Sony Pictures Imageworks
|Type||Subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment|
|Industry||CGI visual effects
|Headquarters||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Number of locations||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Culver City, California, USA
|Parent||Sony Pictures Entertainment|
Sony Pictures Imageworks, Inc. is a visual effects and character animation company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. SPI is a division of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, which oversees the digital production and online entertainment assets of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The company has been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars for their work on Spider-Man 2 and the computer-animated short film The ChubbChubbs!, and received many other nominations for their work.
SPI has provided special effects for many films, most recent include Oz the Great and Powerful, The Amazing Spider-Man and Men in Black 3. They also provided services for several of director Robert Zemeckis' films, including Contact, Cast Away, The Polar Express, Monster House and Beowulf.
Since foundation of its sister company Sony Pictures Animation in 2003, SPI has also animated all SPA's films, including Open Season, Surf's Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs film series, and The Smurfs film series.
Sony Pictures Imageworks was formed in 1992 with five employees to use computers to help plan complicated scenes for live-action films. Located in the former TriStar building, their first work was a previsualization for a 1993 film Striking Distance.
Its first independent animated effort was the 5-minute short The ChubbChubbs! directed by Eric Armstrong. In 2002, it won the Oscar for Best Animated Short. Early Bloomer, released in 2003, was the division's second short film and originally made as a storyboarding exercise. SPI completed its first feature animation project in 2006 with the release of Open Season.
In 2007, SPI acquired the majority of the shares of FrameFlow, an Indian visual effects studio based in Atlanta with most of its work being done at its Chennai (Madras) centre. The company was renamed to Imageworks India, and opened next year a state-of-the-art facility in Chennai. Since 2007, SPI maintained for a short time a development unit in Novato, California. Between 2007 and 2012, it had a satellite production facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was closed down due to economic crisis and lack of alternative companies where employees would go in time of production gaps. As part of Sony's cost-saving efforts, the Indian studio closed down in March 2014, laying off around 100 employees.
During 2009-2010 SPI made transition from traditional biased, multi-pass rendering system to a largely singlepass, global illumination system incorporating modern ray-tracing and physically based shading techniques. They have achieved that with Arnold Renderer, an unbiased stochastic ray tracer. Arnold, started in 1997 by Marcos Fajardo, was co-developed between 2004 and 2009 with SPI, where Marcos was employed, and is now maintained by Marcos' Madrid based company Solid Angle SL. Arnold was used on projects such as Monster House, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2012, Alice in Wonderland, The Smurfs, Arthur Christmas and is being used on all upcoming SPI's films.
Sony Pictures Imageworks has provided visual effects and digital animation for the following films:
- 50 First Dates
- Alice in Wonderland
- America's Sweethearts
- Anger Management
- Angry Birds
- Arthur Christmas
- Bad Boys II
- Big Fish
- Cast Away
- Charlie's Angels
- Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
- Christmas with the Kranks
- City of Angels
- Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
- Die Hard with a Vengeance
- Early Bloomer
- Ghost Rider
- Green Lantern
- Harry Potter
- Hollow Man
- Hotel Transylvania
- I Am Legend
- I Spy
- In the Line of Fire
- James and the Giant Peach
- Last Action Hero
- Men in Black II
- Men in Black III
- Monster House
- Open Season
- Oz: The Great and Powerful
- Patch Adams
- Snow Falling on Cedars
- Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man 3
- Starship Troopers
- Stuart Little
- Stuart Little 2
- Surf's Up
- Tall Tale
- The Amazing Spider-Man
- The Aviator
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- The Chubbchubbs!
- The Ghost and the Darkness
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Matrix Reloaded
- The Matrix Revolutions
- The Polar Express
- The Smurfs
- The Smurfs 2
- What Lies Beneath
- Zathura: A Space Adventure
- Bruce Constantineau (May 28, 2014). "Sony Pictures Imageworks to move head office to Vancouver". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
- Halbfinger, David M. (October 31, 2007). "Sony Said to Be Pondering Partial Sale of Movie Units". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Failes, Ian (August 30, 2012). "From Speed to Spidey: 20 years of VFX and animation". FX Guide. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Tito A. Belgrave (September 8, 2003). "Making Waves with Early Bloomer". CGSociety.org. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
- "Sony Pictures picks up 51% in FrameFlow" (Press release). FrameFlow via The Economic Times. February 20, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
- IANS (April 11, 2008). "Sony Imageworks opens visual effects studio in Chennai". SiliconIndia.com. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
- Stevens, Loralee (January 29, 2007). "Sony gets toehold in North Bay". Barker Pacific Group, Inc. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- "Less Free Money In New Mexico?". VFX Soldier. January 1, 2011. Retrieved January 30, 2014. "However, ImageMovers and Imageworks Novato facility closed"
- "Albuquerque Studios Sees Special Effects of SONY Imageworks Deal in New Mexico" (Press release). Albuquerque Studios via PRWeb. May 20, 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
- Kamercik, Megan (February 29, 2012). "Sony Pictures Imageworks to leave New Mexico". New Mexico Business Weekly. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
- S. Cohen, David (January 29, 2014). "Sony Imageworks India to Shut Down (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Haines, Eric (July 20, 2010). "Marcos and Arnold". Ray Tracing News. Retrieved November 24, 2010.
- "All Shows". Sony Pictures Imageworks. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
- Seikaly, Andrea (February 14, 2014). "Angry Birds’ Pic Nests in Vancouver". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2014.