Berkeley-based VFX company Tippett Studios has laid of 40 percent of its workforce today, the company's CEO and president Jules Roman confirms to The Hollywood Reporter, with the possibility of more layoffs coming.
Over 40 visual effects designers were let go, leaving a staff of 100 full-timers still working at the studio, whose recent work is on display in blockbuster films like Ted and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.
"We're hibernating, figuring out a way to reinvent and scale down because there's a lag in work obviously, and there's such upheaval in the visual effects industry, period. We're not sure where it's all going, but we think it's probably going north," Roman says, referring to recent losses to Canada-based effects houses, which lure Hollywood studios with enticing tax credits.
The move comes in the wake of the collapse of Rhythm & Hues, the effects giant behind Life of Pi, acquired this week by Prana Studios following a recent bankruptcy filing, and offers further evidence that the visual effects industry is going through a period of economic turmoil.
Roman adds that if nothing changes, more layoffs will come to Tippett -- a 30-year-old studio that got its start with stop-motion animation in films like the RoboCop trilogy.
"If we don't get any work by the end of the year, you can't live on air, can you?" she says.