Certificate in Design for Character

9 Dec 2023
 - 3 Feb 2024





Level 9





What is Design for Character?

IADT, in partnership with Greasán na Meán – Skillnet, welcomes applications to an industry-focused, practice-based postgraduate certificate course for people seeking to upskill their design and craft in technical arts for film and performance.


If you work in a props department, art department, or are a freelance-maker for film, theatre or performance you will benefit from this course. Learn advanced professional skills in realising your designed objects as physical objects using industry-standard mould making, casting, sculpture and fabrication techniques.


This studio-based course will focus on the design and sculpting of characters for screen and performance. You will follow a design process to realisation including character design, sculpting, moulding, casting, painting, hair-punching, and final dress to create a realistic 3D silicone bust.

All materials and techniques are to the highest professional and industry standard. Our course is completely intensive and immersive allowing you to upskill, with excellent training and supervision, into highly lucrative and skilled professional areas.


In this course, you will:
• Build on your existing skills to produce a 3D silicone bust suitable for a shoot, based on your own character designs.
• Follow a design process to professional realisation from initial character design, sculpting, moulding, casting, painting, hair-punching, and final dress to create a final artefact.
• Produce professional shots of your artefact in a studio set-up suitable for an industry portfolio.


Venue: This course will be delivered in Galway (exact location will be confirmed soon).


Note: course is subject to validation.

Who is this course for?

You will need some previous experience in design and sculpting for screen and performance. This is not a course for beginners. You may be a graduate from 3D Design/Modelmaking, Design for Stage and Screen, Art, Animation, or a related discipline.


We welcome people already working in special effects, prop departments, art departments, prosthetics or makeup for screen industries. Additionally, this course will be suitable for people working in other areas of performance design such as spectacle arts and festival arts.

Future Careers

The film industry in Ireland is urgently seeking employees with professional industry standard skills that this workshop provides.


The skills you will learn – including sculpting, moulding, casting, hair punch, and painting – are directly applicable for jobs in character and creature design, 3D makeup (prosthetics), puppetry, and prop making. These skills are also transferable to other disciplines, for example in visual arts practice and sculpting.

Dates + Times

There will be 4 online sessions (Microsoft Teams) :
– Introductory Session: Saturday, 9th December 2023 (10am – 11am)
– Design Process I – Establishing Design: Saturday, 16th December 2023 (10am – 1pm)
– Design Process II – Consolidating Design: Saturday, 4th January 2024 (6 pm – 9pm)
– Design Process III – Finalising Design: Wednesday, 11th January 2024 (6 pm – 9pm)


There are also 16 days in person in studio (in Galway) from 9am to 6pm:
– Sculpt: 15th – 19th January 2024
– Mould, Cast, Clean, Seaming: 22nd – 26th January 2024
– Paint, hair-punch, finish: 29th January – 2nd Feb 2024
– Photoshoot: Saturday, 3rd February 2024

What are the Entry Requirements?

  • A Level 8 Award in related disciplines such as 3D Design, Modelmaking, Design for Stage and Screen, Art, Animation or
  • Professional equivalent/relevant industry experience. Applicants may also be considered provided that they can demonstrate Honours Degree equivalence, which can be verified through our RPL [recognition of prior learning] process.


Are there any Materials/Equipment Requirements?

All tools and materials will be supplied.

If you have sculpting tools, please feel free to bring them. You will need to have your reference and Designs printed out on A3.

How do I apply?

We would like to hear from you as to why you would like to do this course and your suitability for it. Remember that this is not a beginner’s level course, so you will need to provide some evidence of your previous work and ability.

Please apply HERE

On the application form you will be asked to upload:
1. A link to your digital portfolio. Please be clear what is yours and what is collaborative work in your portfolio.
2. A very brief video (max. 2 minutes long, in an MP4 or.MOV format) to give us a sense of who you are and what your motivation is in taking this workshop. You can show us some of your designs or a finished artefact if you like.


Application Deadline:

IADT operates a rolling admissions policy for graduate taught courses. An application is incomplete until you provide all required items on the checklist (including the application fee, if applicable).

Generally, courses will remain open to applications until all places are filled.


What are the Fees?

Fees will be confirmed here soon.

Our Lecturer says...

My name is Paul McDonnell and it has been my job for the past 25 years to make characters come to life. It has always been my dream to create believable characters. I have created creatures and characters for the film, TV, Animation and Spectacle arts industries.  In this time, I also had the pleasure to teach and share the skills I have learned. If you would like to completely immerse yourself into creating a Hyper-realistic character join us at this course.


For more information on Paul and his work, please visit:




Contact us

If you have any query on this course, please email Elena Somoza – CFA Coordinator at IADT: iadt@creativefutures.ie


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