Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (7.67 MB)

Data deciphered: A visual migration of VFX

Download (7.67 MB)
posted on 2021-11-22, 16:22 authored by Fordyce, Robert

The visual effects industry is an interconnected network of migratory professionals that is in an on-going state of dynamism. The transient nature of industry contracts and the resultant economic impact of studio ebb and flow is a largely uncharted, yet highly phenomenological subject, within design discourse. In the absence of a reliable metric to quantify employee migration, previous theories in this field have been speculative and conjectural. However, the wealth of data inherent in employment-oriented social-media profiles and online crowd-sourced databases provides a new way in which to identify and analyse collective trends in industry migration.  Data Deciphered: A Visual Migration of VFX reveals the geographical and demographic patterns in the postproduction services industry through the data visualization medium. Furthermore, it investigates the optimal way to comprehend, filter and relate the large volume of information that is the sector’s migration patterns.  This thesis first amassed a dataset of 82,711 migratory employment records specific to professionals within the visual effects industry over the previous 35 years. It drew this information from the public-facing pages of both the LinkedIn and Internet Movie Database (IMDB) online Internet platforms. This collection has been subsequently used to drive a 3D visualization tool that was constructed within the Unity5 game engine.  This study has revealed that, despite claims to the contrary, California continues to function as the central hub of the visual effects world and that the majority of industry professionals have been located there at some point throughout their employment histories. Furthermore, environment and matte-painting roles have been identified as the most migratory, while technician and code professions tend to be more static. Finally, skills analysis demonstrates that while proficiency in software packages and coding languages is prevalent within the industry, ultimately, the possession of these abilities has negligible impact upon migration frequency.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Computer Graphics

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Gurevitch, Leon