Using SyncSketch enabled Jellyfish Pictures to grow their studio, so they were positioned to take on more high-IP clients such as Disney, DreamWorks, and Netflix.

About Jellyfish Pictures

Award-winning Jellyfish Pictures launched in 2001, and has grown from three artists and one producer to a global powerhouse of animation and visual effects (VFX), winning Emmy, VES, Annie, and BAFTA awards. Films include “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Spirit Untamed,” and “Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi”; TV shows such as “Stranger Things: Season 4,” “The Book of Boba Fett,” and “The Rig”; in addition to animation favorites “How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming,” “Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed,” “Bitz & Bob,” and “Floogals.”

As the studio grew to 550 team members from 25 countries during the pandemic, Jellyfish used SyncSketch to scale seamlessly in the critical area of real-time reviews. Directors and VFX artists collaborate creatively from anywhere in real-time or asynchronously, without fear of dangerous IP leaks, all thanks to SyncSketch’s more secure infrastructure and security features.

Jellyfish Pictures by the numbers 

  • Number of countries represented by artists: 25+
  • Number of SyncSketch Enterprise users: 60+
  • Number of Jellyfish Pictures offices: 2
  • Number of frames touched by SyncSketch review tool: Hundreds of thousands
  • Percentage studio grew during the pandemic: 50 percent

The Challenge

Always operating at the forefront of innovation, Jellyfish Pictures has worked remotely since 2015. But even as the award-winning VFX and animation studio expanded their talent base and grew their business at an extraordinary rate, one rough spot remained: finding the right technology solution to handle real-time reviews. 

In the VFX and animation worlds, a critical part of the workflow is to frequently consult with other artists, directors, and clients on a shot or sequence. But the onerous and stilted method of preparing and uploading files to servers and then sending them to reviewers slowed the studio down.

Even more importantly, Jellyfish Pictures was growing rapidly, due to their remote-first creative model combined with world-class talent. The biggest entertainment companies such as Disney, DreamWorks, and Netflix wanted to work with them. How could Jellyfish safeguard the world’s largest movie and TV IP and review their media offline or in real-time without wasting hours – and creating security risks – sending files back and forth? 

The Solution

When a colleague recommended SyncSketch for real-time reviews, the team gave it a try. The ease of setup and rapid implementation made for a great first impression. Then, the product’s real magic appeared: reviewing media in real-time or offline felt like in-person collaboration. There were no compression artifacts, no skipped frames. 

Before SyncSketch, remote or hybrid creatives had to keep track of disorganized notes and sketches stored across a variety of machines. Now, with SyncSketch, everyone’s comments and suggestions are easily accessible on one cloud-based platform via any browser or device. A combination of ring-fenced, secured cloud infrastructure, and networking ensures that uploads can only ever be accessed by intended recipients and site members.  

SyncSketch quickly became the way for Jellyfish to share and review dailies efficiently, sending and receiving feedback seamlessly. Directors, animators, and artists all embraced its ease of use, especially across studio departments. While securely reviewing some of the hottest entertainment IP on the planet, Jellyfish Pictures was assured their ambitious pipeline of work would stay on track. 

What made SyncSketch the perfect solution for Jellyfish Pictures? 

Benefit 1: A secure way to share content 

CTO Jeremy Smith has watched the studio’s growth from an eight-person team to a creative force that swelled to more than 500 people during the pandemic. 

Scaling a team of this size means the right tools have to be in place, but even more importantly: those tools and technologies have to be secure and trusted by clients. Some of the largest entertainment franchises have vetted SyncSketch’s security – and come away satisfied their IP is safe.

“SyncSketch is in a class of new tools that are built for cloud-based workflows. The platform’s cloud-first approach allowed us to take on high-end IP projects because our clients know that while their data is accessible to reviewers who have the proper security access, it’s not staying with the user. It’s locked down.”

Jeremy Smith, CTO at Jellyfish Pictures

Benefit 2: Hire from anywhere and keep talent around longer  

Using tools such as SyncSketch allowed Jellyfish to lead the remote charge because the technology supported artists, directors, and contractors collaborating together closely, regardless of where they were located. Not only that, but implementing remote and hybrid workflows enabled Jellyfish to hire and retain top distributed talent. 

As Jellyfish expanded the size of its studio, the expensive London real estate market was driving more and more creatives out of the city center, draining talent markets. But now with SyncSketch and other remote working tools, Jellyfish can hire and retain top talent from anywhere.  

“Tools like SyncSketch allow us to access talent anywhere seamlessly. From editorial reviews to dailies to visual feedback, the studio’s workflow rolls out flawlessly and allows our talent to work remotely from anywhere in the world.”

Jeremy Smith, CTO for Jellyfish Pictures

Benefit 3: Collaboration in real-time or on your own time 

SyncSketch operates on a web server, so that means media is not stored on multiple devices and in multiple locations. It also means time differences are a thing of the past because production partners aren’t waiting on file uploads to make comments — or  scheduling late meetings so everyone can meet up and go over shots. Asynchronous communication can function as efficiently as real-time interactions. Depending on each user’s admin permissions, participants are able to contribute, control the session, and leave drawovers and annotations on both 2D and 3D animation sequences frame-by-frame. There is no lag on playback, so it’s a very natural way of delivering and receiving feedback. 

At one point in the production of their large pandemic project Jellyfish worked with animators in the US, Iraq, South America, and many other countries, across various time zones, all using SyncSketch to collaborate and deliver visual feedback. “Instead of everyone coming to one physical place, we were able to go to them using SyncSketch,” Smith says.

Artists rave about the platform’s markup and brush tools, as well as the time savings realized by SyncSketch. 

“SyncSketch has been the only way for animation to share and review our shots properly. It’s is a great tool to give and receive feedback.”

Luca Mazzoleni, Animation Director for Jellyfish


Creatives also are thrilled there is no interruption to the creative process when using devices such as Wacom tablets. Whether an artist is sitting in a coffee shop, their apartment, or in the studio, Wacom tablet performance coupled with SyncSketch is predictable, responsive and reliable.   

Over time, Jellyfish Pictures has reimagined its studio’s production pipeline using a hybrid of desktop-based and cloud-based technologies to boost collaboration from anywhere. SyncSketch shines in this remote-first toolbox with its ring-fenced, secured cloud infrastructure and networking; ease of set up and implementation, and robust set of creative collaboration tools and feedback options, including its advanced brush engine and intuitive 3D model viewer.

“SyncSketch enables a higher level of collaboration for our studio. Our clients know their valuable IP is safer with the platform’s security features. SyncSketch allows the creative process to flourish, and our team is able to do their jobs without any hassle.”

Jeremy Smith, CTO, Jellyfish Pictures