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Tippett Studios VFX House Lays Off 40 Percent of Workforce

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Jacob Wolf - P 2012
Tippett's wolf effects in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn"

CEO Jules Roman tells THR the company is going into a "period of hibernation" as the visual effects industry continues to contract in the wake of the Rhythm & Hues bankruptcy.

Berkeley, Calif.-based VFX company Tippett Studios laid off 40 percent of its workforce Friday, the company's CEO and president Jules Roman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter, with the possibility of more pink slips coming.

More than 50 visual effects designers were let go, leaving a staff of 100 full-timers still working at the studio, whose recent work is on display in such blockbuster films as Ted and Twilight: Breaking Dawn.

"We're hibernating, figuring out a way to reinvent and scale down because there's a lag in work obviously and there's such upheaval in the visual effects industry, period," Roman said.

"We're not sure where it's all going, but we think it's probably going north," she added, referring to recent losses to Canada-based effects houses, which lure Hollywood studios with enticing tax credits.

The move comes in the wake of the collapse of Rhythm & Hues, the effects studio behind Life of Pi, acquired this week by Prana Studios following a recent bankruptcy filing. It offers further evidence that the visual effects industry is going through economic turmoil.

Roman adds that if nothing changes, more layoffs will come to Tippett -- a 30-year-old studio that got its start with stop-motion animation in films like the RoboCop trilogy.

"If we don't get any work by the end of the year, you can't live on air, can you?" she said.