Fuel VFX goes into administration


"One of Australia’s most respected independent visual effects houses has gone into administration. Staff ofFuel VFX – which employs around 100 people – were given the news yesterday.


Very sad news…


Yeah sad news indeed but not really surprising with studios screwing over vfx vendors in the big race to the bottom.




Does anybody make money in this business anymore? It’s not as if they were producing bad work or lowkey fx.

Soon it’ll only be weta and ilm and they can ask whatever they want.


This really has been going on for decades. Back when I started, Boss Films and Foundation Imaging along with ILM were the holy grails for wanting 3d and vfx talent. Boss and Foundation disappeared. When Foundation went bust, Rainbow Studios out of Arizona took over their projects, then they went bust. SquareSoft (in Hawaii) was a hotspot too. Most collapsed under projects that cost more than they were worth or that clients were willing to pay. I remember some company working with Lightwave on the Dune remake for the Science Channel and going bust before finishing the series. Some poor studio jumped on that work and I believe it killed them off too.

Its almost like the jobs and work either blows out individuals or kills entire companies. Its like the industry is driving for high tech labor for low pay. Production work will always been in danger of these trends. Especially when the technology gets so inexpensive. It was glorious back in the day getting high salaries and working on $50k SGI workstations with $50k software packages. The competition was really sparse. Just now breaking into this field has to really suck for the newcomers (maybe they should be the late comers). People keep mentioning using open source amd free software. When that happens, it will truely kill off the industry in countries like the US and UK. I saw the same thing with graphic designers back in the early nineties (thats when I migrated to 3d). The only sectors that will likely thrive will be DOD, engineering and scientific communities.

I see quite a few artists (in the US) moving back to the east coast or even mid-west where stress and difficulty are less and the pay ratio to cost of living is better, not to mention the quality of life. There’s no glory or super high profile work, but the job security seems a bit more stable and business managers seem a bit more conservative. 50-60 hour work weeks are the exception not the norm.


Well if we just check the last movie that fuel has work on and if we check the total gross without taking into account the DVD release we have:

Prometheus : $341,097,836
Avengers : $1,491,800,446
MI-4 : $694,713,380
Captain America : $368,608,363
Thor : $449,326,618

Well it looks that a VFX providers like Fuel hasn’t seen so much part of that money, and i guess that the vfx team folks were credited on the last part of the credits of each of those film far behind the catering services. I also guess that a part of the team wasn’t on the credits at all … even if they were ask to do overtime to push the enveloppe on those amazing projects … :slight_smile:

Really sad news i really love the work of fuel, especially on Prometheus … But after all Visual Effects team are not that important , and they work for the fun … :slight_smile:


Sad day. I wish all those working at Fuel the best.


That film had me jumping on my seat because of incredible effects.
So unfair to artists who worked on it. I wish them best.



You may be thinking about Netter Digital. I believe they were technically in bankruptcy when they started those shots. They kept a very minimal crew there to get the shots done.
Because I was the only tech guy in the building when they announced it I got to keep my job for a few more weeks. I believe they did finish all the shots they were assigned though.
Area 51 also had several shots for Dune also. Area 51 still has a web page up, not sure how well they are doing though.
I think Flat earth VFX was already dead by that time.

Overall I think the list of dead companies would be a lot longer then the list of live ones at this point.


Sad news indeed. It seems to be a relatively quiet patch for large VFX project anyway at the moment.

Cobra 6


As horrible as things are getting this is a funny part of the cycle…

People can see society failing all around them but when you point out any type of depravity they defend it.

Artists are among the first to fall for the depravity and speed it along…subsequently they start to wake up first also… we are still a bit away from that point though lol


“Depravity”? We’re not talking about the sacking of Rome here. Companies sometimes go bust. Other, more competitive, companies will take their business. That’s how it works. That’s how progress works, and even though it does kind of suck sometimes it does generally lead to better things in the future.

I am of course sorry for the people who lost their job and all that, but all this talk of doom and gloom isn’t true, and it’s certainly not very helpful.


Sorry but I have no idea what all that even means or how it has any bearing on this thread.



