From Disney to e-learning
When Luke O’Donnell’s mother saw Walt Disney advertising in the local Sydney paper to train animators, he was one of 6000 to respond.
Thanks to his artistic eye and steady hand, he was one of 15 chosen to join the local studio in the early 1990s.
As a then inbetweener, he was responsible for filling in the drawings between key poses to complete the illusion of jumping, running and other actions.
He also cleaned up drawings as part of the animation process to ensure the final picture had a finished look, and worked on cartoons Winnie the Pooh, Darkwing Duck, and Gooftroop.
After becoming a fully fledged animator, O’Donnell dabbled with 3-D programming and soon wrote an animation programme, possible thanks to the personal computer revolution that enabled image rendering a less intensive process.
Known as a ‘‘Pixel Gypsy’’ he went on to work with Mr Big Studios helping with their animated series Ren and Stimpy, and several groundbreaking 3-D movies with Brilliant Digital Entertainment.
It was during these years he also worked for MAD Magazine and was part of a 12-person team that worked on the Australian Film Institute award-winning animation completely GORGEOUS.
Years later, he and his wife Michelle have found themselves living in the Wellington suburb of Tawa.
He couldn’t think of a better place to live and now uses all his experience as a learning and development consultant with the New Zealand Government.
‘‘With my background in lec- turing, design, programming and animation it became a perfect fit,’’ O’Donnell said.
‘‘I develop interesting and easy-to-digest e-Learning modules that complement and enhance the face-to-face training that we do.
‘‘It’s hugely rewarding because I turn difficult subject matter into fun, easy-to-navigate learning objects using illustration, games, motion graphics and video to augment the dull and the mundane.’’
With more sophisticated programmes available, animation has come on in leaps and bounds.
‘‘Technology is steaming ahead. Virtual and augmented reality are no longer a nerdy joy, anybody can get involved.’’
New Zealand Government e-Learning consultant Luke O’Donnell, was a former Disney animator who has retained his sense of flair. Luke O'Donnell