Animation Studios in California

...it turns out, California is a large animation hub with some of the best studios in the world.

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If you’re looking to work as a professional animator, then you will want to work for or with a great animation studio. As it turns out, California is a large animation hub with some of the best studios in the world.

Animation studios create artificial pictures and scenes for movies, computer games, and commercials, to name a few. They are concerned with bringing the inanimate to life.

Common software used in this space includes the Adobe Creative Suite, Maya, 3DS Max, and proprietary software.

In this article, we have included 20 of the best animation studios in California, with a small breakdown of each so you can easily learn more on your own.

The 20 top animation studios in California

1. Walt Disney Animation Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – 2100 Riverside Dr. Burbank, Ca 91506
  • Website – www.disneyanimation.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 600
  • Established in – 1923

Ethos & Specialty

Even if you’re not in the animation business, the Walt Disney Animation Studios should sound familiar. This is the source of some all-time favorites, such as Mickey Mouse.

This studio is highly professional, owing to their reputation, and hires only the best at what they do. They make short films, TV specials, feature-length films, and of course cartoons, among others.

2. Vanguard Animation

Studio Overview

  • Location – 8703 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035
  • Website – www.vanguardanimation.com
  • Number of offices – 3
  • Number of employees – 10
  • Established in – 2002

Ethos & Specialty

This is one of the most prestigious animation studios in California, with a great reputation and nearly 20 years of experience. This studio specializes in motion pictures, so if you like making feature-length animated films, this is one of the best places to start your career.

3. Eric Miller Animation Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – 10349 Petit Ave Granda Hills Ca 91344
  • Website – www.milleranimation.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 10
  • Established in – 2014

Ethos & Specialty

This studio was founded by Eric Miller, after working at DreamWorks for many years as a supervisor. He used the experience gained there to open his own studio and offer custom services to his clients.

Their specialties include web series, games, and 3D animation for commercials. If you want to get into the 3D commercials space, especially, then this is a great option.

4. FrameWork Media

Studio Overview

  • Location – 200 N Spring St., Room 575, Los Angeles, Ca 90012
  • Website – www.frameworkmedia.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 10
  • Established in – 1998

Ethos & Specialty

Framework is another prestigious animation studio with a  reputation for making great custom videos for small businesses looking to build successful marketing campaigns.

Their specialty is motion pictures and 2D animations. If you like to do product animations, this is a great place to learn and grow.

5. A-Z Film Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – 1800 N Highland Ave Los Angeles, CA 90028
  • Website – www.azfilmstudios.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 9
  • Established in – 2007

Ethos & Specialty

A-Z Film Studios are unique among animation studios in that they not only do animation but general content creation as well, making them a giant in the local marketing industry.

They have experienced staff with diverse skills, as well as an extensive distribution network. Their studios are also used for photo ops, so you would feel right at home here if you’re a photographer.

6. Powerhouse Animation Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – 120 S Victory Blvd Suite #201B, Burbank, CA 91502
  • Website – www.powerhouseanimation.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 59
  • Established in – 1998

Ethos & Specialty

Powerhouse Animations Studios really are a powerhouse, just like their name suggests. They have been involved in just about everything under the sun, including TV, film, character design, video games, Facebook games, and many others.

This diverse studio is an excellent place for digital artists who are looking to grow their skillset and learn plenty of new stuff while on the job.

7. Mad Mind Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – 2364 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90064
  • Website – www.madmindstudios.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 10
  • Established in – 2006

Ethos & Specialty

Mad Mind Studios are actually best known for their graphics design work, specializing in web and logo design. They also do lots of animation work to help their clients take their marketing campaigns to the next level.

If you’re interested in going beyond digital art and learning about SEO and web design, this studio is a great place to start your career.

8. DreamWorks Animation

Studio Overview

  • Location – 1000 flower St. Glendale CA 91201
  • Website – www.dreamworks.com
  • Number of offices – 3
  • Number of employees – 2700
  • Established in – 1994

Ethos & Specialty

DreamWorks Animation Studios are many artists’ dream to work at. They specialize in animated films and television series, and most of their work sells widely globally, and is featured on large distribution platforms like Netflix.

They also offer their employees highly competitive compensation packages, with high salaries and attractive perks.

9. IvanMAdeThis

Studio Overview

  • Location – 1201 N Mansfield Ave Los Angeles CA 90038
  • Website – www.ivanmadethis.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 1
  • Established in – Unknown

Ethos & Specialty

This is a boutique animation studio with lots of high profile clients. With a small number of employees, it is a great place to work for digital artists who want to start their careers at a small animation studio.

Despite its size, this animation studio is known for making some of the highest quality marketing animations in the world, so you’ll get to learn a lot while here.

10. Manerk Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – Los Angeles CA 90001
  • Website – www.manerk.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – Unknown
  • Established in – Unknown

Ethos & Specialty

Manerk is another versatile studio that does work with photo ops, logo and brand design, web design, banners, print media, as well as digital media.

