3D Animation Ireland: A Guide on What You Need to Know

3D Animation Ireland: A Guide on What You Need to Know


Are you a creative talent looking for a path into 3D animation? If so, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a guide to the basics of becoming a 3D animator and how to get started in this exciting, innovative field.


Intro to 3D Animation

3D animation offers new and very cool career opportunities for creative and artistic individuals looking for challenging roles in a very dynamic industry. Not least because the potential applications of 3D animation are constantly expanding, so much so that there’s likely to be careers in this field that we can’t even envisage today – as we move towards a future that fully embraces the possibilities that 3D animation offers. This ranges from things like ultra-realistic animated games and movies to augmented reality for marketing purposes and immersive experiences for exercising, for example. We already interact with 3D animations daily – on TV, on our devices and on functional screens like the self check-in stations at airports,  but the possibilities into the future are ever-expanding.

If you want to get into a career in 3D animation, you’ll need a degree or certification from an institution with an accredited program. Pulse College offers both!

What is 3D Animation?

Before you dive headfirst into planning an education and a career in animation, you need to get a firm grasp on what’s involved in 3D animation. 3D itself is a commonly recognised abbreviation for three-dimensional. Images or objects rendered in three-dimensional animation will give the illusion of being solid or having depth. 3D animators imagine, conceptualize, design, develop three-dimensional art for use in a wide variety of applications.

3D animation has broad applications in the film and gaming industries as well as lesser-known opportunities in fields like marketing, architectural design, education, and forensics, to name but a few. While some of these fields may require additional education beyond a 3D animation degree or certification, it certainly shows us that a career in 3D animation can take you in many different and interesting directions. Not only that, but both the technology itself continues to evolve, as does the potential applications for 3D animation, so it’s safe to say the demand for skilled creatives in this field is definitely on the rise.

There are also already well-established career paths and specialities in specific applications for 3D animation such as:

  • Product design
  • Game design
  • Special effects
  • Virtual reality
  • & more!

What Software is Typically Used for 3D Animation?

Professional 3D animation requires high-quality industry standard software. Software is constantly being updated and new platforms and features are becoming more advanced as the technology evolves – which you’ve probably noticed; look how 3D animations have progressed and become much more realistic even in your own life-time. So you can see why it’s important to stay up to date on the most used tools, because in this field every day really is a school day – so you need to embrace learning and be prepared to constantly upskill yourself.  But its not all hard work – if you love what you do; you’ll love all the learning too.

Autodesk products are typically used industry-wide by 3D animators. To become a skilled animator, you’ll have to become familiar with the main software products used in the marketplace and where they’re best used within the animation process. Different software tools have specific capabilities e.g. to create stunning visual effects or maybe to build characters and scenes etc. But luckily you can find most of these features in one piece of cool kit – Autodesk Maya.

While it’s absolutely possible to learn the basics of 3D animation with a lesser-known software, it serves students best to learn on the software they’ll use most in the real-world.  This way you are prepared to jump in and get to creating when you land your first 3D animation role. When producing animations commercially with a team – you’ll learn quickly that production time is money. So, animators risk falling behind if they have to learn the quirks of a new software when they’re supposed to be immersed in the animation process. For this reason, you can save yourself a lot of stress by getting familiar with the industry standard tools through structured learning.

What is the 3D Animation Process?

While the 3D animation process can vary depending on the industry and application, there are generally 6 steps involved. Let’s take a quick look at these and see what exactly a career in animation may look like:

1.      Conceptualizing & Storyboarding

The first step to creating a 3D animation is to use your imagination. Let your mind fly as you begin to develop a concept for an object, character, setting, effect, or combination of these elements. Determining the key features of the intended animation helps create a clear vision and defines tasks through the next steps.

Then it’s time to capture all your creativity in visual format so that you can communicate the concept. You can do this step in either 2D or in a very crude 3D representation in storyboard form. This allows you to identify the way that the object or scene should progress.             

2. Creating or Sourcing Reference Material

The next step to creating a three-dimensional animation is to find or create reference materials. This step plays a key role in helping the animator more accurately determine appropriate scale, as well as get a more realistic idea of the mechanics of organic movements that would occur in real life.

The reference material should be photos and videos of real-life figures in action. If you can’t find footage that helps you picture the scene or action you had in mind, create your own!

3. Posing & Blocking

After the necessary reference material has been sourced, it’s time to move on to posing and blocking. Posing consists of getting your character or object into the key poses that drive the action of the scene. Once the key poses are planned, connect them by choreographing the movements between them that will get the character from one pose to the next.

4. Splining

The splining step of the animation process allows the computer to fill in any of the minute gaps between the manually created poses and choreography. By doing this you create a more seamless, natural look. It’s not a necessary step for every animation, but it makes a drastic difference in how realistic an animation looks.

5. Smoothing

Further perfecting is still necessary after splining an animation. In this step, animators are working out any kinks and making sure the animation runs smoothly and naturally from start to finish. It may be necessary to rework some poses or repeat steps three and four to get everything looking as clean and complete as possible.

6. Finalise Details & Complete the Rendering

After working through all of the previous steps and ensuring the animation is smooth from beginning to end, adding, or editing minute details completes the animation. This is where all of the fine-tuning happens to really bring an object or character to life – and then the process is complete!

Learn 3D Animation at Pulse College!

If you want to get into this exciting and creative industry, then set yourself up for success with the skills you need. At Pulse college we offer a variety of animation courses, from full time to part time and everything in between. Check out two of our most popular courses below:

BA Degree in Animation

This is a 3-year degree delivered by practising industry professionals, which ensures you are learning the skills industry wants and using the most up to date tools. This course was designed to cover the full range of topics under the animation umbrella, from drawing skills to 3D modelling. A key aspect to this course is that you will be building up your professional portfolio as you learn!

Register now or learn more about this course!

Certificate in Animation:

In this 1-year full time course you can expect to learn the full animation process. From preproduction, production and postproduction in both 2D and 3D animation. While you build up your practical skills, you will also be developing your knowledge in the theory of animation. This certificate offers the perfect gateway into animation for beginners in this field or those who aren’t fully sure if this is the path for them.

Register now or learn more about this course!

A Career in 3D Animation is Waiting for You!

Are you ready to join a rapidly expanding profession and create the 3D animations of the future? Join the next wave of ground-breaking animators by enrolling in one of the best 3d animation courses in Ireland! You could play a vital role in creating cutting-edge, inspiring animations.