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.

Craig “Xray” Halperin has worked on everything. His career began at the tender age of 13 when he contributed graphics to the TV show The Fall Guy, and as he grew up he became accustomed to projection mapping, motion graphics and non-linear video editing techniques. His big break in VFX came courtesy of a desperate Stan Winston who needed him to digitally improve Brad Pitt’s face for Interview with the Vampire, and he went on to work on Apollo 13, Hollow Man and Kung Fu Panda.

Today, Xray helps create immersive gaming experiences for Insomniac Games. In this podcast, he discusses how the company managed to create a living, breathing interactive Manhattan with 60fps 4K HDR globally illuminated graphics for Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. He also tells Chris about his occasional work in education, including helping Paul Debevec with his Parthenon project. The podcast concludes with Xray’s vision of the future in real-time and new game engines.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast235_AgentXray.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:30pm PDT

The uber-talented Sonja Christoph’s career path has been a twisty one. After graduating from film school in Miami, she worked as an assistant director on-set on Hollywood movies and TV shows. During the 2008 writer’s strike, she was inspired to take a VFX course at Gnomon School in Hollywood, where she discovered a knack for matte paintings. She went on to create environments at ILM for Tomorrowland, Doctor Strange, Agent Carter and even the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland.

Now, Sonja has crossed the Atlantic to work for Swedish Ubisoft subsidiary Massive Entertainment on video games including Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. In this podcast, recorded at Total Chaos 2019 ahead of her inspiring main-stage presentation, Sonja talks about the differences between working in VFX and video games in terms of timelines, teamwork and tools. She also discusses how games subtly direct the player, and why they’ve become such a lucrative part of modern culture.

If you’ve ever thought about making the jump from movies to games — or vice-versa — this podcast is for you.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast234_SonjaChristoph.mp3
Category:Games -- posted at: 11:33am PDT

This year’s Total Chaos conference brought together three of the biggest names in the art and science of CG: 3D portrait artist Ian Spriggs, lighting pioneer turned light field specialist Paul Debevec, and anatomy expert and AI exploratory artist Scott Eaton. Each presented compelling talks on the Total Chaos stages, before heading to Chris's mobile booth to record this podcast.

What emerges is a thorough examination of how rapid technological changes are revolutionizing the way CG and digital humans are created. Ian talks about his meticulous portrait of Scott and how GPU technology has sped up his workflows, Paul goes into detail on bringing Scott's giant head into VR via light field technology, and Scott himself discusses his experiments with machine learning to create surreal imagery based on his anatomical database.

The trio offers their thoughts on how the convergence of this technology may change the role of the artist — and how this isn't necessarily anything new. Ian also gives some insight into his upcoming portrait of Chris himself.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast233_PaulDebevec_ScottEaton_IanSpriggs.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:14am PDT

WeWork has become one of this decade’s biggest success stories. This New York-based firm offers flexible shared workspaces for anyone from freelancers to large enterprises, complete with health insurance, an internal social network and events. Its approach has helped businesses thrive, and its model has rolled out to 738 locations in 39 countries with more than 13,000 employees.

Two of those employees are Jake Williams (Creative Manager) and Greg Rogers (Head of Visualization), who are responsible for visualizing the company’s upcoming workspaces. In this podcast, recorded at the Total Chaos conference, Jake and Greg tell Chris how their team has grown exponentially alongside WeWork and The We Company; how working in-house compares to working for an external architectural visualization agency; and they discuss the technology they use to turn around beautiful images in astonishingly short periods of time.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast232_WeWork.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 12:13pm PDT

Mike Hill’s enviable career has seen him wear many hats on big projects in film, TV and games. He designed the formidable Retribution spaceship for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, helped conceptualize some of Game of Thrones’ most iconic sets and scenes, created the intricate Memory Orb device for Blade Runner 2049, and worked out how to unite 18 disparate episodes of Netflix series Love, Death & Robots.

But that’s not all this multifaceted film fanatic does — he’s also becoming renowned for his in-depth lectures on storytelling and visual language in films. In this podcast, he gives a concise version of his theories on Jurassic Park and its theme of parental responsibility, explains how these seep into Spielberg’s other films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Hook, and even talks about what makes Jurassic World so morally bankrupt.

This is a fascinating podcast for anyone who looks for a deeper meaning in movies, and you’ll also find out which big-budget movie Mike’s working on next.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast231_MikeHill.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:48am PDT

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