Drawing inspiration from the Celtic Tigger
When people thought computer-generated animation was going to make traditional animation obsolete, the focus shifted back to hand-drawn features. “It all mixes and matches. The principles that you learn in animation still apply – once you have the basics you can move it on to anywhere you like.”
Brendan McCarthy (23) is a first-year animation student in Ballyfermot. He got the animation bug after doing work experience in Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny, makers of the Oscar-nominated feature The Secret of Kells.
“My lecturer says you can make a good living out there. He jokes that animators have loads of money because they have no time to spend it.”
Most of the students I speak to at ISA Con agree that you need patience, skill and attention to detail to be an animator – but you also need to specialise. With studios becoming bigger, there’s an increasing need for animators in particular niche roles, whether it’s motion-capture, 3-D modelling or knowing all about anatomy and biology so you can create believable flora and fauna.
For students setting out on a two- or four-year course in animation, the big question must be: will the ink run dry for animators in Ireland? “It has the potential for that, but I think it’s a more robust industry than it was back in the days of Sullivan Bluth,” says Prof Lee. “It is a fantastic time for animators. There are a lot of opportunities out there. The studios are good, and they’re doing good work.
“My bugbear would be that not enough is being invested in education and training, which is a big part of bringing people into employment. What bothered me about the recent Budget was, yes, they extended the section 481 tax incentive, which was brilliant, but at the same time they’re cutting education. So the feeder for that industry that they want to keep going is being cut. They’re not thinking widely enough about the industry. The industry has the potential to grow and create even more jobs. And the talent is definitely there.”