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.

Geoffrey Baumann’s career has propelled him around the world on some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including his most recent role as VFX supervisor on Marvel’s record-breaking Black Panther.

Having spent time in Europe and America as a child, Geoffrey majored in public relations before becoming a PA at Digital Domain. His linguistic skills landed him a job in on-set survey and digital integration for the movie xXx — and he hasn’t stopped working on movies since.

In this podcast, recorded at THU festival, Geoffrey discusses how he’s gone from the bottom to the top of the VFX industry via movies such as The Time Machine, Real Steel, and Iron Man 3. He talks about how he’s seen projects go from film to digital, and from a few hundred effects shots to thousands.


You’ll discover what it’s like to work with the characters behind the scenes of Black Panther, the importance of his PR training, and how he’s rapidly becoming an important part of the Marvel family.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast194_GeoffreyBaumann.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:31am PDT

Our host Chris Nichols is joined by his name twin Chris Nichols from Digital Domain. After reminiscing about working at DD at the same time (and accidently getting each other’s emails and phone calls), they dive into Chris’s role in the look development of Thanos on Avengers: Infinity Wars.

The Chris’ discuss the detail and thought that went into Thanos, and how Chris had to imagine so much of his backstory to add character to his face, skin and even the condition of his hands. At the same time, we find out more about Chris’s own backstory growing up in Perth, Australia, being inspired by the concept art of Lord of the Rings, and finally moving to Vancouver to work on one of the biggest movies of 2018.

Since both Chris’s have a passion for digital humans, they go into a deep discussion on which movies have been able to tackle the Uncanny Valley, leading to some very interesting conclusions along the way.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast189_ChrisNichols-DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT

V-Ray for Houdini made a spectacular debut last year — via the music video for Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do. Behind the visual effects of the video — and most of Swift’s promos — is Ingenuity Studios, and its Creative Director Grant Miller.

In this podcast, Grant talks with Lon and Chris about how Ingenuity has embraced V-Ray for Houdini, from its early days as a GitHub project to full commercial software. Grant discusses how it’s streamlined workflows and joined the dots of Ingenuity's pipeline, making it faster and easier to create content.

Grant also goes into detail on how V-Ray for Houdini fits in with Ingenuity’s agile approach to technology, and how the small but successful company makes use of V-Ray for Nuke and V-Ray for Unreal in many different mediums. You’ll find out how the Ingenuity’s gone from making five cheap music videos a week to five megabudget videos a year, what it’s like to work with Tay and James van der Beek, and the effects it contributed to Oscar-winning movie Get Out.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast186_GrantMiller.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:45am PDT

Softly-spoken VFX supervisor Bill Spradlin currently works at Zoic Studios on TV shows such as Arrow, Iron Fist, and Legends of Tomorrow, and his previous credits include Oblivion (with Chris), Transformers, and Iron Man 3.

In this podcast, he talks about how his childhood fascination with Star Trek helped him choose his career path, as well as his early ventures in computing and MMOs. He highlights the many differences between working in TV and film, how both are seeping into gaming and VR, and what it’s like to work with industry personalities such as Joe Kosinski, Eric Barba, and Jeff Baksinski.

It evolves into a deeper discussion of the relevance of working in VFX today, and why the industry is about so much more than getting your name in the credits of a big movie. An essential listen if you’re considering a career in VFX.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast185_BillSpradlin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT

On the verge of his 50th birthday, Chris’s former colleague Ken Ibrahim looks back at an incredible career in which his childhood dreams came spectacularly true.

Ken’s interest in visual effects began at the age of nine, when he and his brother were inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek to create Super 8 films, complete with hand-drawn visual effects. He was introduced to computers at high school, and shortly afterwards he made the leap to Japan where he ended up as a programmer – and occasional voice artist – at SEGA.

Then Ken returned to the US to work at companies such as PDI, Cinesite, Square and Digital Domain on movies like Shrek, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, X-Men 2 and 2012. He landed in nerd heaven, and met some of the universe’s heroes, when he joined JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot studio, to work on the franchises which inspired his career.

