Marty Broski and Aidan Neeson discuss 2D FX and character animation

How much work and effort goes into an episode of an animated series? In a typical production, you can expect to find character and prop designers, background artists, build artists, layout artists, storyboard artists, revisionists, directors… and animators. But audiences may not realize that even among animators, these artists do not have the same role in a production pipeline.

We recently spoke with two artists, working in at the same studio in FX and character animation respectively, about an animation study they collaborated on, their roles and disciplines, as well as how character animation and effects interact.

Aidan Neeson works as a 2D FX Supervisor while Marty Broski is a Lead Animator. Together they work at Lighthouse Studios in Kilkenny. Also? They’re married! You can find their animation study embedded below, along with a transcript from our conversation which was originally broadcast from Toon Boom’s channel on Twitch.


What do your day-to-day roles look like at Lighthouse Studios?

In production, the Lead Animator interacts directly with their team. Our role would be to make sure that all the work our team produces is on-style and everyone is taken care of — that they are technically okay. If they ever have any questions about their scenes, or about the continuity of our storyboards or animatics, we are the first point of contact for them before they reach out to the supervisor or the animation director.

Aidan: My main job as a 2D FX Supervisor is to oversee the work that the team is doing. And kind-of be a bridge between the team and the directors. I interpret the information I receive — the designs and all the creative aspects of the project — and translate that to my team in terms of what they have to do. I make sure they’re getting on okay, review their work, give feedback, and help them tackle any issues they have on their work.

What was your journey to your current roles?

We graduated from college around 2015. Work was a bit scarce at the time, so we had an internship here and there and did little bits of work, short contracts. And then…

Marty: I ended up going to Poland for an internship that was supposed to last half-a-year. Aidan visited me for a week, and the moment he stepped in, they were like, “Come work with us!” Six months turned into two years and we’ve worked in two? Three? Two-and-a-half different studios in Poland. We got a solid training in Toon Boom Harmony because Poland has a very big Toon Boom industry. 

We did some shows, some pilots and a feature film. After that, it was running up to two years of us living in Poland, and we decided it is time to move on. We applied to a few studios in Ireland, and by the time, which was Christmas 2018, we moved back to our home in Ireland, and a few months later we started in Lighthouse.

Aidan: Marty actually heard back first. I was waiting a little bit longer. But during that time, we were able to continue freelancing for the studio in Poland. So we kind-of had this seamless transition between jobs, which was amazing!

Marty: They also got very lucky, because Lighthouse literally set up about

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