The Orphanage, the Californian visual effects house best known for creating outstanding VFX for films such as Sin City and The Host has closed -- apparently the latest victim of the global economic downturn that last week claimed the UK's The Designers Republic.

The news comes to us from the blog of co-founder and VFX guru Stu Machewitz -- interviewed by us here in happier times. He says that "today I had the heart-wrenching task of joining my co-founders Scott Stewart and Jonathan Rothbart in announcing that The Orphanage will be suspending operations indefinitely."

Machewitz notes the company's history of technological innovation -- which ranged from creating the VFX-&-greenscreen-driven look of Sin City to inventing the colour grading system that became Red Giant's Magic Bullet Suite plug-in. He also charts it history in expanding from VFX creation into producing films, commercials and animations.

He also pays tribute to all of the VFX artists that he's worked with over, ending with a "message to the visual effects industry: You will never find a better employee than a former Orphan."