Top 9 Animation Companies in California

The Golden State - California is very well-known for its sunny beaches, surfing, and wine. Besides, the state, especially its city Los Angeles, is the heart of the film and television industry. It should not be surprising that California is a state where the most famous animation companies are located. We all watched the animations and played animated games of Pixar, Walt Disney, and Dreamworks. These three are just a small fraction of the animation studios in California. There exist many more companies that create real life-like characters using cutting edge technology. In this blog, I will mention 10 top companies in California in the animation field to help you choose among so many options. 

Top Animation Companies in California


Pixar Studio is a success story of three decades. In 1979, the Apple founder Steve Jobs invested the filmography. From that time, a desktop lamp was the symbol of great cinematic artworks. We all are familiar with its The Incredibles, Inside-Out, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, Cars, and many other animations. In 2006, the Walt Disney Company bought the company for more than $7 billion. Hence, Pixar became the subsidiary of Walt Disney. The works of the studio have become so popular that even a decade later, they come up sequels of previous movies. Finding Dory, Incredibles 2, or Toy Story 4 made considerable success lately. 

The Walt Disney

animation companies

It will be a mistake not to talk about The Walt Disney if we mention Pixar. Disney is a company that we connect with imagination, adventure, dreams, and childhood. From its movies to video games, from theme parks to cruise lines, the company feels like a friend more than an animation empire. In 1923, the company started operating in Los Angeles to create silent cartoons. Mickey Mouse was the point of success that gained the company almost a century of popularity. Its classic animations, like Pinnochio, The Lion King, Bambi, Snow White, and the Seven Drafts, are just some examples of most famous works. Current, more sophisticated animations include Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6, or The Princess and the Frog. Walt Disney is one of the animation companies that achieve success by genuinely inspirational stories.


Dreamwork is another example of professional animation studios in California. The company’s logo, which reflects a boy fishing on the crescent moon, is well-known to most of us. The previous Disney executive Katzenberg and music executive Geffen started this company. 90’s the company gained the love of the audience with animations such as Antz, Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, etc. Currently, the company also works on several online virtual games. DreamWorks has a good position in the industry, but somehow it always ranks below Pixar and Disney. In 2016, it became the subsidiary of Universal Pictures. We hope that the studio will finally be able to outrank others with the help of its partner company. Besides, the DreamWorks earned a total of 22 Emmys, some Annie, and Academy Awards, too. 

Warner Bros.

The first three companies can be top-rated for their animations. However, none of them has a better collection of cartoon characters than Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Fuck characters, and even the opening of Looney Tunes were the most memorable moments of our childhood. In 1969, the studio shut down because it faced increased production costs and decreased interest in animated movies. However, in the ‘80s, the company again started its work. Besides, the animators created a series of DC comics, such as Superman and Batman. Also, the company hit success with its movies. High-quality works like The Iron Giant, The Lego Movie, or Space Jam gained much credibility to the studio.

Sony Pictures Animation

Previous animation companies had a long history, but Sony Pictures Animation is just 17 years old. In 2002, the owner, who is Sony Pictures Entertainment, started this studio. The owners also tried to sell the subsidiary, Sony Pictures Imageworks, that dealt with visual effects. But, no buyers were interested in buying. Therefore, Sony Pictures Animation and Imageworks started working together on new projects. While the former dealt with stories and characters, the latter managed the digital production tasks. The result was a successful project like Surf’s Up. During the previous years, the company created other animations, namely Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, the Hotel Transylvania, and Arthur Christmas. These projects gained popularity in a short time, and now we expect more high-quality animations from Sony. 

South Park 

I believe the name already tells you much about the works of the South Park company. Since 1997, the creators Parker and Stone have been working on the animation of four fourth grade boys. The show is one of the longest-running one with 23 seasons and still is famous. The main reason of popularity can be the project’s openness in terms of politics and celebrities. The creators were concerned that animation studios in California put restrictions on creative freedom. Hence, in their own company, they can take full control of what they want to picture. Besides, the studio also has video games like Team America: World Police. But, still, the company’s success largely rests on its Sout Park series. This show brought to studio five Emmys, too. 

Cartoon Network Studios

Cartoon Network is one of the animation companies that are famous for television series. In 1994, the company was a division of Hanna-Barbera. That company was the originator of famous Scooby-Doo, Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Johnny Bravo. However, Hanna-Barbera became a part of Warner Bros when William Hanna died in 2001. At that time, Cartoon Network Studios took control of existing cartoons. Besides, they continued generating high-quality projects since then. But, this success does not come easily. The biggest rival of the company is Nickelodeon, and they have been competing to get the attention of children. However, Cartoon Network Studios kept its place with the creation of Ben 10, Adventure Time, and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.



In the ‘90s, Nickelodeon started as a game animation company in New York. However, the company hit success with its original programs such as Doud, Rugrats, and The Ren or Stimpy Show. Its live-action games included Figure It Out and Legends of Hidden Temple. As mentioned before, the company has always been in fierce competition with Cartoon Networks Studio. Their main projects that backed their position in the competition are well-known to all of us. Some of the recognizable shows include SpongeBob SquarePants and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Rough Draft

Rough Draft is an animation company that has a contribution both to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network animations. In 1991, the founders Gregg Vanzo and Nikki Vanzo started the studio. Currently, it has three studios in different locations including, California, Glendale, and South Korea. The studio usually outsources the project. However, it still hit mind-blowing achievements and got some prestigious awards. Some of their most famous works include Futurama, Beavis and Butt-Head, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. 

Luma Pictures

Luma pictures started operating in 2002. Currently, this company is well known for animating the characters, environments, and special effects. The company is very picky in terms of their projects. Unlike other animation companies, Luma works on a few projects each year. They usually choose 3 to 8 films which have enormous budgets. Some of their amazing works include Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The studio currently operates in 2 locations- in Santa Monica and Melbourne. 


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