This is a great place to work if you generally love visual projects and want to wear several hats at work. They work with businesses of all sizes as well, so you’ll gain lots of commercial experience.

11. Pixar

Studio Overview

  • Location – Emeryville, California
  • Website – www.pixar.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 1233
  • Established in – 1986

Ethos & Specialty

Pixar is a household name, thanks partly to the fame of its popular founder, the late Steve Jobs, but mostly thanks to its portfolio of stellar productions, including Toy Story, The Incredibles, Cars, and many others.

While the studio maintains much of its sovereignty, it is officially a property of Walt Disney since it was bought in 2006. If you want to make some of the greatest animation movies known to man, this is the place to be.

12. Warner Bros.

Studio Overview

  • Location – Burbank, California
  • Website – www.warnerbros.com
  • Number of offices – 6
  • Number of employees – 8000
  • Established in – 1923

Ethos & Specialty

Warner Bros. has one major flex over its competitors, and that it has an unmatched collection of cartoon characters. Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, and many other beloved characters came from this studio.

For as long as we can remember the opening sequence of the Looney Tunes, we cannot forget Warner Bros. They are also known for the DC comics, and beloved superheroes like Batman and Superman.

If you want to be part of the process of making immortal characters that will inspire children for decades after, this is the perfect place to work.

13. Sony Pictures Animation

Studio Overview

  • Location – Culver City, California
  • Website – www.sonypicturesanimation.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 255
  • Established in – 2002

Ethos & Specialty

Sony Pictures Animation is a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment and has been around for 19 years, making it younger than the other large animation houses.

This studio has been known to produce great films, such as Hotel Transylvania Arthur Christmas, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and many others. This is another excellent place to work if you want to create globally popular work.

14. South Park Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – Culver City, California
  • Website – www.southparkstudios.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 10
  • Established in – 1997

Ethos & Specialty

South Park is one of the most popular and longest-running TV shows in the world, with 23 highly-rated seasons. Known for producing top-tier satire on celebrities and politics, the show has gained a massive following.

The studio is also known for productions like Team America: World Police. This studio believes strongly in creative freedom, so it should fit renegade digital artists who like to express their unpopular opinions in art.

15. Cartoon Network Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – Burbank, California
  • Website – www.cartoonnetworkstudios.com
  • Number of offices – 1
  • Number of employees – 800
  • Established in – 1994

Ethos & Specialty

Cartoon Network began as a division of Hanna-Barbera in 1994 and then became a subsidiary of Warner Bros. in 2001 after the death of William Hanna. The studio is known for producing high-quality 2D and 3D cartoons for diverse audiences.

If you would love to make the same great cartoons you loved to watch as a child, this is the right studio to join.

16. Nickelodeon

Studio Overview

  • Location – Burbank, California
  • Website – www.nick.com
  • Number of offices – 3
  • Number of employees – 11,949
  • Established in – 1995

Ethos & Specialty

Nickelodeon actually started its life in New York before moving to California after the success of such productions as Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Doud.

It is Cartoon Network’s greatest rival and is known for classics like Avatar: The Last Airbender and SpongeBob SquarePants. If you grew up on Nickelodeon content, rather than Cartoon Network content, consider joining this studio.

17. Rough Draft Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California
  • Website – www.roughdraftstudios.com
  • Number of offices – 3
  • Number of employees – 200
  • Established in – 1991

Ethos & Specialty

Rough Draft is a boutique studio that does work for both Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. It has locations in California, Glendale, and South Korea, and is known for famous works like Beavis and Butt-Head, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Futurama.

This is a diverse animation studio and one of the best creative ones in California.

18. Luma Pictures

Studio Overview

  • Location – Santa Monica, California
  • Website – www.luma.inc
  • Number of offices – 2
  • Number of employees – 95
  • Established in – 2002

Ethos & Specialty

Luma Pictures is known for making great environment productions and special effects work. They are very selective with their projects, and work on only a few every year, unlike most animation companies.

They have done work on Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Captain America, to name a few. They currently have offices in Santa Monica, California and Melbourne, Australia.

19. Industrial Light & Magic

Studio Overview

  • Location – San Francisco, California
  • Website – www.ilm.com
  • Number of offices – 5
  • Number of employees – 2000
  • Established in – 1975

Ethos & Specialty

ILM has worked on lots of projects, many of them box office hits. They are known to use technology in innovative ways to produce art, and are the first studio to do a main character that was partially computer-generated, human skin, and photo-realistic hair.

They have done work on Jurassic World, Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, and all the Star Wars films.

20. Method Studios

Studio Overview

  • Location – Los Angeles, California
  • Website – www.methodstudios.com
  • Number of offices – 7
  • Number of employees – 400
  • Established in – 1998

Ethos & Specialty

Method Studios does visual effects for games, films, television programs, commercials, and many others.

They mostly collaborate with Hollywood companies like Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount Pictures and have done work on Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Iron Man 3, to name a few.

Conclusion

The above list isn’t nearly exhaustive, but it’s a great place to start. You can find out more about these companies and possible job openings they might have, as well as requirements. Until next time, happy drawing!

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