Making the animation that dances, Tyson Ibele and MAKE learn to use anything and everything to grab attention.
Tyson Ibele knew that the best way to work in CG was to do it. The only way to learn CG was to read everything, ask everyone questions, and do as much as he could, learning along the way. He originally introduced himself to 3D animation using a freeware program called Anim8or.
Now working at MAKE, learning the runes of rendering, the moves of modeling, lighting and shading are all part of the trade, in addition to animation. This in-house test project is an example of what is possible when a small CG animation company wants to show it’s colors.
Tyson’s personal preference has always been character animation. “I haven't gotten to do too much ‘actual acting animation’ in a while,” says Ibele, “but I LOVE doing it when I get a chance.”
Tyson was bitten by the animation "bug" after he completed his first short film called "Lester's Big Day" in 2001 that made the rounds at some high school film contests, winning some awards in the process. “It's too laughable to actually show anyone these days, but it was the first piece I completed where I told a story through a character's non-verbal interactions with his environment,” explains Tyson, “...and I thought being able to do that was both fun and fascinating.”
In his earliest days working with CG, Tyson admits spending more time playing around texturing/lighting/modeling than animating overall. “I think that's also helped because it gave me a grasp of all the different areas that are wrapped into creating an animated "shot", he says. “Had I simply studied animation, I'm sure my skill-set would be much smaller in the other areas today.”
Tyson did the majority of his learning through constant practice and trial-and-error methods. He truly was passionate about CG animation, before he could do it himself. “I've read a few third party tutorials online and what-not, but for the most part I've brute-forced myself to where I am now by relying only on the trusty 3ds Max help files and tutorials that come bundled with the program,” he says.
“That being said, an outside factor that's helped me progress a LOT though, is the constant inspiration I get from other animators' work I see on the web. I'm always downloading new animations to check out from places like CGTalk, and studying how other animators make things move has helped me apply those same fundamental principles to my own work. I'm basically self-taught since I've never received any formal training.”
Tyson Ibele is fairly upfront when it comes to describing a preferred visual style. Mixing ‘cartoony’ with ‘totally realistic, he seems a jack of all styles. “Sometimes I might want to make something totally wacky using funny looking characters and colors, and sometimes I might want to have a go making something look totally real, then sometimes it's both! As long as it looks COOL though, I'm happy with it! [in other words ....I can't really pin-point my actual "style"...because I don't think I have one!]”
Ibele’s first official ‘give-me-the-money’ CG job was about two and a half years ago. “I did a series of short animations for a school teacher that she used as a part of her curriculum,” he explains. “The animations were about as dumb as you can imagine, and I only got the job because the teacher was a friend of the family, but either way it was money in my hand and strangely addictive.”Tyson now works with the two founders of MAKE (Danny Robashkin and Luke Ployhar) and the several freelancers who work at MAKE on a regular basis.