The Ice Age series has become a pop culture staple over the past decade, thanks to memorable characters like Manny, Sid, Diego, and of course, Scrat. Fans can follow the latest adventures of this cast of prehistoric animals when they return to theaters today with the fourth entry, Ice Age: Continental Drift.
The film was once again developed by Blue Sky Studios, and we’re proud to see that three Full Sail graduates were part of the team – Stephen Jenkins (Computer Animation), Daniel Naughton (Film), and Drew Winey (Computer Animation). Catching up with us before release was Dan Naughton, who worked as a lighting artist, and welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the series.
“It was such a great project to be on because I’ve been watching them for years,” he says. “Right off the bat I was lighting Manny and Sid, then I had about a dozen shots with Scrat, which was really cool.”
Since starting his career in 2009, Dan has jumped between animated features and visual effects for live action, with previous credits on Thor and Tangled. Moving to Blue Sky in 2011, his experience on Ice Age may have just solidified animation as his favorite creative outlet.
“What I like about animated films is you can look at different sequences and say ‘that’s a Dan shot,’ or whoever worked on it, because you’re able to leave your mark,” he says. “Also, you get to hear feedback from the kids who love these movies. That’s a great feeling.”
Getting your work in front of an audience is rewarding for any artist. The difference for Dan is that Ice Age: Continental Drift is about to be seen by millions of people across the world. It’s admittedly humbling, and welcome motivation as he preps his next feature.
“It’s really fun when you suddenly see a shot you did on TV,” he says. “I love all the marketing stuff, then to hear people talking about it. It’s always exciting because this is exactly what I wanted to do, work in movies.”