In any company’s history, there are key milestones and projects that have shaped its journey. As we continue to celebrate 20 years of Jellyfish, the man who started it all looks back at some of Jellyfish’s projects that have been instrumental to the studio’s growth and identity.
As he looks back, Phil cites BBC One’s 2007 documentary Fight for Life as one of the first projects to have a major impact on who Jellyfish are as a company. Establishing us as a major player in creating visually stunning and realistic visual effects, Fight for Life picked up the BAFTA award for Best Visual Effects as well as the VES award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special and RTS Craft & Design Award for Best Digital Effects. From a studio who took on relatively small projects, Fight for Life catapulted Jellyfish into the consciousness of the VFX world, and a reputation for excellence in factual television.
Fast forward to 2010 and Planet Dinosaur stormed into the Jellyfish Soho studio. Occupying a team of over 80 artists and 100% of the project taking place in-house - including direction, creative, story and rendering - the project marked another step up in the company’s abilities and ambition. In little over a year the team created 180 minutes of full CGI for a primetime BBC One audience. In short, the expectations were high, the time, tight and the team… comrades.
The size of Planet Dino really provided the foundation for the company to scale and take on heavier CG/creature based projects. With the studio building on what they had achieved with Planet Dino over the next few years, the next VFX juggernaut to pass the threshold was a little-known franchise called Star Wars.
Having established a relationship with Rogue One Director, Gareth Edwards, Jellyfish was asked to work on over 500 post-vis shots for the show, which lead to 150 final shots and substantial work on the next two films in the franchise, The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
While the VFX projects were building fast, in 2014 Phil made a decision that would see the future of Jellyfish change forever. Welcoming Universal Kids and Nevision’s Floogals to the team, the company started on its episodic animation adventure.
Floogals, a mix between live action and animation, opened the doors to Jellyfish’s later fully CG kids’ shows, Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed! and Bitz & Bob.
Having demonstrated a strong aptitude for longer form Kids’ animation, Jellyfish caught the eye of Hollywood animation powerhouse, DreamWorks Animation. It is this relationship and subsequent projects that have brought Jellyfish to where it is today. Having delivered its first feature animated film for DreamWorks in March 2021, Jellyfish is now one of a handful of companies outside the tied studios capable of delivering a feature animation.
Hear the full story from Phil in our video below: