Comparison between CG/VFX Studios

I wanted to compare the most famous CG and VFX studios in the world and see each ones advantages and disadvantages. Started doing some research then wanted to turn it into a blog post so that everyone can take a look and maybe add their own ideas. Plus, thought maybe I can update it from time to time to always have an up to date comparisons page.

This post demonstrates the collective data of a total of 26 VFX houses from all around the world. The data that I used is from Glassdoor.com. The pros/cons and star ratings again are all from Glassdoor.com and are not my personal opinions. The star ratings and review numbers change constantly, I gathered the data between December 2021 and January 2022 and right before posting revised them accordingly, but when you are reading it they might have changed. Also keep in mind that the pros and cons comments might not be applicable for everyone, opinions differ from person to person. In addition, consider that some low star reviews might be given by someone that had a bad day at the office and that person might have hit 1 star with sudden rage. Or vice versa, someone might hit 5 stars because they got a raise that day. Plus, the reviews are a bit prone to time, what I mean is a company may have a low rating because maybe 5 or 10 years ago the pipeline was horrible and a lot of people gave low ratings. If a lot of people gave a low rating and wrote this as a con, but the company recently improved its pipeline what is written might not be correct in the short term.

I tried to add as many VFX studios as possible, if there are any I missed write it in the comments and I can add them. I didn’t add game development companies, small studios that is not widely heard and companies that had less than 60 reviews. I put the 60 review threshold because in my opinion below that number didn’t really give an objective average opinion so the values were statistically insignificant.

Companies

Framestore 4.2 ⭐ — 362 reviews — HQ = London, UK
✅ Great people, great environment, support for development
❌ Long hours, outdated tools

Walt Disney Animation Studios 3.9 ⭐ — 104 reviews — HQ = Burbank, CA
✅ A lot of perks, rewarding
❌ Long hours, terrible crunch time

M P C 3.7 ⭐ — 792 reviews — HQ = London, UK
✅ Great people, good projects, good pipeline
❌ Long hours close to deadlines, low salary

Animal Logic 4.7 ⭐ — 98 reviews — HQ = Moore Park, Australia
✅ Great people, great works, great food, coffee, breakfast
❌ Confusing pipeline, very short contracts

Zoic 4.2 ⭐— 93 reviews — HQ = Culver City, CA
✅ Supports work from home, free food
❌ Short timelines, inefficient pipeline

ILM 3.9 ⭐— 221 reviews — HQ = San Francisco, CA
✅ Talented artists, good projects, good benefits
❌ Bad pipeline, lots of overtime

Fuse FX 3.7 ⭐— 79 reviews — HQ = Los Angeles, CA
✅ Great people, good environment
❌ Long hours but OT (overtime) is paid

Pixomondo 3.7 ⭐ — 113 reviews — HQ = Los Angeles, CA
✅ Great people, interesting projects, great pay
❌ No benefits, not caring much about employees

Digital Domain 3.5 ⭐— 167 reviews — HQ = Los Angeles, CA
✅ Good people, fun shows
❌ Broken pipeline, bad inter department communications

Reel FX 3.6 ⭐— 140 reviews — HQ = Dallas, TX
✅ Positive work environment, good teams
❌ Old pipeline, bad upper management

Method Studios 3.7 ⭐— 215 reviews — HQ = Santa Monica, CA
✅ Atmosphere, people, environment all good
❌ Long hours, work-life balance is bad

Dreamworks Animation 4.2 ⭐— 614 reviews — HQ = Glendale, CA
✅ Free food, beautiful campus
❌ Low pay, movies not that great

Sony Pictures Entertainment 4.1 ⭐— 1009 reviews — HQ = Culver City, CA
✅ Good people, great benefits
❌ No room for growth

Nickelodeon Animation Studios 4.4 ⭐— 70 reviews — HQ = Burbank, CA
✅ Good work environment
❌ Long hours

