Tylney Taylor interview
Ric Welcome Tylney to The Art of Making Marks. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Tylney Okay my name is Julian Tynley Taylor and I do freelance animation, visual effects and have been moving more into supervising, that’s basically what I do most of the time and a little bit of engineering work from time to time when required.
Ric And in your production process do you use Wacom tablets?
Tylney Yep I use Wacom tablets pretty much everyday and I own two of them.
Tylney I have one permanently in front of my workstation and I have another one which I move from which ever laptop I use, whether it’s a PC or a Mac and I’ll plug them in and out in order to get my Photoshop work done and to sign contracts and all that kind of stuff, so yeah, yeah I use Wacoms.
Ric So you use tablets with Maya?
Tylney I use a tablet with Maya actually a lot. I use it a lot for painting an object, that’s the obvious part but actually I find that it saves me around 50% of my time for actually ‘poly pushing,’ selecting components, being able to do very fast pinpoint components and move those around for sculpting and modelling. It’s incredible. Even if I’m just manipulating individual objects on the screen, yeah.
Ric So it’s become almost a mouse replacement from that point of view?
Tylney Oh certain things I can’t do with the mouse anymore. It literally… I get RSI with the mouse. If you’re sitting there for six to eight hours doing polygon manipulation where you’re picking individual points and if you’re doing that with a mouse you will definitely have RSI at the end of the day, or I do, and I wake up with a numbness in my little finger, on both arms and it’s because how one sits and everything but it happens, and when I use the Wacom it doesn’t happen. So I use the Wacom for that all the time.
Ric So how do you get around things like your right mouse click, you know in Maya there’s a lot of mouse settings and various people ask me how do you set the pen up for that sort of thing?
Tylney I have a Wacom Intuos 3 and the first thing I found with the Intuos 3, because in 3D or in Maya certainly there’s one hand that’s always on the keyboard which means somehow some other part of my anatomy is on the board, which means I have to switch off all the extra buttons (express keys). So I know in Photoshop they’re great to use but because I need a lot more access to the keyboard I switch those off first thing. Then I have the left mouse button which is the actual touch, so the normal pen. Then the dip switch on the top, the front part is the middle mouse one and the back one is then the right mouse button. And I can either use it with my thumb or with my index finger. And that’s how I use it and it works perfectly.
Ric So how long have you actually been using tablets in your work flow?
Tylney I can’t remember not using it. I think the first time… I started doing 3D in around 1997/1998 and that’s when I started using them. I think it was an Intuos 1 at the time when I started using them.
Ric The big tablet?
Tylney No it was, well bigger than the ones now, when you consider the big one, and when the small ones came out I continued using them. It’s, for me, just a natural interface into the computer.
Ric So tell us a little bit more about the type of work that you’re doing and that you’ve done and maybe explain some of the beautiful images that you’ve included.
Tylney Initially I started off being really a 3D animator and working through all the different parts and I concentrated more and more on the technical aspects and making the impossible possible or difficult projects possible. And so the projects that I’ve grown into are more and more supervising/technical directing and looking after tricky bits in a pipeline or being picked by a supervisor who would say ‘here you go Tylney here’s the intro-sequence to a feature film we want you to do this and figure out how to get it done’. I recently did the opening sequence to an Australian production called Gabriel. That was a 1,475 frame, full HD production.
Ric You know every frame?
Tylney I know every single frame by the pixel and it had multiple layers of fluids that we used in the compositing tricks, geometry, everything, every trick in the book we used to get that happening. And I rendered it actually in Renderman running in the background with a lot of Photoshop Mat Painting work being done again using the Wacom. That was 10 weeks of non-stop working on one box and rendering on the same computer. There was nothing else rendered from anything else. It was all done on the one machine. I’ve also been doing a lot of concept art recently which I cannot include. That’s for a project, a larger project we’re working on. And otherwise just different 3D work for different people Channel 7 and NAB adds, general kind of 3D stuff.
Ric Beautiful work, beautiful work. What innovations or advantage do you find by using a tablet?
Tylney For a lot of manipulation I do in 3D I find it more intuitive to actually work with the pen. The mouse is always a reference point where actually I need to re-reference where the mouse pointer is in order to move my hand and kind of push the mouse around. Whereas with the pen, I use a direct relationship or a direct ratio on the Wacom and I know exactly where I put my hand, that’s where the pen’s going to be. So I have a direct relationship between my hand and where I am on the screen, so that saves me a lot of time. It also saves me about 30-40% of time on any manipulation of components drawing and painting. I mean with the mouse forget it. It’s just no way… it’s really made our work not just easy but really in a way actually possible.
Ric From concept art to the crunch rendering stage the tablet is there right through your workflow.
Tylney Pretty much and I’ve seen it used in many ways. I was working as the Technical Director on a production at one of Australia’s largest animation labs and designing the 3D pipeline and working pretty much with all artists directly in helping them create better outcomes. They were using Wacoms in many different ways. Some of them were using it like a mouse, in mouse mode. Other ones were using it in the direct access mode. A few people that had never used a tablet before we just said ‘use it for two or three days and you’ll never use a mouse again,’ which is exactly what happened. People just started using it and they become completely familiar with it, they would just pick it up and they were in there, it’s a direct interface. It’s nearly like mind control of where the mouse is suppose to go. You move your eyes to where it is and your hand just moves in directly the same position. It’s very, very nice working with a tablet.
Ric If you could have a present from Wacom, a future vision or innovation that would enhance how you currently work, what would it be?
Tylney Well I think you just recently brought it out or it’s supposedly just coming out, is the direct on screen tablet, which is what do they call it again the…
Ric The Cintiq12wx?
Tylney The Cintiq12wx! The Cintiqs up until now for 3D work have been a little bit strange because you really want to see everything that’s underneath and it’s different to drawing with a tablet and it’s also been rather large and normally 3D workstation space is rather limited and is very intense for long periods of time. So we haven’t tendered to use the Cintiq21, they haven’t really worked for us. But I think being able to draw on the smaller one which is coming out now and having that as a direct input that you can switch on and off is, well that’s magic. That’s pretty much what I’ve been looking for. Everything else, well I know how to manipulate around a computer, I don’t really need a 3D manipulation tool or something… they’ve sort of come and gone whereas this seems to have just stuck around because it’s a natural interface. Yeah.
Ric Fantastic, well hopefully next time we meet you can show me how the Cintiq12 has helped take 3D production pipelines to the next level..
Tylney I look forward to it.
Ric Tynley Taylor I thank you so much of being a part of The Art of Making Marks and we look forward to seeing you again in the future and looking at your fabulous work.