Motion Graphics Designer
… I’ve always loved cartoons. The only live action films I saw when I was a kid were Jaws and The Shining. I refused to watch anything else.
I’m Motion Graphic Designer here at MakeMatic. I really like working with moving images – and having a full-time creative job. It’s rare for people my age to get that opportunity these days, so I feel pretty lucky to be here contributing. It’s amazing to know that so many educators around the world will make use of the videos that I’ve played a part in making.
I wasn’t very academic as a kid. I went to school in England – I was born in Folkestone, Kent – but we moved to Donegal when I was eight and I was always drawing and hitting on pots and pans. I definitely had a creative side. According to my parents, I started drawing and painting as soon as I could hold a pencil and a paintbrush.
I always loved cartoons. The Simpsons, obviously, and animated movies like Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant, a DreamWorks film. I wasn’t really into Disney when I was younger and I wouldn’t watch anything that had real actors in it. The only live action films I saw when I was a kid were Jaws and The Shining. I refused to watch anything else.
I went to the Letterkenny Institute of Technology, where I studied Visual Communication. I didn’t really know what to do after school, so I asked my neighbour – a former art teacher – and he suggested graphic design. I was already interested in technology, having messed around with music production software, so it seemed like a good idea.
It was nothing like I expected. I actually did pretty terribly in my first year but tried a bit harder in my second and eventually found my feet. I got my first professional job with Learning Pool after an internship there, creating assets for e-courses. I picked up animation skills in my last year at college, when we started using After Effects.
Then I went freelance. I worked as visual designer for a techno club, adding visuals to complement the music, and that went really well. I did a lot of posters, adverts and brand management too and then started working for an American company called Just Happy Tears, which produced personalised poetry books.
I’ve worked on a project for the NBA, a kind of fantasy football platform but for basketball, where I had to design all the numbers and statistics and things like that. I’m also very happy to help out occasionally at Returning Light, an organisation that run concerts every month and donate all their profits to mental health charities.
I’ve been to Copenhagen a few times and I love it. I’m really interested in how they live there, what their creative processes are, and that influences how I work now. I take a lot of inspiration from Scandinavian designers. They’re very much into shape and form. I like their attention to detail and how they let their designs breathe. It’s cost effective and time efficient.
I started working with MakeMatic in the summer of 2017, initially on the BBC Bitesize project. Then I did animations for Playcraft, a world first stage production that brought Minecraft into a theatre setting, and that was incredible.
I can’t do without After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator – the magic three. At the minute, I’m working on a series of films called Think Like A Global Citizen, which is collage-based animation and I love it. I source all the image assets from Shuttershock, cut them out and treat them for video. It takes about five or six days to complete a 2-minute animation like that. Then it’s on to the next one.