After You and the recreation of an iconic Dublin building

February 21, 2013 · 8 comments

in Guest Bloggers

by Damien O’Connor, Writer/Director of After You

In early 2010 I was awarded a grant by the Irish Film Board, RTÉ, The Arts Council and the BAI to make my short animated film After You.

The idea for the film was to tell the tale of a Dublin doorman over sixty years. The storyline allowed me an opportunity to show off the great buildings of Dublin and as anyone who lives here will know, I was spoilt for choice. The first decision was to bypass the better known buildings. As lovely as the GPO, Trinity and College Green are, I wanted to show the less recognisable greats – Newman House on St. Stephen’s Green (tweaked for technical reasons, it now represents the hotel in the film); 46 Fitzwilliam Square (which is rumoured to have the most photographed door in Dublin); the sweeping curve of Harcourt street; Grattan Bridge with the Sunlight Chambers building opposite; and last but not least, my favourite building in Dublin: The National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street.

Library Towers

National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street, Dublin. That very fancy gateway is now the entrance to Dáil Éireann in Leinster House. The roadway is rather better paved, and there are fewer carriages parked outside. NLI ref. L_ROY_02501

With public access to the front courtyard between the two wings limited, I had to rely on photography and archive material to begin drawing. The first stage was to sketch out a layout for 3D computer set. Again, slight changes had to be implemented for technical reasons – the railings in front of the building would have blocked the characters from view and detailing on the roof and pillars had to be simplified.

NLI Drawing 1

Copyright Damien O'Connor

This was the blueprint for the Library set modeller, Eoin Kavanagh. He took this drawing and began the painstaking task of modelling. Fortunately the repetitive patterns adopted by the architect Thomas Newenham Deane made the task somewhat easier, but every element still had to be made into a wireframe replica.

NLI Drawing 2

Copyright Cel' Division

The wireframe creates a virtual surface. When the wireframe is hidden, the grey scale surface remains. This allows us to see a physical representation of the 3D set and tweaks in geometry etc. can be carried out at this stage:

NLI Drawing 3

Copyright Cel' Division

Only the front façade of the building was modelled to keep costs down.

Once the grey scale set has been finalised, every element in the set has to have a texture applied to give the impression of stone, copper etc.

NLI Drawing 4

Copyright Cel' Division

NLI Drawing 5

Copyright Cel' Division

This basic textured version was used for the animation stage of production. Once the animation was complete, the scene then had to be lit to give it depth and richness and this is the version seen in the film.

NLI Drawing 6

Copyright Cel' Division

To give an idea of how long all the above takes, the seven minute film had a crew of twenty plus people based at Brown Bag Studios in Dublin, and took about two years to produce from start to finish. Showing 60 years in the life of a city was an ambitious proposition, but I hope I have done the featured buildings justice. As the film travels around the world on its festival circuit, I am delighted to be able to tell audiences that the featured buildings are real locations and I encourage people to seek them out to enjoy them in reality.

After You

Dublin doorman, Eli, star of After You. Copyright Cel' Division


Bean an Phoist says:  Have a look at the After You trailer – I defy you not to fall in love with Eli the doorman and with the beautiful buildings of Dublin (not just Library Towers!). If you’d like to catch this small, but perfectly formed film, it will be on RTÉ TWO on Monday 4 March – Shortscreen at 11.25 pm.

P.S.  After You was nominated for an Irish Film and Television Award 2013 and was screened as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival on 20 February at the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin.

Leave a Comment

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Felix Larkin February 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

Exquisite. Can’t wait to see the full film.


Bean an Phoist February 22, 2013 at 11:08 am

It is beautiful, Felix! Set your magic box to record RTÉ TWO on Monday 4 March – Shortscreen at 11.25 pm. to catch the whole thing…


Póló February 25, 2013 at 9:32 am

And me.

Never realised how imposing the façade of Library Towers was until I saw this model, and isn’t it beautifully crafted. I am more used to this, which actually looks like a side entrance.


Póló March 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Have now looked at the full thing on the RTÉ player.

Beautiful piece of work.

But it is very sad that all the work that went into it is only encapsulated in a seven minute animation. Is there any way that all the work which went into modelling the Library Towers façade, for example, can be reused for other purposes. Shame if it can’t.


Damien O'Connor March 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Hi Póló, thanks for the comment and delighted you liked the film. Regarding further uses for the model – I do think it would make a lovely postcard, which the OPW could then sell in the gift shop! Whenever I’m abroad I tend to look for something different with regards to souvenirs etc and suspect this would fit the bill nicely. Other than that it is, unfortunately, pretty much a once off deal though. Thanks again, Damien


Dolores Keaveney February 21, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Absolutely fabulous……if only some of my books could be used in animation….


Bean an Phoist February 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

No doubt they’d be lovely, Dolores! P.S. Checked what we have of yours on our catalogue, and we don’t seem to have your Jenny books, either as gaeilge nó as béarla:

Any chance you’d like to send a copy of both Jenny books to our New Books Department (and why not sign them while you’re at it) so that all of your works will be part of our national collection??



Damien O'Connor March 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Thanks Dolores, lovely to hear. Apologies for the delay in replying, only realized I could reply to posters today!


Previous post:

Next post: