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.

This is the 200th CG Garage Podcast — and the first Martini Giant spinoff episode. To commemorate reaching this huge milestone, Chris, Dan and Erick look at films about reaching huge stones: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Peter Hyams’ sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

The first is a true masterpiece of cinema, with Kubrick employing then state-of-the-art visual effects, smart set design and clever editing to tell a prophetical story about the dehumanizing effects of technology. The trio compare and contrast this with Hyams’ vision of a leathery Roy Schieder fixing a giant hinge in the sequel.

In typical Martini Giant fashion there are many hilarious tangents, from Lionel Richie’s relationship with 2001, to The Abyss and Chris’ wedding ring, to Dan’s nostalgia for a time when all we had to worry about was being nuked by Russia.

Just as Kubrick’s movie depicts the birth of a new form of human, this episode includes the birth of a new form of podcast: a dedicated spin-off series of Martini Giant podcasts. They talk about some of the subjects they’d like to discuss in future episodes — and you’re invited to let them know your ideas in the comments.

 

Here’s to another 200 CG Garage podcasts. Cheers!

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast200_MartiniGiant_2001_2010.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:14am PST

One of the best things about THU is having so many world-class experts in one place — something Chris took advantage of when he assembled this panel for a discussion on digital humans. The superstar lineup consisted of digital Rembrandt Ian Spriggs, CG pioneer Paul Debevec, ILM’s chief re-animator Hal Hickel, acclaimed anatomy artist Scott Eaton, and Naughty Dog lead character artist Frank Tzeng.

This debate tracks the evolution of digital characters through movies such as Spider-Man 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Wall-E, and The Incredibles. Chris and his guests tackle the challenges of building realistic digital humans, the shortcuts games take to present convincing characters on limited hardware, and how subtle artistic decisions can help inject personality and story. They also talk about the ethical conundrums of creating virtual people, and how the film stars of tomorrow might be AI-driven algorithms.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast199_THU2018_Humans.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:08am PST

You may not have heard of Donna Smith — but she’s one of the most important players behind the scenes in Hollywood. Over the course of almost 40 years, she’s been instrumental in the production of 157 movies, including Raging Bull, The Terminator, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and The Matrix. She’s also the first woman to serve as President of Physical Production and Post Production at Universal Pictures.

Despite her enviable career and powerful position, Donna is down-to-earth and affable in this podcast. She offers invaluable advice for anyone looking to get ahead in the film industry, including who you should get to know, the importance of the “business” in show business, and getting started in the seven-year process from script to screen.

This is a must-listen for movie fans, and Donna’s tales of working with Marty (Scorsese), Bobby (DeNiro) and Sly (Stallone) are every bit as inspirational as the films she’s helped bring to the silver screen.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast198_DonnaSmith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am PST

Recorded at THU, this week’s podcast guest is ILM Animation Director Hal Hickel. Inspired by Star Wars and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion work on King Kong, Hal became an animator on hugely successful California Raisins advertisements of the 1980s. Despite initial reservations, Hal switched clay for computers on Pixar’s breakthrough CG movie Toy Story, then moved to ILM for the Star Wars prequels, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Rango.

Thanks to his wealth of experience in character animation, Hal has become an expert on digital humans. He goes into detail on how ILM created a CG Grand Moff Tarkin for Rogue One and explains why, in this case, there were no ethical issues with digitally recreating the late Peter Cushing. He also talks about the tiny tweaks his team made to make the character look as real as possible and the dangers of getting stuck in the swamp of opinions at the bottom of the uncanny valley.

This podcast serves as a concise guide to how digital characters have evolved — and where they’re headed next.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast197_HalHickel_ILM.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:33am PST

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