Trinity and Ballyfermot College to collaborate on animated film

5 Jul 2011

Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE), the college that nursed the early career aspirations of Oscar winner Richie Baneham (Avatar), is collaborating with a Trinity College graphics group and virtual world experts to create a new animated film.

Students and graduates of the Ballyfermot College Irish School of Animation (ISA) are to collaborate with Trinity College’s Graphics, Vision and Visualisation Group (GV2) on the Animation Hub project.

The Animation Hub kicked off this week and will last the summer, creating a 30-second animation of high quality with creative and technical elements, including motion capture.

The production, which has received support from the Irish Film Board and Science Foundation Ireland, will take place in two locations – Giant Creative’s studio and Trinity College’s Graphics, Vision and Visualisation (GV2) department at the School of Computer Science and Statistics.

Together, students, academics and the company, Giant Creative, a recent start-up by BCFE graduates, will work on the initiative, which will be completed in August.

In partnership

The animation project forms part of an overall partnership agreement between BCFE and Trinity College that was signed today in the university by the heads of both institutions, BCFE principal Maureen Conway and TCD’s provost Dr John Hegarty, in the presence of students and staff involved in the animation project.

The agreement will enable greater collaborative links in creative practice and teaching between both institutions.

The partnership is part of Trinity College’s Creative Arts, Technologies and Culture initiative, a major initiative Hegarty launched last year to spearhead a dynamic new approach to innovation by promoting the generation of new ideas, creative practice, connections and programmes across the arts and sciences, and between the City and Trinity College.

Commenting on the significance of the partnership, Conway said: “I see this as the beginning of a dynamic partnership between Trinity College and BCFE. This partnership has the potential to grow and develop, affording a wonderful opportunity for the students involved to experience an unlimited creative event via the marrying of art and technology.”

Trinity College’s professor of visual computing, Carol O’Sullivan, said: “The result of this exciting collaboration will be a showcase of the best of both institutions in the area of creative technologies.” 

Gareth Lee, programme leader of the BA (Hons) animation at BCFE added: “The hub will not only expose the students to the practices involved in working on a professionally led project, but will also, through the collaboration, enhance their learning by encouraging them to engage with new, related areas of expertise.”

The team working on the project includes Trinity producer/project manager O’Sullivan; BCFE’s Irish School of Animation (ISA) producer/project manager Gareth Lee; BCFE technical adviser Shane Whelan; directors Giant Creative (BCFE graduates Alex Sherwood, Ben Harper and Sean Mullen); a production team of two BCFE ISA students in animation and modelling; and two Trinity College students in motion capture.

Hegarty wished the team well in the project: “I look forward to viewing the animation on completion of the first project to emanate from this unique partnership between Trinity and Ballyfermot College. Both institutions are producing graduates of world-class calibre in very different learning environments.

“Imagine the impact of having our students join forces in collaborations like this summer animation project. The experience will be invaluable and will spark all forms of new creative influences and dynamics,” Hegarty said.

Photo: A still from the film Avatar

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years