Brad Condie’s film credits include “Lilo & Stitch,” “Mulan,” “Pocahontas,” “Brother Bear,” “Atlantis,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Not bad for someone who “tripped into” animation.
Before Condie became an assistant professor of animation in Ball State’s College of Fine Arts, he spent 17 years in the animation industry working on feature films and video games. As a teenager and young adult, Condie’s primary interests were in painting and drawing, which he studied both as a BFA student at The Art Center College of Design in California and as an MFA student at the University of Florida. Then, he lucked into an internship at Walt Disney Animation Studios and found his career.
“The magic of animation just hooked me. You have the ability to make things move and live and breathe.”
Demand for animators is higher than ever, according to Condie. It’s not just in feature films, either. Almost every industry uses animation, from manufacturers to health care providers. It’s common in social media, business presentations, safety materials, and more.
“Animation is ever-present,” he said.
Condie teaches traditional 2D animation, 3D animation, experimental animation, drawing, and character design courses to undergrad and graduate students. He spent seven years as a 3D in-game character animator for Electronic Arts, working on games such as “The Sims 3” and “The Sims 4.” But his expertise in traditional animation was displayed in his 2018 award-winning short film, “A Drawing.”
With the theme of dealing with loss, “A Drawing” pairs pencil-drawn animation on paper with 4K resolution that intimately reveals the artist’s human touch.
“It is my hope that the finished film will be an example to professionals, students, and the public as evidence that a long and storied art form is still alive and relevant in today’s digital world,” Condie wrote on the film’s Facebook page.
He began teaching, he said, out of a desire to give back and share his experience with young artists. Unlike Condie, most of his students begin their academic career with a strong desire to pursue animation.
“They grew up on it,” he said. “They love it. But most don’t understand how it’s made.”
At Ball State, students learn industry standard software and the technical aspects of animating. But what sets the program apart is the focus on creative storytelling, Condie said.
“We want our students to create animation with their own ideas in their own voice. That’s our ultimate goal.”