BAFTA and multi-award winning animation and VFX studio Jellyfish Pictures (How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, HBO’s Watchmen) has expanded its operating model to access talent across the world. Having spearheaded the use of virtual and cloud technologies in the animation and VFX industry since 2015 and opening the world’s largest virtual studio at the end of last year, the company has now moved on to its next stage of development.
The new way of working allows Jellyfish Pictures to access talent anywhere in the world without having to invest in bricks and mortar or on-premises hardware. Artists can work from their own homes, with the same experience as teammates located 6000 miles away, thanks to Teradici Cloud Access Software and Microsoft Azure. This new model has been implemented with artists joining the company from Israel, India, North America, Finland, Canada, Spain and Réunion.
With Jellyfish Pictures’ IT infrastructure already housed off site and completely virtual, the company utilizes Azure’s backbone to set up hubs all over the world, which will connect back to the Jellyfish Pictures’ tier one datacenter in the U.K.
All content resides on PixStor, Pixit Media’s software-defined storage solution. Using its dynamic data manager Ngenea, integrated with pipeline tools and Azure, files are distributed across creative hubs quickly and securely. Artists access their content from PixStor running in the cloud hub, which guarantees their performance requirements are always met. When completed, files automatically move back to the U.K. datacenter.
Data never leaves the secure Azure hub, with pixels streamed to artists’ monitors via an encrypted streaming session over Teradici PCoIP technology. Data cannot be downloaded, shared or accessed, remaining fully compliant with TPN protocols and the stringent security measures withheld in the physical studios.
To further strengthen the global operation, Jellyfish Pictures’ review tool, which extends to the public cloud, allows clients to review content seamlessly in 4K. No matter where they are based in the world, both client and artist can share the same screen, updating and annotating in real-time.
“From the very beginning when I first started looking at cloud and virtual technologies with Jellyfish CTO, Jeremy Smith, it was always my vision to be able to go to where the artists are. We introduced cloud rendering and virtual desktops so we could break out of our four walls,” recalled CEO Phil Dobree. “Now in 2020, with events no one could have foreseen, we have over 280 artists working from home with no loss in productivity. Moving our staff to this environment was a relatively simple one, connecting to the datacenter from home is the same as if they were connecting from the studio.”
“It was always our intention to roll out this way of working on a global scale, we have merely accelerated our plan due to current circumstances,” Dobree added. “By unleashing the power of Azure and the different technologies that allow global collaboration to run efficiently and smoothly, Jellyfish Pictures truly has unlimited studios with a community of the best global talent.”