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.

Maxx Burman was destined for a career in the film industry — but how he got there is surprising. His grandfather and parents were practical effects artists, creating the groundbreaking makeup for The Wolfman and The Planet of the Apes, respectively.

Helping his parents out on all-nighters gave Maxx a strong worth ethic, and a hard-earned knowledge of what happens behind the scenes in Hollywood. But an early viewing of The Matrix inspired him to carve out his own career path in the less-messy world of VFX.

After establishing himself as a freelance matte painter and VFX supervisor, Maxx’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in. His most recent venture is Kitbash3D, a handy online repository of professional, optimized 3D models of different styles of architecture, from “Victorian” to “Neo Tokyo,” ready to be “bashed” into backdrops, matte paintings and 3D environments. It takes the guesswork, and hard work, out of creating believable cityscapes.

As Maxx reveals in this podcast, that’s not all he’s working on. He’s creating a game for Nintendo, still working as a freelance matte artist, and even starting a company to manage all his endeavours. He and Chris talk about adventures in Digital Domain's keyboard graveyard, how Maxx has gone from artist to businessman, and how he ensures his projects succeed.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast154_MaxxBurman.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:52pm PST

For this podcast, Chris is joined by a quartet of artists, directors and filmmakers at THU festival in Portugal.

The first is Manny “MANu” Carrasco. This sweet and humble artist started out in traditional animation, before going 3D for the Turok video games, and then moving into concept art for movies such as Anastasia, Prince of Egypt and Space Jam.

Throughout his career, Manny has always found solace in nature, and he’s turned a love of animals into a new venture: Expedition Art. This NGO invites artists from the visual effects and gaming industries to contribute works to help protect endangered species around the world.

One of Expedition Art’s panel members is David Levy, who joins Chris in part two, alongside director Ruari Robinson and concept artist/filmmaker Ryan Woodward. Each has experience of making short films, from Ruari’s high-concept Leviathan pitch, to David’s award-winning short Plug, to Ryan’s beautiful animated passion project Thought of You.

David talks about taking a step back from the industry and spending time with his family in North Carolina, Ruari discusses the intense hard work which went into Leviathan and Ryan goes behind the scenes on how he created 20,000 drawings for his short.

This is an essential listen if you want to hear about the extraordinary pressure the entertainment industry can put on artists, as well as the coping methods they employ to get through tough times.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast149_THU2017_03.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:18pm PST

Chris recorded a lot of podcasts at THU — and this episode treats you to not one, but two 25-minute recordings.

In the first, Chris chats with celebrated CG portrait artist Ian Spriggs, and digital anatomy expert Scott Eaton. They discuss the history of portraits, and how the fundamental idea of representing humans hasn’t really changed from cave paintings, to paintings, to photographs, and now the world of CG. And they talk about the tech which has got us here, from early days of editing vertices in C, to the seamless artistry made possible with packages such as ZBrush and Mudbox.

Chris’s talk with Steven Wang and Phil Liu nicely complements the first part. Steven now works as a concept artist a Microsoft’s The Coalition game studios, but his prior role was alongside Ian Spriggs at Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios — Steven even posed for a portrait for Ian. Phil, meanwhile, serves as world artist at Monolith Productions. They discover a shared history in product design, and talk about how ArtStation, Instagram and Facebook have given artists invaluable exposure — but made the industry more competitive than ever.

They’re both engaging discussions, and Chris does a great job of packing important questions into a short amount of time.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast145_IanSpriggs_ScottEaton_StevenWang_PhilLiu.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:52am PST

Presentations are a surprisingly big challenge in the architecture community. It’s easy to wow clients with stills and videos, but if they want changes architects and arch viz studios have to re-render shots and animations.

Barcelona-based company CL3VER has created a clever solution to this issue - a browser-based system which can render realistic 3D models. In this podcast, Chris talks to CL3VER’s creative director Nimrod Friedman, and marketing manager Carlie Pratt.

Despite its simple premise and intuitive, Apple-like controls, Nimrod reveals the huge amount of behind-the-scenes work on a system which reproduces masses of geometry on limited hardware and software. He talks about how it can handle global illumination, ray tracing and reflections, its VR applications, and how they’ve built a cloud-based backend from scratch.

