AXIS Studios, the Glasgow-based animation and visual effects specialist, is recruiting more than 50 roles to work on a film it believes will be the biggest ever animation made in Scotland.

The company, which already employs 325, creates content for global clients including Universal Studios, the BBC and Netflix and expects to announce details of the project next year.

“From a Scottish perspective, this will probably be the biggest animated production ever done in Scotland,” said Axis Studios chief executive Richard Scott. “A major part of the vision for Axis over the last three years has been to move into this area of film production and to have bigger productions happening here in Scotland, so we’re really excited about that.”

The film, which will be distributed world-wide, will also be the biggest ever project for Axis Studios in terms of the number of people involved, the minutes of content being produced and the profile of the project.

“In the eyes of others, especially those in the US, it takes us from being a studio that had the potential to do this, to a studio that’s actually doing it,” Mr Scott said. “We only started a few months ago, even though we can’t reveal all the details people are showing a lot of interest.”

Axis creates animation and visual effects for film, television, games and theme parks.

Its visual effects team has recently worked on productions including Sky One’s A Discovery of Witches, Sky Atlantic’s Chernobyl, HBO’s Catherine The Great and Shaun The Sheep: Farmageddon, the stop motion film by Bristol-based studio Aardman Animations. Axis’s animation credits include the animated Netflix series Love, Death + Robots and Nickelodeon series Lego City Adventures.

Mr Scott co-founded Axis in 2000 with co-directors Dana Dorian, Stuart Aitken and Graham McKenna. The company tripled turnover to £15 million between 2015 and 2018 and expects to announce further growth in its 2019 year end results.

“We’ve been on an exciting growth path, especially revenue, and that’s not showing any signs of changing,” Mr Scott said.

The company has office bases in Glasgow, Bristol and London, but since lockdown, all staff have been working from home. Only one member of staff was furloughed.

“We’ve now all been working from home remotely for six months,” Mr Scott said. “That undoubtedly has its challenges, especially communication, and the sense of isolation at certain times. We’ve done a lot to try and mitigate that. We’ve moved to doing a weekly town hall live stream followed by a Q and A. We’re also doing virtual livestreams to showcase our work in progress to teams in different departments.”

The new roles being created are based in Glasgow, Bristol and London and include character artists, animators, visual effects specialists and team supervisors.

Mr Scott said the games industry in Scotland had far outstripped animation in terms of its impact internationally, but that he was now seeing other animation studios in Scotland with global ambitions.

“As everyone knows, the entertainments industry is very focused in London, New York and Los Angeles,” he said. “It’s not easy to break in, but it’s not impossible. We believe that what Axis is doing will help other companies in Scotland realise that they can do it too.”

Mr Scott said two of Axis Studios’ most recent projects involved creating film trailers and episodic content for the US-based publishers of table top and digital card games with huge followings. These are Magic: The Gathering, by Wizards of the Coast, based in Renton near Seattle, and Tales of Runterra by Riot Games, based in Los Angeles.

Since 2018, Axis has been developing its intellectual property by building its own universe of proprietary worlds and characters for possible film and TV projects.

“We’ve been pitching these to various studios in Los Angeles and the response has been very positive, and plan to make this a big part of our future,” Mr Scott said.