Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Juliette O'Brien 

BA [Hons] 3D Design Modelmaking + Digital Art

Hi! My name is Juliette and I'm an artist and modelmaker based in Dublin. My interests include miniature modelmaking, sculpting in large and small scale, resin molding, character design and world design. Aside from modelmaking I enjoy sewing, crochet and painting. I combine these skills and my interest in mythology and history to make detailed models that tell a story. I'd love to work in stop motion animation or film making sets and props.


I was initially inspired by a book I had as a kid about Norwegian trolls. It described the troll as “a walking forest and mountain.” This image has stuck with me along with the illustrations by John Bauer and Theodore Kittelson.
I brought this idea to life in the form of a miniature set for a stop motion fantasy film. The film will be set on the back of a giant troll that has been asleep for thousands of years and has merged with the landscape and become a mountain. A small, isolated village has set up residence on his back. They worship the troll as their protector but also live in fear that one day he could wake up and destroy their whole village. As well as being an interesting concept visually, I wanted to explore the relationship between humans and nature. The tenuous balance between being in awe and terror of nature and how we tend to personify it in order to comprehend natural disaster. The villagers are dependent on the troll as their safe haven but are also at his mercy should he decide to stand up…

NieR: Automata Empathy, Emotion and Ethics

This thesis focuses on the 2017 video game NieR: Automata directed by Yoko Taro. I explore how this game has a unique emotional effect on the player and shapes their sense of empathy and ethical thinking through character design, gameplay and subversion of tropes.
I discuss the design of the main characters and enemies, how these designs create biases in the player and how these biases are eventually upended as the game progresses. This subversion of tropes forces the player to think more about the characters and learn to empathise and understand them better. I also explore the gameplay, how it creates a strong connection between the player and characters and how the fictional world itself is fully integrated into the game medium.
The game ends with a final decision the player must make that puts what they’ve learned into practice. This final decision affects the player outside the game and has an effect on other players as well. By bleeding into the player’s real world, it encourages them to take what they’ve learned and apply it to their life. The tendency to put others in boxes and demonise them based on assumptions and stereotypes is the basis of most conflicts in life. This ‘othering’ is portrayed in NieR through the hatred between the two opposing groups. By breaking down the differences between the two it urges players to do the same in their everyday lives. It pushes the boundaries of what video games can be and is an exciting example of how games may progress to become moral guides and teachers.