Thursday, February 27, 2014
Life After Pi - the sad end of R&H
In this excellent 30 minute documentary, the film-makers explore the sad end of Rythm and Hues, one of the world's finest visual effects houses, pioneers in photo realistic character animation. The film explores how R&H strove to be the best in the world, but also what was the financial cost of that search for excellence.
The chief villain of the film is the film subsidies coming from countries like Canada and the UK, where the Government offers tax rebates to create financial incentives for work to be done at home, stimulating domestic creative industries. What this leads to, of course, is a competitive auction for visual effects work, with artists acting as "pixel gypsies", following the studios to far-away cities in search of work, as changing tax subsidies send work to different countries.
On the positive side, the film shows how even in the commercial world of visual effects, there is still space for creatively-driven studios to pursue artistic excellence for its own sake. After all, R&H pioneered stunning visual effects animation for 25 years, raising the bar for everyone else.
(Editor's Note: For more on R&H and the visual effects industry, see our post on the end of Rhythm and Hues, why we went green in support of digital artists, and what can be done to get better recognition for visual effects artists everywhere .)