Rooster Teeth Productions 3.5 ⭐— 98 reviews — HQ = Austin, TX
✅ Free lunch, great people
❌ Bad working environment

Image Works 3.9 ⭐— 251 reviews — HQ = Culver City, CA
✅ Good pay, great people
❌ Old pipeline

Luma Pictures 3.5 ⭐— 92 reviews — HQ = Santa Monica, CA
✅ Great projects, free snacks
❌ Low pay, no career advancement

The Mill 3.3 ⭐— 218 reviews — HQ = New York, 061
✅ Good work environment, free food
❌ Long hours, declined after Technicolor acquisition

Scanline VFX 2.8 ⭐— 87 reviews — HQ = Vancouver, Canada
✅ Great projects, great people, good pay
❌ Lack of community, micromanagement, Vancouver gets hero shots

Weta Digital 3.8 ⭐— 185 reviews — HQ = Wellington, New Zealand
✅ Wellington is a great city, good pay
❌ Long hours, rent in Wellington is expensive

DNEG 3.8 ⭐— 589 reviews — HQ = London, UK
✅ Good projects, great people, teamwork
❌ Complicated pipeline

Mr. X 3.4 ⭐ — 221 reviews — HQ = Toronto, Canada
✅ Good projects, helpful people, benefits
❌ Very long hours, pipeline could be improved

Cinesite 4.2 ⭐ — 160 reviews — HQ = London, UK
✅ Good work/life balance, positive work environment
❌ Based in a basement, low budget projects

Rodeo FX 3.5 ⭐ — 93 reviews — HQ = Montreal, Canada
✅ Cool and interesting projects, nice work environment
❌ A lot of overtime

Spin VFX 3.3 ⭐ — 75 reviews — HQ = Toronto, Canada
✅ Paid overtime, cool projects
❌ Low salary, long hours

Pixar Animation Studios 4.1 ⭐ — 250 reviews — HQ = Emeryville, CA
✅ Great people, beautiful campus
❌ Low pay

Companies that are known widely (at least for me) and has less than 60 ratings= Axis, Milk VFX, Rise, Rising Sun Pictures, Trixter, CoSA VFX, Blur Studio, Jellyfish Pictures, Digic Pictures, Mackevision, Image Engine

My Comments

The review winner is Animal Logic with 4.7 star rating, followed by Nickelodeon Animation Studios 4.4, the third position is shared with more than one company with 4.2 star rating. Average rating is = 3.79

✅ Right of the bat what shined through about pros is that good people and environment are widely common in VFX studios. Maybe we can say that people that work in this sector are generally good people. I can also conclude that environment and the quality of projects are important for people.

In addition I noticed free food is most of the time provided in US based companies and it seems that people really care about the kitchen and quality of foods in this sector.

❌ Most widely found con is unfortunately overtime and long hours which is not a surprise. It is a bit interesting that most companies do not pay overtime but again that might have changed in time.

Pipeline seems like a common issue in the VFX world, most comments in cons include bad pipelines, however, it can always be improved.

⭕ Zoic Studios caught my eye with a pro that no other studio had, which is it heavily supports work from home. It seems they really worked hard on that and improved their pipeline and workflow based on work from home because you can see all of their job openings in Linkedin have Remote option. And this has been going on for quite a while now.

Weta Digital also drew my attention with a pro that says has good pay but a con that said Wellington (Where Weta is located) is very expensive. So they basically eliminate each other.

Cinesite’s bad review about location was thought-provoking. It has 4,2 star rating which is pretty high but the studio campus seems like it is the worst between all the other ones. There were even comments saying that “you’ll miss the sun” or “need vitamin D” which is funny but again disconcerting. Also this might not be the case anymore, maybe they now have a completely new studio.

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Berk Erdag

Berk Erdag

VFX artist writing about mostly the business side and a bit about the artistic side and some technical experiments of the VFX and CG Sector.