Lily Martin-Babin

Lily Martin-Babin

Junior Animator, Kara Technologies
Bachelor of Design in Digital Design

Lily Martin-Babin may only be at the start of her animation career, but just a year after graduating she has already interned at one of the best digital effects companies, worked for an award-winning start-up and created a film that is a hit at film festivals around the world.

“I feel so fortunate to be able to try a wide range of jobs at the beginning of my career! During my first year at uni, I was lucky enough to be offered a summer internship at Weta Digital, where I got to work within their animation department. I learned so much about the industry, and even got to animate a couple of shots in Avengers: Endgame.

“I now work as a junior animator at Kara Technologies, and being part of a start-up company is super exciting! I make sure that signs, hand shapes and facial expressions recorded through motion capture are translated accurately onto a Sign Language avatar. We always get surprised with interesting opportunities, and I adore being able to help bring more Sign Language accessibility to those who need it.”

Another thing Lily can be particularly proud of is Miro Wine, a film she produced together with her classmate Bree Greally in their last year at university.

“So far, Miro Wine has been featured in six different film festivals around the globe, including local festival Show me Shorts 2021 where, to our surprise, it ended up winning The Department of Post Best NZ Film. It means that our film is now eligible for the 2023 Oscars! Miro Wine is also a finalist in the Best Design Awards 2021.”

A passion for animation and storytelling
She has always been fascinated by storytelling and animation, says Lily who came to AUT to complete a Bachelor of Digital Design, specialising in animation.

“When I saw that AUT offered a degree that featured both storytelling and animation, I knew this was the degree for me! I love challenging my creativity and problem-solving skills, and I wanted to try applying them both into a career. I also loved that AUT’s digital design degree offered a motion capture minor, which was technology that amazed me.”

Lily, who received the Head of School Award for Digital Design at the 2020 art and design showcase, says she had plenty of highlights throughout her time at AUT.

“Being able to experiment with different forms of animation at AUT really opened my eyes to how powerful and moving the medium is. I especially loved being able to use the stop-motion room and equipment. This sparked my love for stop-motion’s quirkiness and materiality, and ultimately led to my desire to feature it in our final-year project.

“A highlight for me were all of the connections with likeminded people I made at AUT. Being able to ask for feedback and troubleshoot problems with them in the computer labs was so helpful to improving my work. I’ve definitely left AUT with lifelong friends.”

Advice for other students
Lily’s advice for other students is simple: make the most of your years of study.

“University is a safe environment to explore ideas and possibilities you may never have the time for again in this busy industry, so make the most of your time at AUT.”

She would also recommend trying out new things.

“Try experimenting with things you haven’t tried before – often you won’t know what you truly enjoy unless you give it a shot.”

*The Digital Design major has been replaced by the Animation, Visual Effects and Game Design major. The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.

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