By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Animation?

Animation in its simplest form is an illusion of movement, what you are seeing is not an object or character moving it is a series of still images shown at a rate that creates the illusion of movement. Today most animations are made with computer-generated imagery (CGI) but traditional animation would have been hand-painted or drawn images on transparent celluloid sheets that were then photographed and put into film.

The various types of animation include – traditional animation, 2D animation, 3D animation, motion graphics and stop motion.

An animation is an important form of art that allows us to share and tell stories that communicate emotions and ideas in a way that everyone can understand. The animation is a part of cultures all over the world with traditional forms of animations from all countries becoming more popular and mainstream all the time, a great example of this is Japanese Anime.

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:

  • Animation – the study of traditional and digital techniques to produce animations for commercials, features, the games industry, and other media genres.
  • 3D Modelling & Animation – the study of content creation and models for specific purposes such as game assets or feature animations.
  • Animation Portfolio – a course designed to help students built their animation portfolios and a broad introduction into the subject of animation.
  • 3D Design – the study and practice of three-dimensional design in fields such as product or industrial design, furniture design, interior design, and architecture.

Studying Animation in college

A course in Animation will allow students an opportunity to expand their knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of animation in a broad range of areas. They will gain experience in key elements of animation from 2D animation techniques to 3D Modelling and storyboarding.

Comic Books and Sequential art, character, movement, background, design, layout, scripting, and other principles are all taught through both practical and theoretical work. Students will learn the skills to work independently and also collaboratively on group projects that mimic large-scale animation productions such as feature films.

Through practice and applied design students will develop into confident individuals who produce creative, visually appealing, and imaginative artworks. Live projects, work placements, and group projects, as well as the development of an industry-standard portfolio, will all work to prepare students for work in the Animation industry.

Courses in Animation range from 1 year up to 3 or 4-year degrees. There are part-time or full-time courses and even short courses available, so something to suit the needs of anyone.

Career options

Over recent years there has been significant growth in the Irish animation and illustration industries with talented animators becoming much sought after and career opportunities growing each year.

Opportunities within animated series, feature film, and co-productions have risen steadily with the success of animation studios in Ireland. Ireland has a wealth of talented and technically advanced studios that are creating and producing content for all levels of media – from print and television to video games and mobile platforms.

The skills and creativity used for animation are transferrable and leave a lot of options open to aspiring animators in a wide variety of career paths.

Students may go on to work within the animation industry for a larger studio such as Boulder Media, JAM Media, Brown Bag Films, WETA Workshops, Cartoon Saloon, JibJab, or several others. They may start their own company or become freelancers, or even shift direction and move into other adjacent creative fields such as illustration or web-design.

Related jobs include:

  • Animator
  • Animation Studio Production
  • Animation Development
  • Post Production
  • Illustrator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Concept Artist
  • Games Developer
  • VFX Artist
  • Web Designer
  • Advertising Art Director
  • Exhibition Designer
  • Game Artist

Further study

If you have an undergraduate degree in animation, it’s not usually necessary to embark on further study in this area but some students may choose to so that they can further expand their skills and knowledge in other related fields and define their style.

You could also look for opportunities that allow you to develop complementary skills, such as Business Management and administration if you are interested in running your own business or Graphic Design if you would like to further expand your skills to other mediums and skills.


Are there any particular skills or qualities you need to study Animation?

Time and project management, attention to detail, creativity, good communication, and problem-solving skills are all very important skills or qualities when studying Animation.

You should also be able to work well individually and as a team and make an effort to stay up to date with new technologies and methods as they advance.

What do I need to get started in Animation?

At the very least a mid-range computer and animation software is the minimal that you will need to start learning animation. If you would like to work mostly in 3D animation a more powerful computer will likely be necessary.

For character creation, storyboarding and background design a tablet and stylus are the most commonly used items by animators. Software like Synfig Studio or Adobe Animate CC is a great place to start for 2D design and Blender for 3D.

Where can I study Animation?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Toy Storywas the first animated feature ever generated completely on computers.
  • Animators on How To Train Your Dragonattended flight school to learn flight physics and movements.
  • Anime (pronounced AH-nee-may) is a term for a style of Japanese comic book and video cartoon animation that is popular all over the world.
  • Walt Disney received not only an Oscar award for the cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsbut one large figurine and seven smaller ones.
  • The longest-running anime has over 7,500 episodes.

Mariza Halliday

Landscape Design
Art Portfolio


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