Rhythm & Hues Studios
Company typePrivate
IndustryVisual effects, CGI animation
HeadquartersEl Segundo, Los Angeles, California, United States[1]
Number of locations
United States, Canada, India, Malaysia, Taiwan
Number of employees
ParentPrana Studios

Rhythm & Hues Studios was an American visual effects and animation company that received the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1995 for Babe, in 2008 for The Golden Compass, and in 2013 for Life of Pi. It also received four Scientific and Technical Academy Awards.[2]

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2013. It was then purchased by an affiliate of Prana Studios, 34x118 Holdings, LLC, but retained the same name.



Rhythm & Hues Studios was established in Los Angeles, California in 1987 by former employees of Robert Abel and Associates (John Patrick Hughes,[3] Pauline Ts'o, Keith Goldfarb, Cliff Boule, Frank Wuts and Charles Gibson).[4] The company used its own proprietary software for its photo-realistic character animation/visual effects—as well as for those that are more stylized.

In 1998, Rhythm & Hues Studios developed a video game titled Eggs of Steel: Charlie's Eggcellent Adventure for the PlayStation.

In 1999, Rhythm & Hues Studios acquired visual effects house VIFX from 20th Century Fox.[5]


Director Ang Lee approached Rhythm & Hues in August 2009 to discuss a planned film adaptation of the fantasy novel Life of Pi.[6][7] R&H VFX (Visual Effects) Supervisor Bill Westenhofer noted that Lee "knew we had done the lion in the first Narnia movie. He asked, 'Does a digital character look more or less real in 3D?' We looked at each other and thought that was a pretty good question."[8] He also stated that during these meetings, Lee said, "'I look forward to making art with you.' This was really for me one of the most rewarding things I've worked on and the first chance to really combine art with VFX. Every shot was artistic exploration, to make the ocean a character and make it interesting we had to strive to make it as visually stunning as possible."[9]

By 2012, the company had become a global one, with offices and artists in India (the Mumbai suburb of Malad and HITEC City which is a part of Hyderabad), Malaysia (Cyberjaya just outside Kuala Lumpur), Canada (Vancouver), and Taiwan (Kaohsiung).[10][11][12][13][14][15]

Rhythm & Hues spent a year on research and development, "building upon its already vast knowledge of CGI animation" to develop the tiger.[16] Artist Abdul Rahman in the Malaysian branch underscored the global nature of the effects process, saying that "the special thing about Life of Pi is that it was the first time we did something called remote rendering, where we engaged our cloud infrastructure in Taiwan called CAVE (Cloud Animation and Visual Effects)".[17]

The resulting film, Life of Pi, was released in theaters in November 2012, and was a critical and commercial success. The British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine suggested that, "Life of Pi can be seen as the film Rhythm & Hues has been building up to all these years, by taking things they learned from each production from Cats & Dogs to Yogi Bear, integrating their animals in different situations and environments, pushing them to do more, and understanding how all of this can succeed both visually and dramatically."[18]

On February 11, 2013, Rhythm & Hues Studios filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, three months after Life of Pi was released.

On March 29, 2013, an affiliate of Prana Studios, 34x118 Holdings, LLC, won the bidding on Rhythm and Hues in a bankruptcy auction.[19] The sale was "valued at about $30 million".[20]. In February 2015, founders Hughes, Goldfarb, and Tso were sued for having “pillaged” the VFX house, including conflicted technology and real estate transfers.[3] As of January 2024, the outcome of the lawsuit hasn't been made public.

After the bankruptcy and sale, Rhythm and Hues continued to successfully work on award-winning film, television, and themed entertainment projects, winning multiple Emmy and Visual Effects Society awards for their work on Game of Thrones.

Selected filmography



Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects

Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects

Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Animated Performance

See also

Further reading and viewing


  1. ^ "Rhythm & Hues". Linkedin.com. Archived from the original on 2011-02-11.
  2. ^ "Prana Studios Buys Bankrupt 'Life of Pi' VFX House Rhythm & Hues". Blogs.indiewire.com. Archived from the original on 1 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b Gardner, Eriq (February 16, 2015). "Former Rhythm & Hues Owners Sued for Having "Pillaged" Oscar-Winning VFX House (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  4. ^ Stech, Katy (21 February 2013). "Rhythm & Hues Looks to Finish 'Seventh Son'". Wsj.com. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  5. ^ The Hollywood Reporter (1999-03-03). "Rhythm & Hues Rounds Up Vifx". AllBusiness.com. Archived from the original on 2015-11-07. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  6. ^ 'Life of Pi's' digital magic. Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2013
  7. ^ EXCLUSIVE: Life of Pi's Stunning Effects. The Daily (News Corporation), November 26, 2012
  8. ^ "MAAC KAROLBAGH | Best Animation & VFX Course in Delhi | Graphic & Web Design". Bestanimationandvfx.in. Retrieved 4 April 2022.[failed verification]
  9. ^ "Life of Pi: a tiger's tale", Fxguide, November 26, 2012
  10. ^ "A glimpse of Rhythm & Hues (Asian Facilities) work on Ang Lee's masterpiece 'Life of Pi'". Animationxpress.com. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Free 3D tutorials for Blender, Maya, ZBrush, Cinema 4D for CG Artists". 9 April 2021. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  12. ^ Rhythm & Hues Taps NVIDIA Technology for Life of Pi. Animation World Network, November 26, 2012
  13. ^ A First Mate Bares His Fangs: Creating a Tiger for ‘Life of Pi’. The New York Times, November 16, 2012
  14. ^ Rhythm & Hues Makes Skies Soar, Computer Graphics World, November 27, 2012
  15. ^ "Malaysian team behind special effects for Life of Pi and Snow White movies". Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  16. ^ Vfx team dares to take tiger by the tail. Variety (magazine), December 15, 2012
  17. ^ "Local touch to Life Of Pi" Archived 2013-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, New Straits Times, November 26, 2012
  18. ^ Video essay: The animal menagerie of Rhythm and Hues". British Film Institute's Sight & Sound magazine, December 21, 2012
  19. ^ "Two-Day Roller Coaster Ends Delivers L.A. VFX Studio to Indian Owners". Variety, March 28, 2013.
  20. ^ "Rhythm & Hues finalizes sale to Prana Studios". Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2013.
  21. ^ "Life of Pi Wins Best Visual Effects Oscar". Eonline.com. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  22. ^ a b "Oscar Award for Best Visual Effects - Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects". Awardsandshows.com. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  23. ^ "BAFTA Awards Search | BAFTA Awards". Awards.bafta.org. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  24. ^ "BAFTA Awards Search | BAFTA Awards". Awards.bafta.org. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  25. ^ "Outstanding Special Visual Effects Nominees / Winners 2018". Television Academy. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Outstanding Special Visual Effects Nominees / Winners 2016". Television Academy. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  27. ^ "Outstanding Special Visual Effects Nominees / Winners 2015". Television Academy. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  28. ^ "15th Annual VES Awards". Visualeffectssociety.com. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  29. ^ Revealing ‘Rhythm & Hues: Life After Pi’ Doc Exposes Grief, Anger and Troubled Business (Video)