30. Rise FX
This studio began in 2007 with four VFX artists in a single room in Berlin. Since then they’ve grown to a dozen on staff with nearly a hundred freelancers from across the globe. Their projects each year include a balance of European productions as well as scenes for American films. In the past two years they’ve worked on wide release titles such as Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
29. Fuzzy Door Productions
This is Seth MacFarlane’s company, and it’s responsible for one of the most influential animated TV shows of all time: Family Guy, which has been on the air almost nonstop since 1999. Their animated spinoff show, The Cleveland Show, came to an end last year after four year seasons despite winning a few awards along the way, but their other show, American Dad!, has been running since 2005, making Fuzzy Door Productions one of the most influential names in the entire American animation industry. Next year they hope to launch another successful series when they begin airing the thirteen episodes for Bordertown.
Like most VFX studios, Whiskytree offers services in VFX for films, commercials, game cinematics, television series, and even concept art and print advertising. Each year they work on a few high profile projects and their recent highlights include Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and especially Elysium, which heavily relied on their extensive amount of work to pull off its most breathtaking graphics.
This relatively new Santa Monica studio was formed just over a decade ago in 2002. Since then they’ve worked with the Coen Brothers on four films and in 2012 they opened a studio in Melbourne, Australia. Last year they helped create Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, and GI Joe: Retaliation. This year you saw their work in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, and I, Frankenstein. Currently they’re working on Run All Night and Heart of the Sea.
26. Shade VFX
People sometimes make the mistake of thinking VFX shots are only in action packed films, when the reality is that just about every single film and TV show in existence uses VFX these days. Shade has contributed to family films, comedies, and action films of all sizes making them very versatile. Some of their recent big name projects include A Good Day to Die Hard, The Wolverine, Million Dollar Arm, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, 22 Jump Street, The Interview, Max Steel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and American Horror Story.
25. Scanline VFX
With studios in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Munich, this studio not only matches the quantity of projects that many famous competitors bring, but it also often makes a name for itself with its high quality productions and willingness to accept some of the hardest VFX scenes in the industry each year. They worked extensively on the larger than life destruction scenes in the film 2012 and collaborated with ILM on the advanced train crash sequence in Super 8. Their recent hits include Divergent, Captain America: The Winter Solider, 300: Rise of an Empire, Cloud Atlas, Man of Steel, Iron Man 3, and A Good Day to Die Hard.
24. Animal Logic
This Australian studio worked on The Matrix and Babe in the 90s and their high level of artistic quality and creative quantity hasn’t slowed down over the years since it was founded in 1991. With another location in California, Animal Logic has contributed VFX scenes to the recent films The Great Gatsby, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Warner Bros. Animation used them do all of the primary animations for the entirety of The Lego Movie, which earned almost half a billion dollars worldwide. They’re currently working on content for the films The Monk and Bone, and their work has been recognized with dozens of industry awards since its inception, including these accolades in recent years: 2013 AACTA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects, 2013 AEAF Award for Visual Effects, 2013 Creative Industries Award in the 51st Australian Export Awards, as well as the 2014 Inaugural NSW Creative Laureate.
23. Cartoon Network Studios
This studio began in 1994 as a division of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and quickly became a household name of its own. It continues to discover and work with some of the most influential shows and artists in the animation industry today, such as Adventure Time (created by Pendleton Ward), Clarence (created by Skyler Page), Uncle Grandpa (created by Peter Browngardt), Steven Universe (created by Rebecca Sugar), Mixels (created by John Fang and Dave Smith), Regular Show (created by J. G. Quintel), the highly anticipated Over the Garden Wall (created by Patrick McHale), and all the others I don’t have space to list.
22. Production I.G
You’ve seen their work in Kill Bill, and a few years ago I ranked them as one of the thirty most influential animation studios of all time. But what do you do when you’ve finished working on Psycho-Pass, which was hailed as one of the better anime series in recent years? If you’re Production I.G, you immediately unleash Attack on Titan on the world and watch it become the biggest global anime hits since The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series. While they weren’t busy basking in the joy of sitting like kings atop the entire anime industry with their Animage Anime Grand Prix Award win in 2013, they also found free time in the past two years to make Ghost in the Shell: Arise, and half a dozen television shows, and even worked with OLM, Inc. and their newly establish subsidiary company, Wit Studio, to release Pokemon Origins. Production I.G could take all of 2015 off and still be one of the most influential animation studios in the world on next year’s list.
21. Encore Hollywood
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you watch TV in America, then Encore Hollywood says “you’re welcome.” Their large volumes of VFX work on the largest ABC, Fox, and CBS primetime shows is inescapable, and whether it’s an episode-defining special effect on Under the Dome, or one of the hundreds of driving or metropolis scenes that’s filled with countless cars and people you never even realized were digitally added, Encore Hollywood is a studio that influences millions of American living rooms every single week in ways you often never notice. This is a studio that helps us play make believe on the couch for an hour while we watch our favorite TV shows each night. Visual Effects Society Awards? Emmy Awards? You name it, they’ve won it, including their occasional work on films, such as the Academy Award winning movie The Hurt Locker.