists. But it's a process; it takes a while for a pool of talent to grow large enough to accommodate every body's needs," he says. "Having so many facilities in Vancouver doesn't scare us," says Iturriaga. "It means a lot of talent is there. Of all the cities we've considered expanding to, Vancouver has the biggest ben- efits in terms of experienced talent and talent coming out of the schools. Louisiana offers tax incentives, too, but New Orleans doesn't have the talent pool you find easily in Vancouver." The educational compo- nent is an important factor in building a thriving VFX industry. "We're putting time and energy into growing the talent base by partnering with local universi- ties — Simon Fraser University, Vancouver Film School, Emily Carr University of Art + Design — and offering internship pro- grams," says Lake. Orloff notes that Canada tightened some immigration regulations recently, which has created a short-term challenge with VFX hires. It's widely hoped this situation will improve, since keeping Canada open to the best talent the world has to of- fer "will create a vibrant industry for the long term," he states. Vancouver's chapter of the Visual Effects Society (VES) is "one of the most active and is growing in numbers," reports Iturriaga, a member of the VES Board of Directors. Once Hollywood was the ultimate destination for those in the industry. Today, they are fol- lowing their GPS northwest. ■ Christine Bunish ( is a veteran writer and editor for the film and video industry. STORY: STUDIOS CALLING VANCOUVER HOME GO TO EXTRAS IN THE MAY.JUNE 2015 ISSUE BOX C G W. C O M THE DIVERSE VANCOUVER LANDSCAPE CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR MANY INTERNATIONAL LOCATIONS. HERE IT SERVES AS A BACKGROUND FOR AN EPISODE OF ONCE UPON A TIME, WHOSE EFFECTS ARE HANDLED AT ZOIC, A LOCAL STUDIO. ©ABC Studios.

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