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Animation has grown exponentially in Ireland, and the country is internationally recognised for the quality of its animators. Dubliner Richard Baneham won an Oscar for his work on the film Avatar, and the Kilkenny-based studio Cartoon Saloon gave us the Oscar-nominated The Secret of Kells. This is a of the great legacy left by the 1980s and early 1990s, when Irish-based production companies were behind major cinema releases. These include An American Tail and The Land Before Time.


Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), Limerick Institute of Technology (Tipperary), the Irish School of Animation (ISA) in Ballyfermot College of Further Education, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology run Degree-level courses .

IADT’s four-year BA (Honours) in explores all aspects of an animation project and is highly practical. The course tackles subjects such as Computer Generated Imagery, Visual Design, Life Drawing, and Post Production.

LIT Tipperary’s degree in Digital Animation Production prepares students for a wide variety of careers. These include special effects, production, graphic design, illustration, 3D modelling, and video and audio production.

School leavers cannot apply directly for the degree programme in ISA. Instead, two other ISA courses facilitate progress. The one-year Animation Drawing Studies is a good introduction with an emphasis on drawing skills. School leavers and graduates of Animation Drawing Studies can apply for ISA’s two-year Higher National Diploma.

Dundrum College of Further Education, Castlebar College of Further Education and St John’s Central College in Cork all offer good one-year introductory courses for budding animators.

Most animation courses require applicants to attend an interview and submit a portfolio of selected work. You should contact the relevant colleges for details of what that they are looking for.

The Work

Animators are artists. They draw a series of pictures – frames – to make a character or scene come to life. They also need to convey personality, mood, and emotion.

A team of animators involves several people working together in different roles. Storyboard artists visualise written scripts by drawing out what each scene will look like onscreen. Layout artists work on the technical aspects of an animation. This includes how and where shadows fall, changes in colour and light, and the varying contrasts and textures. Animation assistants concentrate on colour and backgrounds. Finally, directors oversee the entire animation process.

Computer-aided processes have become increasingly important. However, hand-drawing still has a place. In fact, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast made use of both methods.

It is possible for animators to find employment in a number of arenas, such as computer gaming, advertising, or web design. is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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