Chris’s enthusiasm and curiosity for the potential applications of CL3VER makes this an animated and interesting discussion.

https://www.cl3ver.com/

http://www3.cl3ver.com/l/212992/2017-10-10/2428q

 

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast144_NimrodFriedman_CarliePratt.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:45pm PST

THU has become a staple for digital artists, and now the festival is increasingly welcoming members of the arch viz community. Syria-born Mahmoud Alkawadri has attended the event twice now – and he’s a poster child for the transformative effects of THU.

In this podcast with Chris, recorded at THU, Mahmoud discusses his experience in VFX and exhibitions in Syria and Germany, his current role as a freelance arch viz artist, and his plans to return to VFX and filmmaking. Along the way, he talks about setting up his own business, the importance of managing your time, and architecture in Dubai.

It’s a deep and insightful conversation about how films and architecture can influence and share ideas with one another.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast143_MahmoudAlkawadri.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:24pm PST

Paul Nicholls is a third of the team behind Factory Fifteen, a London-based directing collective and arch viz and production studio. From a background in architecture, Paul has made a name for himself in creating ambitious short and feature-length films, music videos and VR experiences.

In this podcast, recorded at the D2 Conference in Vienna, Paul talks about how Factory Fifteen was formed, the numerous awards it's won for its groundbreaking projects, and how he uses Tiltbrush to sketch in virtual reality without any aches and pains. He also poses some pertinent technical and business questions about what Chaos Group’s acquisition of Render Legion’s Corona will mean for users.

Paul finishes with a few hints as to the exciting design-driven direction Factory Fifteen will take in the future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast141_PaulNicholls.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:47pm PST

Chaos Group promised a big announcement at the D2 Conference in Vienna. Not only did they not disappoint, but they took the world by surprise. On Friday, August 25, they announced that Chaos Group has acquired Render Legion, the makers of the Corona renderer. Corona has become extremely popular in recent years, especially in the Architecture and ArchViz community. Just after the announcement, Chris sat down with Ondrej and Vlado, the respective brains that started Corona and V-Ray.

We cover how this acquisition was not a choice made in haste and that it took over a year to happen. We also learn that Ondrej has great respect for Vlado which is why Render Legion approached Chaos Group first when they wanted to find a way to grow their company. At the same time, you’ll hear Vlado's big respect for Ondrej and that their goal is to keep each renderer developed separately, as they have a different general philosophy.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast137_Ondrej_and_Vlado.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 3:17pm PST

One of the biggest and most well-received surprises at this year’s SIGGRAPH was Epic Games’ announcement that it’s added V-Ray rendering to Unreal Engine. In this podcast, recorded at the conference, Chris sits down with Epic’s Marc Petit and Ken Pimentel to discuss what this meeting of minds means.

They talk about how the Unreal Engine has gone from a solid platform for game development to a multipurpose tool for photorealistic architecture and visual effects, as well as AI and autonomous vehicles. They also discuss how Chaos Group and Epic Games have similar, customer-focused business models, and how they’re working together to help everyone create amazing imagery.

It’s a tantalizing peek into a future where the boundaries between realtime and ray-traced are becoming increasingly blurred.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast136_MarcPetit_KenPimentel.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:09pm PST

Recorded live at V-Ray Days @ SIGGRAPH 2017, this podcast unites host Chris with previous guests, and Wikihuman members, Mike Seymour (FXGuide) and Jay Busch (Google). If you attended SIGGRAPH, you’ll know that the virtual representation of Mike - aka Meet Mike - was a star of the convention, and this podcast delves into the trials and tribulations of his creation.

Along the way, the team talks about the immense amount of research and design which has gone into this avatar, such as Lightstage facial scanning, Disney Research's on eyeballs in Zurich, and the motion capture tech. They also talk about the future of Digital Mike in the Wikihuman project, and how tech such as deep learning and muscle simulations could help him evolve further.

It’s an engrossing discussion and one which highlights the passion the project has stirred in the guests, their colleagues, and the CG industry — even between competing companies.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast135_JayBusch_MikeSeymour.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:00pm PST

Rendering is dead. Long live rendering. As computers become faster and more powerful, and 3D software becomes easier to use, rendering could be about to change dramatically. And it may even cease to exist as we know it today.

In this podcast, Chris gazes into his crystal ball with Chaos Group’s CCO Lon Grohs and Communications Director David Tracy. It’s an animated discussion which raises some important questions about the mass adoption of 3D creative technology. Will we see a proliferation of deeply terrible CG? Or will artists be able to realize their visions more easily?

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast132_TheEndOfRendering.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 5:04pm PST