BAFTA and multi-award winning VFX and animation studio, Jellyfish Pictures, has announced the opening of a new virtual animation facility in Sheffield. This expansion also includes the appointment of former Framestore animation head Kevin Spruce as the animation director.
The move continues Jellyfish Pictures’ pioneering efforts, after creating Europe’s first virtual VFX studios back in 2017. The new site is the company’s fifth studio in the UK and is an addition to Jellyfish Pictures’ established studios in Fitzrovia, Central London, Brixton, South London and Oval.
Commenting on the expansion, Jellyfish Pictures CEO Phil Dobree said, “We have multiple projects coming up that will demand crewing up with the very best talent very quickly. Casting off the constraints of infrastructure, which traditionally has been the industry’s way of working, means we are not limited to the London talent pool and can easily scale up in a more efficient and economical way than ever before. We all know London, and more specifically Soho, is an expensive place to play, both for employees working here and for the companies operating here. Technology is enabling us to expand our horizon across the UK and beyond, as well as offer talent an out of living in the big city.”
With no hardware housed onsite, Jellyfish Pictures’ Sheffield studio, situated in the city centre within the state-of-the-art Cooper Project Complex, will operate in a completely PC over IP environment. With all the technology and pipeline housed in a centrally based co-location, the studio is able to virtualise its distributed workstations through Teradici’s remote visualisation solution; allowing for total flexibility and scalability.
This innovative studio will be headed by Spruce. Having an impressive career spanning over 30 years, Spruce has joined Jellyfish Pictures from Framestore, where he oversaw a team of 120. At Framestore, Spruce worked as the animation supervisor on a roster of feature films including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Legend of Tarzan and Guardians of the Galaxy. Prior to his 17 year stint at Framestore, Spruce held positions at Canadian animation company, Bardel and Spielberg helmed feature animation studio, Amblimation.
Dobree noted, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Spruce on board with us. His experience of the industry and knowledge of building a great team is invaluable to both the success of our Northern outfit and to Jellyfish Pictures’ overall growth. Sheffield, and the North of England as a whole, already has a great community of creative talent, which we are looking forward to contributing to and cultivating as time goes on.”
“After 30 years working in and around Soho, it was time for me to move North and settle in Sheffield to achieve a better work life balance with family. After speaking with Dobree, I was excited to discover he was interested in expanding his remote operation beyond London. With what technology can offer now, the next logical step is to bring the work to people rather than always expecting them to move south. Acting now as animation director for Jellyfish Pictures Sheffield, it’s our intention to recruit a creative team here to strengthen the company’s capacity to handle the expanding slate of work currently in-house and beyond. I am very excited to be part of this new venture north with Jellyfish. It’s a vision of how creative companies can grow in new ways and access talent pools further afield,” added Spruce.
Jellyfish Pictures’ northern presence will start off with a small team of animators working on the company’s original animation projects, with a view to expand its team and set up with a large feature animation project by the end of the year.