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.

Back in 1999, a short film called “Pepe” introduced the ray-tracing renderer that would become Arnold. Joining Chris for this podcast is Marcos Fajardo, the guy who built the software and helped make the short film after studying SIGGRAPH papers and shareware software. 

Chris shares some questions from Vlado, and gets a fascinating history of Arnold, as Marcos breaks down the renderer’s development, how it got its name, Sony’s investment in the software for animated feature film Monster House, the role it played in bringing Gravity to the big screen, and its recent acquisition by Autodesk.

Marcos comes across as humble but focused, and he’s happy to discuss his strengths and weaknesses, as well as the debt he racked up through developing Arnold. He also discusses the ray tracing of tomorrow and the promises of quantum computing.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast239_MarcosFajardo.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:16am PDT

If you listen to fxguide’s VFXShow podcasts you’ll recognize Matt Wallin’s voice — and now, you can hear his story.

Recorded at SIGGRAPH, this podcast Matt reveals how Star Wars inspired him to pursue a career in the movies and why his first VFX job involved driving a backhoe. He talks about his work on films including The American President, The Matrix sequels and King Kong, as well as his collaborations with artist Matthew Barney on The Cremaster Cycle and Drawing Restraint 9.

Today, Matt teaches his trade as Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, and he tells Chris about the vast differences between frantic production schedules and the more sedate pace of academia.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast238_MattWallin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:35pm PDT

Caustics are everywhere. Defined as concentrations of light refracted or reflected off a specular surface, common examples include the patterns you see on the bottom of a pool and the bright curves of light in a wine glass’s shadow. But they also affect the way you see through windows and the reflections cast by any shiny surface. Turning on caustics in ray traced renders can add subtle levels of realism, but their high computational expense means they are usually omitted.

That is until now. The latest release of the Corona Renderer includes a vastly improved caustics solver — which minimizes resource-intensive overheads. In this podcast, Corona’s Founding Partner and Main Developer Ondřej Karlik, and R&D Partner Jaroslav Křivánek tell Chris why caustics are so hard to compute. They also discuss the approach they took to make them work, their vision for the future of caustics — and whether the new solver will make its way to V-Ray.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast237_Ondrej_Jaroslav_Caustics.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:40am PDT

Last month, Andre Cantarel’s CG model of the White House caught the attention of the CG industry thanks to its meticulous attention to detail. In this podcast, Andre tells Chris how this passion project came to fruition, the secrets he discovered in researching the building and what he plans to do with the construction.


Creating presidential palaces isn’t all Andre does. His career in VFX has taken him from flipbook animations to working as a senior generalist for companies such as Uncharted Territory and Scanline on movies including Independence Day: Resurgence, Justice League and Tomb Raider. Andre reflects on how hardware, software and the industry have developed and looks to his upcoming project: a model of Russia’s formidable Mi-24 helicopter gunship.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast236_AndreCantarel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

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