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Mike decline?
by on Jul 2, 2011 at 9:20:35 pm

Hi, I apoligize, but i could not find a specific area to post this.
(if you know a better place, let me know and ill repost)

I would like to get opinions on what i've been reading and hearing about the VFX industry lately...

I've been hearing alot about the VFX industry being in decline in the US and even some bigger VFX houses going out of business (especially in California). Do you think this is a permenant situation, or a somthing that will eventually be on the rise again.
Alot of Hollywood studios are now sending there VFX shots overseas, because its cheaper for them to get the work done out there, rather than in the states. (obviously).
But would you recommend someone who is still relativly new to the field to continue pursuing this type of career, or bail out?
Would you blame this just on the state the economy is in now?
I live in CA, 29 years old, and just become a little nervous that i might be spining my wheels and not going anywhere...

A few articles that i've read...

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Jamie FranklinRe: decline?
by on Jul 2, 2011 at 10:12:18 pm

It's not rosy. And it's not just Hollywood Studios.

This is just my opinion, a freelancer can easily match/lower bid, vfx work than bulk shots heading to China or Bangkok for smaller projects, and once you have enough experience move into visual effects producing. They can't easily ship that overseas, but they might ship you on a per project basis.

I wouldn't discourage you, it's fun and a fantastic skill and opportunities will come as fast as they go, but I wouldn't say it's a burgeoning industry here anymore. It's becoming an assembly line/cookie cutter process overseas, much like celluloid animation became. I was once told if you knew After Effects or Nuke you'd never be out of work...but I think that time has passed. The argument always circles back to "how good and fast" you are...but when you can send a project overseas, do 13-18 technical revisions on a shot that is only costing you 1000$...good and fast kinda goes out the window..

As for the future of the industry, I haven't read that article yet, but it would become dependent on scale, retention, contraction, tax credits etc. I've wanted to set up a small scale effects house specializing in specific elements. But I'd probably have to move to Vancouver where the tax credit structure is financially capable of bidding on projects destined for overseas...I've heard Cali still being competitive, but usually thats only because they have a team in China lol

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Steve KallevikRe: decline?
by on Jul 3, 2011 at 4:41:30 am

California is probably the absolute worst place for any business right now with far too much regulation and high taxes. The number of people and businesses leaving Cali each year is staggering (almost 2 million people in the last 10 years). Many are going to Texas and other southern states with no income tax such as Florida. Vfx for Hollywood is getting outsourced more and more but everything else is still going strong. Probably the best general skill set to have is AE, Photoshop, Illustrator and Cinema 4D.

I am close in age to you and only made the decision to jump into the video industry a few years ago. Since then, I have been learning everything from production to editing, motion graphics and Cinema 4D.

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Jonathan ZieglerRe: decline?
by on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:05:11 pm

From what I understand, statistically, post houses are in decline mostly due to more capable software being in the hands of more and more people via current software.

This is similar to the kinds of changes seen in graphic design - typography used to be very specialized and had to be done before final layouts - now quark and indesign have wiped typography houses out. Remember when photo touchups were done by a specialist? Now everyone has Photoshop.

Point is that more and more demanded more and more from their software - if there's money in it, it's worth it to load up the apps with more features. That innovation can eliminate competition or specialized software. The quality difference may not be the same, but it puts it in the hands of everyone and not just a select few. When that happens, the competitive edge is lost. Post houses were there to fill a niche which is eroding as the software gets cheaper and has more and more features. I still remember when only a few who could afford video toaster could keep in business. Now, an inexpensive off-the-shelf nle is standard and many companies make them.

This industry is marked by change. Don't fear it - embrace it! ;)

Jonathan Ziegler

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