It is no industry secret that Hollywood has fallen in love with Puerto Rico. Blockbuster movies like Pirates of the Caribbean, Golden Eye and Fast Five have all taken advantage of the island’s pristine locations, aggressive tax incentives and world class production crews. But some may not know, that a new breed of film makers, producers, animators and tech entrepreneurs are rising to the challenge and setting the pillars in San Juan for a new and dynamic regional creative hub. GLADIUS LLC -a Puerto Rico based animation, special effects, video game and virtual reality studio- has been pushing the limits of digital arts and technology for more than two years.

You can see some of GLADIUS work in the following link

Since its inception, GLADIUS has wanted to prove the world that a small island in the Caribbean can become a Hispanic animation mecca. CEO & Founder Heri Martínez de Dios is a multi-award-winning executive producer with 6 Telly awards, 4 Emmys and other national and international distinctions. GLADIUS, nicknamed the Pixar of the Caribbean, hosts approximately twenty animators, digital artists and programmers. The studio is currently working on their first full feature animated movie for the U.S. Hispanic market and has developed several vanguard projects: video games (kids and adults), an interactive educational module for children, and quality special effects for consumer brands and advertisers.

Heri Martínez emphasizes on the economic development component of the move: “There was a lot of interest and invitations by wonderful cities like Caguas and Mayagüez, but we are extremely honored to announce that in December 2016, San Juan -the Capital City of Puerto Rico- will be the new host of GLADIUS Studios.” The team will continue to work in their current Guaynabo location until December 2016. GLADIUS will soon move to a bigger and bolder location in the second floor of Las Vistas Shopping Village (near Los Paseos), with double the space and modern collaboration labs for VFX (visual effects), VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). The new hub will unite tech entrepreneurs and programmers in the design of Apps and custom VR and Augmented Reality experiences.

The new San Juan headquarters will feature 3 departments in the property: the main studio (GLADIUS STUDIOS), the commercial and visual effects division (GLADIUS FX), and the Research and Development Lab for Emerging Technologies (GLADIUS LABS). With new infrastructure, curated talent and top of the line equipment, GLADIUS will now aggressively seek commercial clients in the continental U.S. and abroad. GLADIUS FX will also provide award winning visual effects, color correction and sound engineering for their clients as part of their post-production “Hollywood” style services.

Martínez de Dios, GLADIUS founder, explains the commercial importance of animation. “Many companies are using 2D or 3D animation as a cost-effective alternative to live action film or commercials. These animations or “explainer” videos can be shared in social media or embedded in a website or a mobile app. Industries that sell intangibles, future projects and services have a difficult time explaining their products; animation is the best medium to effectively communicate their offering in a fun and entertaining way. In the near future, our clients could be advertising agencies, consumer brands, real estate developers, architects, medical and health corporations, R&D teams and IT firms.”

After developing several boot-strapped projects and receiving positive feedback and accolades, the studio discovered a parallel opportunity on delivering Hollywood digital services to commercial clients and recently launched GLADIUS FX. GLADIUS FX, the new commercial division of GLADIUS- will focus on developing 3D and 2D animation, advanced product visualization, digital games, educational training and digital seminars, and custom virtual reality experiences for commercial clients. The studio is currently preparing a pipeline of new projects and strengthening their account management & customer service staff.

Jorge Besú, Business Development Advisor for GLADIUS and editor of CIO Latino is also betting hard on virtual: “PokemonGo has forever revolutionized gaming and consumer digital behavior. This game is currently responsible for mobilizing millions of people into action. PokemonGo is only the beginning! You need to be ready for the “avatarization” of commerce and services. What began slowly (1.7 million registered users) in Second Life more than a decade ago, is moving very fast with Pokemon Go (9.5 million active users). Virtual and augmented reality will soon affect industries like entertainment, advertising, real estate, medical, and even space exploration. Companies need a virtual reality strategy and GLADIUS FX can help them design and deploy it. Is your company ready to make the digital leap? This is the wave to ride NOW!”

Martinez de Dios, who is also EVP of Atlantic University College -Caribbean’s most prestigious digital arts University- wants to employ and retain the best talent and continue promote economic development through creative industries. For both the real and the virtual reality, animators will continue to play a pivotal role. By leveraging the top digital arts talent and the vibrant hacker culture of Puerto Rico, Martínez de Dios bets on the future: “A small island in the Caribbean can become an industry giant; like Roberto Clemente did in the big leagues and like Monica Puig just did in the Brazil Olympics. We all need to dream bigger and work harder!” .