Interviews that focus on the CG creative in visual effects, architecture and beyond. Christopher Nichols of Chaos Group sits down with directors, artists, photographers and developers for candid discussions on technology and art, all with a focus on computer graphics. Visit chaosgroup.com/cg-garage for more information and an archive of past shows.

For a short film, Construct’s production has taken a long time. But, as Director Kevin Margo explains there have been many good reasons for the delays. Conceived as a way to push the boundaries of ray tracing and virtual production, Construct become a perfect test subject for cutting-edge VFX techniques. It’s been cloud rendered via an NVIDIA cluster some 500 miles away, rejigged as a VR experience, and even presented in 120 hz via Douglas Trumbull’s Magi system.

But Construct is much more than just a tech demo. Despite its mechanical CG characters, the film tells a very human story, and there’s much more here than meets the eye. Actor Darren Ross explains how his motion-captured performance adds depth to the main character, and how they worked with Hollywood stunt coordinators to create the film’s elaborate fight scenes.

If you’re a regular listener, you’ll know that Construct has been a long and exciting journey for Kevin, Darren, Chris, and the many other collaborators who’ve helped make it a reality. It’s incredible to see Kevin’s vision finally come to life, and he discusses how the film could even be headed to the big screen.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast192_KevinMargo_DerronRoss_Construct.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:41am PST

This week, Chris, Dan, and Erick finally get round to discussing Alien. It’s one of the most-requested topics for the podcast, and it’s not hard to see why: Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie is still terrifying today, and it gave birth to one of the silver screen’s most memorable monsters.

But Alien also gave us Ripley, the plucky, punky feminist hero who rises up against both the xenomorph and the patriarchal hierarchy of the Nostromo. Her story arc is examined by the podcast, as well as the film’s meticulous production design, and the Freudian nightmare of its imagery.

Just like the Nostromo, this is a podcast which goes on some pretty significant diversions. Alien sequels including James Cameron’s expansive Aliens, David Fincher’s flaccid Alien 3, and Scott’s own prequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are all put under the microscope. The trio also covers the way the movie industry works today, and directors from Gasper Noe to Russ Meyer, with some very funny anecdotes along the way.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast191_MartiniGiant_Alien.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:35pm PST

Recorded at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, this podcast features self-taught rendering expert Zap Andersson. Zap’s career in CG began early, with the modification of a Swedish ABC 80 computer so it supported higher resolutions, ray tracing, gaming, and even image editing and music sampling. His passion for computing propelled him into a career in CAD, then back into ray tracing, where he earned his “Shader Wizard” moniker for his implementation of subsurface scattering.

In the second half of the podcast, Chris asks Zap for his thoughts on the future of ray tracing, tackling some of the myths around physically based and spectral rendering, metalness, and real-time. As Zap reveals, the restrictions of any CG method ties into the limitations of how human beings are wired to perceive optical phenomenon.

It’s a fascinating deep dive into the theory of CG and the shape of things to come.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast190_ZapAndersson-Autodesk.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 2:17pm PST

Our host Chris Nichols is joined by his name twin Chris Nichols from Digital Domain. After reminiscing about working at DD at the same time (and accidently getting each other’s emails and phone calls), they dive into Chris’s role in the look development of Thanos on Avengers: Infinity Wars.

The Chris’ discuss the detail and thought that went into Thanos, and how Chris had to imagine so much of his backstory to add character to his face, skin and even the condition of his hands. At the same time, we find out more about Chris’s own backstory growing up in Perth, Australia, being inspired by the concept art of Lord of the Rings, and finally moving to Vancouver to work on one of the biggest movies of 2018.

Since both Chris’s have a passion for digital humans, they go into a deep discussion on which movies have been able to tackle the Uncanny Valley, leading to some very interesting conclusions along the way.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast189_ChrisNichols-DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:01pm PST

Fresh off a tour of America, INK Founder Dave Macey joins Chris and Lon to talk about how two unemployed arch viz artists started one of the UK’s most distinctive creative studios.

As well as working with everyone from BMW to Wired to Asics, the company has created side projects which range from the beautiful (stark Le Mans sportscars) to the bizarre (inflating 1970s vehicles). While its Workshop experiments don’t generate income, they’re a great way to spot talent in the company, experiment with new styles and techniques — and just have fun.

Dave also delves into his love of cars, and things that move quickly. He discusses the future of how we’ll get around, from the simplicity of Bird’s electric scooters to Elon Musk’s grand designs for the Hyperloop One, and the way automation will put our living rooms and offices on the road.

It’s awesome to hear from someone with an innate knowledge of the past and future of tech and transport.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast188_DaveMacey-INK.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:13pm PST

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