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 week, Chris is joined by energetic and super smart developer Kat Harris. Kat studied Computer Science Engineering at the University of Virginia, where she also went from pixel artist to vice president of the Student Game Developers club. She integrated numerous technologies into the Unity game engine in her role as Technical and Gaming Evangelist at Microsoft and became the world’s first female Unity Certified Developer. Now, Kat works at pioneering visual development company Magnopus, where she now focuses on mixed reality inside the entertainment world of virtual production.

Kat discusses what it’s like to work and play in male-dominated fields, from experiences with Magic: The Gathering at middle school to the offices of big tech firms. There are also numerous side-tracks into the fields of the internet of things, how sci-fi ideas are shaping the tech and gaming industries, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and her newfound love of Dungeons and Dragons.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast222_KatHarris.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:09am PDT

Afonso Salcedo had just stepped off the plane at LAX when Chris wrestled him into the CG Garage booth to record this podcast. Afonso’s arrival in Los Angeles is another giant leap in a daring transatlantic career which has taken him from the graveyard shift on the VFX of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to working with one of the world’s biggest movie stars.

In this podcast, Afonso tells his inspirational story, which takes in his education and early experiences working for Framestore in London, his experiences at Pixar on Ratatouille and Cars 2, and at Dreamworks for Rise of the Guardians and Madagascar 3. He also talks about his freelance work as a photographer, creative director and producer for premium online learning platform MasterClass.

As Afonso prepares to start work on Frozen 2 at Walt Disney Animation Studios he reflects on his approach to taking risks and learning from rejection, as well as the techniques and tricks he’s picked up from masters in the field.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast221_AfonsoSalcedo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am PDT

Since the mid-90s, Greg Lynn has pioneered the use of technology in architecture. When the rest of the industry was using formZ, Greg was experimenting with non-architectural software such as Alias and Maya, using nurbs and fluid sims to create radically different, organic designs. He’s seen masters of the set square become mouse-and-keyboard amateurs and happy accidents become established techniques.

Now, Greg is turning his computer-aided expertise to robotics via Gita, an autonomous robotic companion which can follow its owner on foot journeys and transport up to 45 pounds of shopping or burritos. Greg tells Chris and Lon about the process of designing this lovable bot and ensuring it can track individuals through complex urban environments.

This must-listen podcast also takes in many other facets of the architecture and design industries, including how its business model could be improved and made less resource-intensive, and the role new technology such as Hololens is playing in designs of the future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast220_GregLynn.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 11:32am PDT

Through his globe-trotting career, softly-spoken Cris Blyth has helped give the world Worms, flashed James Cameron and jumpstarted Kenya’s visual effects industry. In this frequently hilarious podcast, he tells Chris his fascinating story.

After spending his childhood programming Commodore computers, and a surprisingly fruitful excursion to the Philippines, Cris worked on then-cutting-edge FMV sequences for games such as Alien Breed: Tower Assault and Worms at developer Team 17. He joined Digital Domain as a VFX artist, turning car engines into dogs for the famous Pennzoil ad, and then moved up to become a fully fledged director of commercials and music videos. He also contributed effects to movies including We Were Soldiers, Adaptation and Daredevil.

Cris’s next move was to Africa, to create documentaries on charity work and, in an unconventional sidestep, he’s remained there since. He talks about how Nairobi, Kenya is on the verge of a computing revolution, why the country’s restrictions have created amazing athletes and e-athletes, and the ways in which he’s bringing his Hollywood skills to a new generation of Kenyans.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast219_CrisBlyth.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:53am PDT

This week, Chris goes behind the scenes at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects. Founded in 1997, this Hollywood-based establishment has grown to a thriving and crucial part of the effects industry, with over 400 students picking up the skills which will land them hot jobs on games and movies.

In this podcast, Chris is joined by Eric Miller, the school’s Chief Technology Officer. His job is to ensure Gnomon is always ahead of industry trends in both hardware and software, managing a vast array of technology and 135 different software packages. Eric also talks about some of the teaching methods Gnomon employs to get students ready for the tough world of visual effects or games, and he offers some great advice on how to prepare for a course at Gnomon.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast218_EricMiller.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:12am PDT

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