The 5 Best SFX Companies On Earth

November 10, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Features

skyline_a_500-thumb-500xauto-21436We are set to be invaded yet again this Friday when Skyline hits our cinemas. How unlucky can one planet get?! Needless to say beams of light will be abducting humans all across the world, and we will be following an unlikely group of Americans as they make a bid for survival. Fingers crossed! The SFX company Hydraulx creates the impeccable visual effects for the film and in celebration of Skyline’s release this Friday, here are the five leading SFX-bringers from around the world.


Hydraulx (Santa Monica, CA)

Based out of Santa Monica, CA, hy*drau”lx is a visual effects studio founded in 2002 by the Brothers Strause, Gregor and Colin. No project too great, no detail too small; the studio specializes in realistic effects that blend seamlessly and it has a stacked resume to prove it. The company is credited with creating the gritty, illustrative graphics for 300 and the impossibly believable reverse aging of Brad Pitt’s character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Oh, and ever see Avatar? They had a hand in that too. Whatever you say about a storyline that pilfered plots from countless other classics, the effects were peerless.

Double Negative (London/Singapore)

Europe’s largest provider of SFX, Double Negative is based in the heart of swinging Soho and boasts a team of over 750 staff in London alone. They have a Singapore branch as well with 55 employees; thus, their studio is able to work on a vast array of films at once. In 2010 they have composed some of the most ambitious effects on film this year, including Inception, Iron Man 2, Sherlock Holmes, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Animal Logic (Sydney, Australia)

Australia’s premiere visual effects studio is on the rise to become a powerhouse in the SFX industry and popped a bit further down under to help with large sections of the first Lord of the Rings film a few years back. Animal Logic was originally known for its high-end design and production effects in commercials and television. Recently, the company has worked on large-budget film projects, including The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, Moulin Rouge!, and House of Flying Daggers. The company’s first animated film, Happy Feet, melted the hearts of women around the globe and was a critical success.

Weta Digital (Wellington, New Zealand)

Named after a native New Zealand insect and probably the only name on this list anyone outside the industry has actually heard of, Weta Digital reigns supreme as the most sought-after SFX house. The studio’s involvement in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, and Avatar, exclusive software, and its several Oscar and BAFTA wins make the company the undisputable world-leader of SFX. Founded by by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993 to produce the digital special effects for Heavenly Creatures the digital company has a famous props sister company, Weta Workshop. The firm seem to revolutionis the SFX industry with every newest release; we can’t wait for its current project, The Hobbit, to hit screens in two years.

Industrial Light and Magic (San Francisco, CA)

George Lucas founded Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) in 1975, when he discovered the special effects department at 20th Century Fox had shut down, and his little pet project, Star Wars, had just been given the green light. ILM is a pioneer in various SFX disciplines (most notably the lightsabre – coolest weapon in the known universe) and is one of the oldest and most respected effects companies in the world. ILM has worked on the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter franchises.

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  1. vfxwiz says:

    You apparently do not know your vfx companies too well to include Hydraulx in this list. They may have done some good work on Skyline, but it is not a place where people enjoy working or want to work

  2. Nope says:

    Digital Domain and Lola did all the Brad Pitt aging/reverse-aging shots. Hydraulx did work on Benjamin Button, but they didn’t have anything to do with those shots.

  3. richard says:

    hydraulx is not on par these other companies, they worked on some big films but that doesnt mean they did the challenging fx in those films. Tons of companies worked on films like Avatar and Benjamin Button doing miscellaneous cleanup work and other boring out-source-able work. Check out Sony Imageworks, Moving Picture Company, Framestore, Digital Domain. And while some of these companies do sfx, they mostly do vfx. sfx is practical and shot in camera, vfx is done with computers.

  4. tdsfa says:

    If you are going to take on the task of naming the top SFX companies on Earth, at least know what you are talking about. At least know the difference between special effects and visual effects. Your reasoning is laughable. Hydraulx’s publicist deserves a raise!

  5. chris says:

    Switch out hydraulx for MPC, DD or Framestore and you’d have more people agreeing with this post 🙂

  6. Terry O says:

    I have to back Hydraulx on this. They are the best for their size and the only medium post house that can tackle and handle 700-800 full VFX shots with only 30-100 artists. If they employed 200-700 people like ILM or R&H they would probably be in the top 3.

  7. Wtf says:

    Wow, do you take into account the quality of FX? The fact you don’t include MPC or Framestore over Hydraulx is total BS. I’ve never worked for either of those, but they are far superior to Hydraulx. Rest of the list sure.