Arcana Studio, From Ink to Pixels

Arcana Studio is a Canadian animation studio based in Burnaby, BC that got its start in the comic book publishing industry.  CEO Sean O’Reilly founded Arcana in 2003 with a single comic book called Kade. Since then, it has expanded to produce both animated and live-action features.

 The team at Arcana agrees that what makes them unique is the freedom to go at their own pace and the communication between departments made possible because they are a relatively small studio.

The Challenge

Arcana Studio has faced many challenges through its evolution.

Moving from comic books to animated and live-action features was a learning curve that required massive changes in technology.

For Corey Jessee, Arcana’s studio asset supervisor, tools like Maya have made that process much easier:

“Developers like Autodesk are getting better and better at creating tools that take artists away from that technical side, so they are able to focus more on the creative side.”


ShotGrid and its integration with Maya have become an invaluable tool.  Clint Gamble, Arcana’s animation director, couldn’t imagine working without it.

“I love ShotGrid. It’s awesome.  We can upload things; it goes directly to it. I can give notes, it goes directly to it. You can do draw-overs in ShotGrid and it stays on top. They are making our lives easier.

And when the Covid-19 pandemic forced Arcana’s animation team to work from home – ShotGrid made it possible to keep production moving.  There were other challenges that came from working remotely, like latency.  For CEO Sean O’Reilly, latency was a big issue.

“When an animator is working remotely lip sync was just off by a little bit.  But then we started using VPN. Annex Pro was amazing getting us VPN set up right away.”

“When it comes to Autodesk products, truly it comes from my employees, they’re the ones that demand it, need it, went to school with it, use it, love it, so I’m literally carrying out what they’re wanting.”

Sean O’Reilly,

CEO, Arcana Studio

Business Outcome

While still involved in the ink and paper world of print publishing, Arcana Studio has fully embraced the digital world of animation.  Creating and owning their own characters allows Arcana to develop and grow.  As well as animation, Arcana is now producing live action feature films based on their own intellectual properties.


Autodesk’s products, like Maya, Arnold and ShotGrid, have given Arcana the flexibility and creative tools they need to thrive in challenging times. Annex Pro also takes care of licensing, something that has become increasingly complex through the years.  Working with Annex Pro gives Arcana extra talent and resources to help solve current issues as well as plan for the future.  For Sean O’Reilly, Annex Pro is a key player in their success.

“I have a fantastic team, and Annex Pro is kind of like the glue with all the parts figuring out what we need how we need it.”

Ready to automate processes and eliminate repetitive tasks to free up your teams with Autodesk solutions? Start a conversation with a ShotGrid specialist today.

Posts by Category