Hosted by Christopher Nichols, the CG Garage podcast is part of the Chaos Group Labs. We talk to our friends, find out what they are doing, talk about what we are doing, and generally look at all things that interest us including CGI, VFX, Design, Rendering, Raytracing, and any other CG Nerdy stuff.

Johnny Gibson has created ballistic missile detection software, worked on stealth bombers, and covertly filmed on the Russia/China border. These might sound like missions assigned to a secret agent, but Johnny’s actually a VFX artist and supervisor, and in this podcast he discusses his incredible career with Chris.

Having worked on over 30 feature films, including Fight Club, Transformers and three X-Men movies, Johnny has a unique insight into the effects industry. He talks about what a technical director does, why the best people aren’t necessarily on the biggest movies, and how rotoscoping is a great fundamental skill to have.

It’s a gripping episode, full of amusing anecdotes, and revelations of when Johnny and Chris’s career paths met.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast140_JohnnyGibson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:04pm PDT

The d2 Conference has grown from a humble meeting of 85 people to an indispensable event for arch viz studios and artists around the world. This year’s event was of particular significance; the industry’s leading lights celebrated Chaos Group’s acquisition of Render Legion and Corona Renderer.

In this short but sweet podcast, Chris talks to Fabio Palvelli and Jason Bergeron, the Italian and American brains behind this influential Viennese convention. They talk about the inspiration which lead to the conference, the joy of helping artists make connections and pursue careers, and how they’ve seen arch viz evolve and branch out into other mediums.

We’ll see you in Vienna next year!

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast139_D2Conference.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 9:40am PDT

Originally from South Africa, Darren Hendler has worked on movies such as The Grinch, I Robot, and Maleficent. At the same time he’s become a key figure in the research and development of virtual humans at Digital Domain.

Darren has a lot in common with the similarly digital human obsessed Chris, and this podcast poses many questions around digital humans, such as why is it easier to make an old Brad Pitt, but harder to make a young Jeff Bridges? What are the ethics of reanimating deceased actors, or manipulating news footage? And, how can deep learning help us create more believable digital humans?

It’s fascinating to hear experts in the field pick each other’s brains about this cutting-edge tech. It’s also, as Darren puts it, “a huge amount of fun.”

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast138_DarrenHendler.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:11pm PDT

Chaos Group promised a big announcement at the D2 Conference in Vienna. Not only did they not disappoint, but they took the world by surprise. On Friday, August 25, they announced that Chaos Group has acquired Render Legion, the makers of the Corona renderer. Corona has become extremely popular in recent years, especially in the Architecture and ArchViz community. Just after the announcement, Chris sat down with Ondrej and Vlado, the respective brains that started Corona and V-Ray.

We cover how this acquisition was not a choice made in haste and that it took over a year to happen. We also learn that Ondrej has great respect for Vlado which is why Render Legion approached Chaos Group first when they wanted to find a way to grow their company. At the same time, you’ll hear Vlado's big respect for Ondrej and that their goal is to keep each renderer developed separately, as they have a different general philosophy.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast137_Ondrej_and_Vlado.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 3:17pm PDT

One of the biggest and most well-received surprises at this year’s SIGGRAPH was Epic Games’ announcement that it’s added V-Ray rendering to Unreal Engine. In this podcast, recorded at the conference, Chris sits down with Epic’s Marc Petit and Ken Pimentel to discuss what this meeting of minds means.

They talk about how the Unreal Engine has gone from a solid platform for game development to a multipurpose tool for photorealistic architecture and visual effects, as well as AI and autonomous vehicles. They also discuss how Chaos Group and Epic Games have similar, customer-focused business models, and how they’re working together to help everyone create amazing imagery.

It’s a tantalizing peek into a future where the boundaries between realtime and ray-traced are becoming increasingly blurred.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast136_MarcPetit_KenPimentel.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:09pm PDT

Recorded live at V-Ray Days @ SIGGRAPH 2017, this podcast unites host Chris with previous guests, and Wikihuman members, Mike Seymour (FXGuide) and Jay Busch (Google). If you attended SIGGRAPH, you’ll know that the virtual representation of Mike - aka Meet Mike - was a star of the convention, and this podcast delves into the trials and tribulations of his creation.

Along the way, the team talks about the immense amount of research and design which has gone into this avatar, such as Lightstage facial scanning, Disney Research's on eyeballs in Zurich, and the motion capture tech. They also talk about the future of Digital Mike in the Wikihuman project, and how tech such as deep learning and muscle simulations could help him evolve further.

It’s an engrossing discussion and one which highlights the passion the project has stirred in the guests, their colleagues, and the CG industry — even between competing companies.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast135_JayBusch_MikeSeymour.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

The worlds of videogames and VFX are colliding. Realtime rendering is changing the way movies are made, while blockbuster games borrow techniques and tech from Hollywood. No one knows this landscape better than Naughty Dog’s Josh Scherr, who’s worked his way from animator on PS2 flagship Jak and Daxter to co-writer of the epic Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.

In this podcast, Josh gives Chris a comprehensive guide to gaming. He goes from its humble origins in the basements and arcades of the 1980s, through Hollywood's ill-fated attempts to piggyback the industry, to today’s ubiquitous, multifaceted gaming culture — and its superstars and controversies.

Hardcore gamers will get a kick from Josh's deconstruction of the design process, while VFX fans will find out how Naughty Dog creates cinematic visuals on limited hardware.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast134_JoshScherr.mp3
Category:Games -- posted at: 6:45pm PDT

Established in London in 1990, visual effects and post-production company the Mill has grown with offices in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with over 200 employees in the later. Among those who made the jump to the LA office are  Head of 2D/Creative Director Chris Knight, and Executive Creative Director Phil Crowe.

As becomes apparent in this podcast, neither has lost their accent — or their cheeky British sense of humour. The BFFs talk about their first meeting at the prestigious Ravensbourne College in the mid-90s, then delve into the early days of VFX, when crazy characters at The Mill taught them how to use Flame and Henry. Chris and Phil come across as passionate and knowledgeable professionals who are as well-versed in episodes of Columbo as they are in visual effects tools.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast133_ChrisKnightPhilCrowe.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:02am PDT

Rendering is dead. Long live rendering. As computers become faster and more powerful, and 3D software becomes easier to use, rendering could be about to change dramatically. And it may even cease to exist as we know it today.

In this podcast, Chris gazes into his crystal ball with Chaos Group’s CCO Lon Grohs and Communications Director David Tracy. It’s an animated discussion which raises some important questions about the mass adoption of 3D creative technology. Will we see a proliferation of deeply terrible CG? Or will artists be able to realize their visions more easily?

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast132_TheEndOfRendering.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 5:04pm PDT

Multitalented VFX artist Alex Nice’s career began in the very early days of 3D Studio on a 386 computer — complete with vigorous turbo button action. After a rebellious phase as an amateur tattoo artist, he settled into a role as a 3D generalist at Sway Studio via a stint in courtroom animations.

Alex recently served as art director for innovative effects studio Magnopus, alongside previous podcast guests Sally Slade and Ben Grossmann. He’s also worked on matte paintings for movies such as 2012, Hugo, Elysium, Pacific Rim and a tantalizing upcoming sci-fi project.

He recently joined the Art Director's guild doing concept art and tells Chris how astounding it is to see his concept art come to life as a million-dollar film set, how VR has dramatically changed the way he works with directors, and they discuss future of the VFX industry in Hollywood and beyond.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast131_AlexNice.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:07pm PDT