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Meet Lead Animator Andy Doyle #Interview

Meet Andy Doyle, our entrepreneurial Lead Animator! When he's not busy dabbling in all sorts of everything, you'll find him reviewing animations and making sure everything is in tip-top shape! We chatted with him for a few minutes to discuss how he got into animation and what he loves about it!

How did you get into animation?

I've always loved drawing, from a very young age, and knew that my career would end up somewhere in the artistic field.

I discovered the animation course in Ballyfermot when my older brothers began going there and ended up doing a summer course in animation there when I was 17, a year before I left school.

I actually met some of the good friends I still have today on that course and we all found ourselves back there one year later as fully-fledged animation students.

How long have you worked in the animation industry?

I've been working in the industry for over ten years now. My first job was working for free on a show that unfortunately never came to light and then I got work with a games company in Nottingham in England as a freelance animator and went from there.

What’s your current role and what does it involve?

I'm currently a Lead Animator. This involves overseeing the work of our two other animators in my team to make sure everything's working well before sending their work onto the Director. We will discuss what will suit each animation sequence best before starting and then I get sent the footage of their animations for feedback at different stages until we nail it.

The main objective is to make sure the standards are high so that the various directors can hopefully approve animations first time as often as possible and keep things on track, enabling us to meet our deadlines.

I also attend technical meetings where we decide what's needed in terms of new animation for upcoming episodes and how best to approach them.

I also still get to animate still… which is a bonus!

What are your biggest influences/inspirations?

My two older brothers becoming animators before me were a huge influence. We come from a pretty artistic household.

When I was a teenager, seeing them working over in England as animators in the computer games industry, I knew this was what I was going to do!

What’s your favourite tool to use and why?

My main tool of the trade is Maya. I used to use 3ds Max for many years, especially while working in the games industry, until Maya started taking over. For me, Maya is a fair bit nicer to use and the graph editor is infinitely better than the one in 3ds Max.

The graph editor has become a trusted friend in the past few years since I fully embraced and got to grips with it. It can help speed up your work immensely and give you much smoother animations once you really know what you're doing.

What advice would you give someone considering getting into animation?

Spend a lot of time getting a good reel together. Don’t worry about taking your time, there’s plenty of time for working.

You should do stuff you enjoy too, it's supposed to be an enjoyable process so don’t get too bogged down.

I was a bit of a messer in college and didn’t leave with a good showreel. I regretted that as soon as I went about finding a job in the big bad world. Spend time and do the best job you can on it, making sure to get good critical feedback from other animators. Your parents will always love your work but they’re not the ones you need to impress in the grand scheme of things.

Don’t be afraid to take criticism on the chin, you'll notice it will improve your work greatly and prepare you well for working in the industry, it's not good to be too precious about your work.

What do you like most about working in animation?

It's definitely something a bit different. It's great to be doing something creative and then feeling rewarded by seeing my work on TV and having millions of kids around the world watching our shows.

What’s been the most challenging thing about working in animation?

Working to very tight deadlines can be quite challenging. TV has a very quick turnaround, as opposed to film work, so you have to be able to get up to speed and keep that momentum going forward to see a project through.

Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?

Way too many things to have time to enjoy most of them!

I do some live-action film work and I love it!  I would like to pursue this a bit more in the future.

I love really anything to do with design and creativity. I have a couple of online businesses I'm hoping to get up and running in the not-too-distant future.

I've got a head full of ideas that need doing at some point! I dabble in a small bit of photography too. I've always loved cars, both in terms of design and engineering, and anything to do with architecture is right up my street too!

Are you interested in getting into animation? Keep an eye on our Behind-the-Scenes and Tutorials pages for more interviews, #TopTips and #AMAs!

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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