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.

Over almost 25 years, Phil Miller has helped bring products such as 3ds Max, Combustion, Dreamweaver, and NVIDIA’s commercial rendering solutions to market — and dabbled in his own software and his original vocation of architecture. Now, Phil has brought his wealth of experience and knowledge to Chaos Group where he serves as vice president of product management.

This podcast is a treasure trove of long-lost computing terms like Pentium processors, MS-DOS and ISDN lines. Phil gives a potted history of the ups and downs of technology, including the ingenious method he used to give plotted architectural illustrations a hand-drawn look, the success of his books on 3D Studio and 3ds Max, and how Chaos Group shook up the rendering industry with V-Ray RT.

Phil is always a few years ahead of his time, and the podcast concludes with his thoughts on the future of CG, real-time rendering via Project Lavina and why speed increases are only part of the battle.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast205_PhilMiller.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:36pm PST

Artificial intelligence has gone from sci-fi subject matter to part of our day-to-day lives via assistant services such as Apple’s Siri and machine learning which helps 3D artists create better work more quickly. But is this merely another technological leap forwards, like photography or computer-aided design, or a genuine threat to lives and livelihoods?

That’s the question Chris posed to an expert panel at this year’s THU festival. Among his guests were Daimler futurologists Sabine Engelhardt and Alexander Mankowsky, CG supervisor-turned-Google technical director Jeff Kember, anatomy specialist Scott Eaton and Lenovo’s head of media and entertainment Rob Hoffmann.

This entertaining, informative and occasionally heated debate tackles everything from the intricacies of neural networks and image learning, to the science and psychology of scents, and the way Netflix and Hulu stats help create entertainment precisely calibrated for certain audiences.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast204_THU2018_AI.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 4:09pm PST

Virginie Bourdin’s astonishing career whisked her from a small town in France to art director on blockbusters including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Harry Potter movies, and the upcoming Captain Marvel. In this podcast, recorded at the THU festival, Virginie explains how she’s become one of the most sought-after art directors in the VFX industry.

Virginie talks about her work on the otherworldly villains of Wrath of the Titans and Edge of Tomorrow, how she uses mood boards and the importance of keeping everything loose and fluid. She goes into detail on her French origins and the reasons behind its supercritical national stereotypes.

Virginie is a tour de force, and you'll come away from this podcast with lots of inspiration on how to generate great ideas.

Direct download: Podcast_VirginieBourdin_01_mixdown.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:14am PST

Few people have seen the rise of VFX like Kelly Port and Matt Butler. Over the course of 25 years, they’ve risen from digital artists to VFX supervisors at effects powerhouse Digital Domain. The watershed moment for both was their work on Titanic, and they discuss the million-dollar computers used to generate the 2TB of effects in the film.

Of course, software and hardware have moved on a great deal since Jack and Rose's perilous adventure. Kelly talks about the groundbreaking technology and performance capture which made Avengers: Infinity War’s CG supervillain Thanos a reality, and Matt discusses his input on Ender’s Game and Ready Player One. They also muse about what makes Digital Domain a great place to work and their tactics for avoiding conflict and nurturing talent.

Kelly and Matt have great chemistry with one another and Chris, and you’ll hear about their experiences of working with actors Dan Stevens and Josh Brolin, and directors Steven Spielberg and Gavin Hood. Plus, there’s a bonus pearl of wisdom from none other than Ron Howard.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast202_MatthewButler_KellyPort_DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:47am PST

Games have compelling narratives worthy of Hollywood movies — so it should come as no surprise that cinematic talent is swapping cameras for controllers. Joining Chris this week are two men who've made the leap and now work on EA's blockbuster Madden sports franchise.

Producer Robin Cowie went from Nickelodeon idents to box office phenomenon The Blair Witch Project, which taught him how to tell a first-person narrative on a tight budget. Animation director Tony Stanley cut his teeth on Disney classics The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch, and Mulan, the latter of which has just turned 20 — and had an enduring legacy in the Chinese animation industry.

The pair tell Chris how they created Madden NFL 18: Longshot and Madden NFL 19: Longshot Homecoming campaigns, which seamlessly mix dramatic player-driven branching stories with action from the gridiron. You’ll find out about the technology and techniques Robin and Tony use to create and edit in-game cinematics, how they fashion game design documents into scripts and why motion capture has become a vital part of the realism of modern games.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast201_RobinCowie_TonyStanley_EA.mp3
Category:Games -- posted at: 11:38am PST

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