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- Cinesite scored higher in 8 areas: Overall Rating, Career Opportunities, Compensation & Benefits, Work-life balance, Senior Management, Culture & Values, % Recommend to a friend and Positive Business Outlook.
What Employees Say
- "Montreal" was the most mentioned Pro at Cinesite.
- "Low budget" was the most mentioned Con at Cinesite.
I worked at Polygon Pictures for less than a year
-Entry to working in Japan -Great coworkers from across the world and extremely talented...too talented for Polygon to be honest. -Flexible work hours -Great translation team for foreigners -Paid... National Holidays -Foreigner Friendly
- Salary and Compensation: For starters when negotiating your contract, be aware that they will try to pay you as low as possible regardless of your experience and talent. They have a reputation for... being the lowest paying CG studio in Tokyo, despite its World class recognition. Most company's in Japan offer transportation compensation, PPI does not. They say its included as a part of your employment but its actually included in your salary so you end up paying for it out of your monthly pay. So I recommend that you add at least 20,000 yen per month onto your potential salary when negotiating.... if you can. Other than a Salary you get nothing else. So Healthcare, pension, etc is all on you, so keep that in mind when they offer you a low range salary in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Overtime is not given, so I recommend you do your 8 hours and leave. No sick days, if you miss a day you are expected to make up for it by doing overtime or coming in on a holiday or weekend. So dont get sick! If you want a pay increase they will attempt to get you in a Supervision role, where you will be doing double the work load for maybe an extra 10000 yen a month(not even the cost of a transit pass). But you must prove yourself during this supervisor role. They evaluate you to see if you are eligible for the pay increase based on your performance. They can decide you made one small mistake and not grant you the increase (this is based on a real situation). So double the work but same pay before the new title. Also worth mentioning is the lack of Support during Tax time. If it wasn't for my coworkers assisting on how to approach the tax submission you will be lost. The company doesn't offer any assistance for foreign contractors on how to do taxes and what to do when the time comes. When you arrive to Japan they only assist you for 1 weeks accommodation at a low budget hotel near the studio. Yes that is great but it takes awhile to find an apartment, get a phone and set up a bank account. Other studios will offer moving expense cost, rent compensation or longer term temporary accommodation till an employee can get settled in a reasonable time. Also if you tell them you dont know anybody in Tokyo this is an option you get. A coworker of mine said he/she knew of someone living in Tokyo and the accommodation was not offered because it was assumed by the company that this person would stay with the person already living here. Nice one PPI! - Tools: They are cheap with their software. They do not want to pay for industry standard licences. Do you like working in Maya 2015 and in Mental Ray? Because most of their projects are produced using this Maya version and render engine. They had projects that used Maya 2019-2020 and Arnold but those were special cases and decided upon by the client not the studio. They do not have enough licences for Painter or Mari so if you want to have access you need to negotiate with a project manager. Look development is done in Maya and tweaked in Nuke. No Katana or Clarice though I herd rumors they were getting licences for Katana but if its like the situation with Substance or Mari it will be limited to certain individuals. The computers them selves are beefy and up to the task of production. Pipeline or lack there of. Its convoluted and no one shows you how to use it when you arrive. It still remains a mystery. - Dependency on outsourcing: Id say 85-90% of the workload is done by outsource vendors. During the Corona lock down a lot of vendors closed shop and there was panic in the studio because deadlines could not be met. And what talent was there was already swamped with work or adjusting the submitted outsourced assets. - From another glass door review: "Everything is decided based on politics, specially towards none Japanese rather than work or technical efficiency. A Good technical or technology will easily be dismissed even if proven in work if it comes from none Japanese, specially if you are not friends with higher ups. Workflow is usually frustrating again cause they are mostly chosen based on politics than efficiency. Working hours can go very high with no over time payment." This is accurate! As a non Japanese, despite having more artistic or technical skill, you and your suggestions or comments will be dismissed. An example of this was a coworker and myself recommended a certain workflow on a project of style and look they have never achieved or attempted before. We were constantly dismissed when we brought up suggestions or methodologies that work to overcome the issues they were facing. Instead they paid for 3 separate Japanese "consultants" (one whom I know from N. America) and they all recommended the same solution unanimously as my coworker and I previously and repeatedly suggested. But they only accepted the solution once the Japanese nationals provided it (abroad or local). Also expect to be told to perform ridiculous tasks by a supervisor with less knowledge and experience than you if you have been in the Industry abroad for more than 5 years. When you make a suggestion to execute a said task more effective and efficiently you will be told no and do it their way, no room for suggestion. Efficiency is not in the vocabulary at PPI neither is Pipeline. -Schedules: These are tight and when they are decided they seem very arbitrary and not base on assessment of design, quantity or complexity. Pick a number, either 1 or 2 and that will be the number in weeks you have to accomplish a complicated task. That includes modeling, UVing and texturing a set with over 100 unique assets and have the expectation that it is perfect and complete the first time. Ganbatte! Because of this unrealistic schedules they rely a lot on purchased assets from Turbosquid. You end up being given a lot of non production geometry that needs clean up which takes longer to do than to building from scratch.They rather spend $30 USD on a water bottle model that needed to be retopologized than to spend 1.5 hrs or less to build said asset from scratch. But if you buy now its done right? (this was the logic). -Meetings and Project Managers: They love to waste time on holding multiple meetings a day, and what is discussed that is actually relevant can be sent in a 2 second email. Most meetings are about an hour long and cover the tasks of project managers and their schedules and less of the production staff. Sometimes meets are show and tell time for everyone on a production, what their progress is and what their kid ate. So expect to sit there and zone out when you listen to other departments talk about irrelevant matters that have no pertinence to you or the job at hand. Also there are more project managers then there are artists or production people. They all make you take notes during meetings, despite that its their duty to record any relevant information during this time. They will have power over you when making artistic or technical judgment calls. They are one of the many art directors when it come time for asset review, despite having no background in CG, art or any creative background. Its usually just opinion based so they can feel accomplished that they had some creative input on a final product. -Environment: Can be oppressive at times. Dont talk to your coworker at their desk, people around them or around yourself get annoyed and you get complaints delivered by HR. This is not a Joke, when discussing issues with a coworker about a task at their desk, the surrounding Japanese staff lodged complaints to him/her despite it being work relate. This person was then asked to go to the common room each time if they need to have discussions with other coworkers. Its also common to find Project managers hovering over shoulders and sitting by desks to watch and make sure what was said in a meeting is being done (meeting schedule deadline). If you are not at your desk they will circle around the studio looking for you so they can monitor you.
Advice to Management
Advice to CEO Do some serious in house cleaning and auditing of your Supervisor staff (CGSVs) and managers (Upper, Mid and Lower). There is a lot of dead weight costing the company money.... Supervisors with junior level knowledge making horrible decisions that cost more time and money than it currently is necessary. There are more Project managers than you need, but for some reason more and more project managers get hired when there are less and less production people. Cull 80% of them as they are mostly dead weight and dont do anything but hold meetings that have no relevance but only to themselves so they look like they are doing work. -Spend the money on acquiring and retaining talented staff and rewarding them. -Reduce the dependency on outsourcing and invest in proper tools/software. -Expand the studios ability to do more than cell shading shows. Yes thats the studios niche for now but audiences are getting more bang for their buck now from other production houses. -If you cant afford to pay your staff properly, dont rent a studio in such an expensive location. -Watch project manager and CGSV spending. Ive seen more money fly out the door in one month on useless or redundant asset purchasing that you could afford to pay for contractor staff transportation passes for a year.