An Interview With 3D Animation Artist Josiah O’Keeffe And His Latest Project

Josiah O’Keeffe

Hi Josiah, it’s great meeting you. Let's talk about your background and when you first got into graphic art/3D animation:

My background is in the corporate world. I wasn’t able to secure any work with my Bachelor of Animation and 3D Modeling, so I swiftly moved into a customer support role in the automotive industry. I stayed there for a few years and switched to the childcare industry for a while after that. Ultimately, I wasn’t creatively fulfilled with my work, so I started my online presence and identity, ‘Smeaf’, to try and break out of the 9–5 workspace.

I first got into 3D animation way back in 2012 when attending an internship with a Brisbane based game development studio ‘Lightmare Studios’. They are still running to this day, and it was definitely a pivotal moment to where I am today.

What do you remember the most about your first job?

I got my first job freelancing late 2020, this was a simple 3D model of a portable gym blender cup. It was definitely a learning curve, working with my first ever client, but I remember how rewarding it was to see the final results of the process online.

An example of the works is below:

My first major job in the industry was also through a freelance gig. I wasn’t seeking out the work and I was approached by a company in Hungary named ‘Liquicoll’. My first thoughts were, “This is amazing!” as I was just posting my works online and multiple companies were reaching out to me to do freelance work with them. The job was to create a short advertisement for the company's main beverage. After a month of back and forth, the ad was approved and broadcast on television/festivals.

You can view it below:

Who are some of the artists or work that inspired you growing up?

I really like the work of Aaron Blaise; I watched a lot of his content on drawing when I was younger. The main inspiration would definitely have to be Disney and Pixar.

When you create animation, what type of planning goes into each project you are working on?

Depending on the project, it is almost always first drafted with Story Boards. Storyboards, even for the simplest of animations or shortest projects set you up for success. Storyboards are very rough sketches of the story beats and each shot of the animation.

This helps you visualize and set-up the specific shots you are going to create and see how it flows. This then allows you to get immediate feedback from your client and land on something they are happy with, before spending weeks/months working on a shot that they either want you to revise to something else or even worse, won’t be used.

Tell us about your business “Level Up Academii” and also the free course you are offering for a month through SkillShare:

Level Up Academii is the brand I am launching within the next 6–12 months. It’s an online school aiming to deliver industry ready skills to students and to help them achieve masterful portfolios.

Everything a student would need to break into the industry and go from zero to hero will be taught at Level Up Academii, all while being low-cost and affordable. We currently have a waiting list and anyone who joins, will receive a massive 50% off at launch. If you’d like to join, you can visit:

I also teach on SkillShare, this is a curated educational platform. Users pay a monthly subscription to gain access to 1000’s of classes, and I currently have 8 in depth classes available through their platform. The free-month program is to give people who are interested, a taste of what SkillShare has to offer.

You can use the link below, to try out my classes for free and see what it’s all about!

What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on my Edutainment Youtube Channel “Smeaf’. I create short-form beginner tutorials that are more-so aimed towards the younger demographic. This is mainly to try and convert them to learning the skillset of 3D and VFX, as it is a booming industry right now and my passion in life to spread the joy of this art form and teach as many people as possible.

My largest project to date is ‘Level Up Academii’. This is a massive undertaking and is aimed towards breaking down the barrier to entry for University/College style teaching.

What would be your dream collaboration or production be to work on, if you had a chance?

Honestly, it would have to be a Pixar Animation Studios project, they are truly the pinnacle of animation and they have pioneered so many wonderful techniques and technologies to achieve such amazing films and animation.

Thanks for your time, Josiah and best of luck on your career path!



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Hollywood 411

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Entertainment News, Features & Interviews by Amber Claire.