* Former Industrial Light + Magic visual effects supervisor Ellen Poon has announced the launch of DFreedomZone, a San Francisco-based company devoted to creating branded content using 3-D animation technology. Others involved in the venture include Stephen Dwyer, formerly of Goodby, Silverstein and Venables Bell, who will serve as media strategist; Steve Ramirez, former VP-business development and marketing at Wild Brain; and ILM alum David Valentin, who will serve as head of business development.
* Executive producer Steve Schofield and creative directors Chris Jones and Loni Peristere have exited Radium/Los Angeles to form effects house Zoic. The trio, who worked together at Digital Magic and POP before joining Radium two years ago, are known for their working relationship with Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and the new sci-fi series Firefly, a relationship that will continue at Zoic. While at Radium, the team also handled effects work for "The Hire," BMW's award-winning series of online shorts.
* In New York, broadcast design house Ultraviolet has merged with 3-D animation shop Phactory Productions to form UV Phactory.