What is your name and your current occupation?
Rosanna Lyons visual effects animator on the Simpsons.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before I got into animation I was a student in art college in Ireland so I hadn’t had any serious work before then other than summer jobs picking potatoes or selling shoes… but in between projects and companies I have waited tables and bar tended ..not too crazy really!
I loved working on The Prince Of Egypt for Dreamworks SKG. I also was lucky to have worked on The Simpsons Movie which was crazy hard work but had fun effects to animate.
It just happened really…my first love is
fine art painting..I fell into animation!
I was a fine art student in college in Limerick, Ireland and was head hunted by Sullivan Bluth studios, an American company in Dublin at the time, run by Don Bluth
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I work remotely for The Simpsons (I live in San Francisco) so I usually get a Fedex box at 9am, open it over breakfast and figure out whether I perhaps have to animate fireworks, Homer’s head being blown off or pig swill, I then get to work with pencil and paper, disc and pencil sharpener, usually working 8 hours, breaking for lunch or to walk my dogs.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I LOVE animating fire and water as they’re so abstract, like painting.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I don’t enjoy technical effects like lighting or objects moving which don’t change in shape. I need ebb and flow and variety…
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Not working full time. Animation is a fickle master…sometimes the work pours in, other times it is a long, poor, dry spell. Luckily my significant other is just graduating law school!!! 😉
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Pencil and paper! Oh…and I use the Internet for research on particular effects…like explosions…You Tube is very handy!
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Not so much personally but a Simpsons show I worked on won an Emmy and “The Runaway Brain” short I worked on for Disney was nominated for an Oscar.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Being laid off from Dreamworks was very hard. I came to this country to work in LA and spent six years at Dreamworks. I was laid off with only two weeks severance pay. They got rid of a lot of folks who were not as into the technological aspects of the work…about 80% of us were laid off at that time mostly because we weren’t super with Maya or other very technical programs. Life was very hard for a long time after that as I couldn’t do much else other than animate traditionally so I learned how to bar tend! To me, when you are a fine artsy person, learning to animate in such a different way, using technology is as hard as motorcycle maintenance!
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
It’s far more than just a hobby but my original and true love is my painting. I love to paint the figure. I am working on a series of paintings right now which focus on the figure; contrasting materials, vibrant colour and curves and volumes. When I was out of work, I began taking on commissions from clients far and wide. I painted dogs in a classical style, people and even reproductions of famous paintings.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am recently obsessed with ballet. I took it as a kid and returned to classes a few months ago. I sometimes take up to seven classes a week! I am even taking pointe classes. I ADORE it and have even started to paint ballet feet! I am planning a recital for my family back in Ireland when I go to visit soon!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be as good at what you do as possible but have a back up plan! Go to law school! 😉 LOL