Decline is a change over time from previously efficient to inefficient organizational functioning, from previously rational to non-rational organizational and individual decision-making, from previously law-abiding to law violating organizational and individual behavior, from previously virtuous to iniquitous individual moral behavior. Note: The word decline should not be confused with the word obsolete. Decline refers to the degenerating of something whereas obsolete refers to the outdating of something or that it is no longer in use. It is the process of declining, a gradual sinking and wasting away.

[i]Social decline[/i] or [i]moral decline[/i] is typically characterised as reduced adherence to [cultural](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture) or [social norms](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norm_%28sociology%29) or [values](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_%28personal_and_cultural%29) and widespread lapses in [ethical](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics) behavior.

Entities and organizations may enter a state of decline if they fail to respond effectively to changes, because they :

[li]Don’t know about it : inability to recognize change in the organizational environment[/li][li]Can’t : insufficient resources to respond to change in the organizational environment[/li][li]Don’t want to : refusal to respond to change in the organizational environment because organizational leaders benefit from organizational decline[/li][/ul]___________________________________________________________

Things aren’t bad enough for the average person to look beyond their area if interest but for those who study this branch of Systems Science the process of decline is in it’s last part of Autumn.

Winter will be in full swing as a rude awakening in less then a year.

I look forward to seeing how art evolves in this period as it will offer first hand information as opposed to trying to gather the information from history.

Not to imply that I am happy at all. Lemons, lemonade and all…

 So, it is progress that one of the finest small shops closes, even though they worked on the biggest most lucrative of films? This is not the only one. It's a race to the bottom. There are a few more studios barely hanging on to dear life and some of them very large ones, seemingly successful ones. Despite all the tax breaks, the low wages amongst some of the artists, the nonexistant job security, the massive outsourcing to countries where labour is cheap, and dubious industry practices, losses are still being made on vfx for major, successful, vfx-driven movies.


Truth. The general population’s willful ignorance astounds me. Then when something happens, like the financial collapse in 2008, everyone is like “How did this happen?” Pfff.


Be careful… Being awake can lead to a sense of superiority as you observe that others are asleep.

It is hard to not get angry with people when they offer such a lack of interest in why things are as they are.

We are all children. It’s just that some of us are 9 years old while most are 4 or 5. It’s a very small difference and we are one and all not able to guide the others out.

None of us are enough above the rest to have the respect to get the others galvanized.

Look at what George Lucas did with episode I… the concepts of how a society gets lead astray were crippled by his catering to children in such a horrible way.


But it is his genius business mind that has ropelled him and ILM where they are today. With all their IP and merchandising rights, I bet the VFX model will outlast them all.


Can you enlighten me about what it has to do using open source / free software with the demise of the VFX industry in the US and UK? Please.


This forum is getting depressing.

XLNT-3d I definitely like your assessment of the affect the cost of hardware and software has on the industry. It’s opposite what some other person said in another thread, you know, where you should adopt opensource whole sale to save costs and keep businesses afloat.

It doesn’t seem helpful to cut costs when ever dollar they save is used as an excuse to make suicidal bids. I don’t know a lot about the VFX industry itself, but it seems to me the inevitable conclusion of all this is the death of the current model. It will all either be outsourced or brought under another roof. Rather than studios hiring VFX shops, film studios will just have their own internal shop that only works for them. Independent shops will perish.

  • Sorta like a 3d animation studio. They have the technical know how to do VFX for other studios, and they probably started out that way, but they chose to make their own movies instead. All the money goes to them and their artists, with no threats of being eaten alive by competition or desperation for their work


XLNT-3d I definitely like your assessment of the affect the cost of hardware and software has on the industry. It’s opposite what some other person said in another thread, you know, where you should adopt opensource whole sale to save costs and keep businesses afloat.

I collaborate in a open source project, and I can assure you that is not our viewpoint. In fact, we believe our open source software drives people to buy proprietary solutions once they get more trained and professional. And we are fine with that. People use open source solutions because you don’t need a full maya license to model damned kitchens, even small boats. Free in free open source means freedom, not gratis, despite jokes we Blender users make on this forum each time autodesk makes you life more difficult.