• Thursday, Jun. 30, 2022
VFX/Animation studio Platige expands U.S. operation
Gawain Liddiard
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When it comes to animation and visual effects studios in Southern California, there’s a new kid on the block, one that’s already 25 years old. The new American outpost of the European visual effects and animation studio Platige, which just marked its first quarter-century in business, has laid out plans for a major expansion as it ramps up operations at its studio location in Manhattan Beach. 

Under the leadership of executive producer Aurelien Simon and creative director/VFX supervisor Gawain Liddiard, Platige’s U.S. office has settled into its facility at the Manhattan Beach Studios campus as it recruits additional creative talent and builds on its agency and feature credits. Among its recent jobs are a lyrical spot for Beautyrest out of the fashion-focused New York agency Badger, directed by the Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kamiński.

Simon and Liddiard are industry vets whose roosts have included The Mill. Most recently Simon had been freelancing while Liddiard served as a creative director on MSG Sphere, the new entertainment venue being built outside Las Vegas.

Karol Żbikowski, global CEO of Platige, said ramping up the Platige brand in the U.S. makes total sense at this time. “With all of the viewing and content offerings available now across the internet and various streaming channels and platforms, there’s never been a better time for ad agencies, brands and producers to partner with Platige,” he commented. “Aurelien and Gawain know the marketplace, they know the talent and they’re familiar with the landscape. They’re perfectly positioned to grow the Platige brand in the U.S.”

In Europe, Platige has been recognized for its work on the hit Netflix series The Witcher, one of the streamer’s most viewed productions. Platige’s roster of feature credits includes Oscar-nominated films--The Cathedral (Katedra), up for Best Animated Short in 2003, and The Dress, with a Best Live Action Short nod this year. The former was directed by Tomasz Baginski who is on the Platige roster in Poland.  Baginski is currently in postproduction on a major live action picture for Sony, Knights of the Zodiac.

Platige’s clients in commercials span such brands as Samsung, L’Oréal, Pepsi, Gillette, Burberry, Huawei and McDonald’s. The studio has also turned out trailers and cinematics for video games, including such franchises as "Call of Duty" and “Resident Evil.”

Simon and Liddiard said that in some respects, the Platige brand is a secret weapon for clients in the U.S. “We’re not a boutique by any stretch,” stated Liddiard, citing the studio’s corps of over 300 artists, producers and technologists. “We have a tremendous legacy of creative and technical excellence, along with the awards like Oscar nominations and BAFTA wins to back it up.”

Simon expects that Platige will be tackling a mix of entertainment and advertising assignments, with some additional special project work. He said that one of the major differentiators with how Platige works versus other international VFX studios is in how it assigns dedicated global teams to each project, rather than have teams of artists hand off projects to different offices in different parts of the world as the work progresses. “Platige offers a globally-distributed production team, rather than keeping each studio separate. We’re adapting our processes to this new globalized landscape ”

Simon continued, “The way we approach jobs is to identify the best artists for each individual project, regardless of where they are physically. And so we have our productions spread across different time zones, which not only helps in terms of the workflow, but also it’s respectful of our people and their time. We take great pains to not subject our staff to the usual nights and weekends so typical of VFX work. And for our clients, we find that the process is faster and more responsive.”

Liddiard feels the U.S. industry will embrace Platige as an attractive alternative--smaller and more attuned to working collaboratively, whether that’s from a creative or budgetary standpoint, than the big studios, but with much greater firepower than the smallish boutique. Simon and Liddiard are also looking forward to expanding the genres of work to include everything from theme parks to experiential installations to virtual production.

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