Ken’s an entertaining podcast guest, and he and Chris discuss everything from digital humans to Isomorphic web design. You’ll also find out how he enjoys free beer, ball games and concerts in San Francisco.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast180_KenIbrahim.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:46pm PDT

Steve Blakey has been in visual effects since 1989, beginning with animated logos and commercials in New York, and then moving to Los Angeles to work on movies. He and Chris first met at Digital Domain, where they worked on disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.

Recorded over a bottle of whisky, this podcast covers everything from the megabucks contracts digital artists could command in the early days of CG, to the beginning and end of Digital Domain’s infamous Martini Nights, to the rapid evolution of CG software features starting with grouped objects in Wavefront.

Chris and Steve offer some important words of wisdom to young people working in the field, and Steve sets up an intriguing story involving DD co-founder Scott Ross. Hopefully we’ll hear more on this in coming episodes...

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast173_SteveBlakey.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:57pm PDT

On-set data integration people fill a crucial role in the modern movie making process. They capture reference materials such as HDR images, camera data, and reference photography so effects artists can ensure their CG creations fit perfectly into the shot.

As data integration lead Viki Chan explains, the job combines the glamor of traveling the world to work with a-list actors and directors, with 17-hour days and having to stay away from home for months at a time. She breaks down what her job involves, whether it’s placing tracking markers on the set, negotiating with ADs and gaffers, or minimizing the amount of CG involved on a production.

Viki comes across as friendly and professional – exactly the sort of person you’d want to work with on a chaotic movie set. And she’s got some great anecdotes about Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast160_VikiChan.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:57pm PDT

Greg Teegarden’s first role in Hollywood was suitably iconic: he designed the famous gates for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. From here, Greg worked as a modeler on Spielberg’s ambitious seaQuest DSV TV project, then helped create effects for Titanic and cars for The Fifth Element.

In this podcast, Greg talks about his career, and how his dad and uncle’s collaboration on TV series Supertrain helped set it up. He and Chris reminisce about the late nights they had at Digital Domain, and the huge cast of characters who made up the team there, including Eric Barba, Victoria Alonso, Ed Ulbrich, and Steve Worley, the software genius who’d write entire LightWave plugins on the plane.

Greg finishes with a discussion of his current work at Digital Domain on piractical TV series Black Sails — and reminds Chris of the time they hung out with dozens of bikini-clad models at his pool during the making of a short film.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast157_GregTeagarden.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:06pm PDT

Johnny Gibson has created ballistic missile detection software, worked on stealth bombers, and covertly filmed on the Russia/China border. These might sound like missions assigned to a secret agent, but Johnny’s actually a VFX artist and supervisor, and in this podcast he discusses his incredible career with Chris.

Having worked on over 30 feature films, including Fight Club, Transformers and three X-Men movies, Johnny has a unique insight into the effects industry. He talks about what a technical director does, why the best people aren’t necessarily on the biggest movies, and how rotoscoping is a great fundamental skill to have.

It’s a gripping episode, full of amusing anecdotes, and revelations of when Johnny and Chris’s career paths met.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast140_JohnnyGibson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:04pm PDT

Originally from South Africa, Darren Hendler has worked on movies such as The Grinch, I Robot, and Maleficent. At the same time he’s become a key figure in the research and development of virtual humans at Digital Domain.

Darren has a lot in common with the similarly digital human obsessed Chris, and this podcast poses many questions around digital humans, such as why is it easier to make an old Brad Pitt, but harder to make a young Jeff Bridges? What are the ethics of reanimating deceased actors, or manipulating news footage? And, how can deep learning help us create more believable digital humans?

It’s fascinating to hear experts in the field pick each other’s brains about this cutting-edge tech. It’s also, as Darren puts it, “a huge amount of fun.”

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast138_DarrenHendler.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:11pm PDT

Established in London in 1990, visual effects and post-production company the Mill has grown with offices in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with over 200 employees in the later. Among those who made the jump to the LA office are  Head of 2D/Creative Director Chris Knight, and Executive Creative Director Phil Crowe.

As becomes apparent in this podcast, neither has lost their accent — or their cheeky British sense of humour. The BFFs talk about their first meeting at the prestigious Ravensbourne College in the mid-90s, then delve into the early days of VFX, when crazy characters at The Mill taught them how to use Flame and Henry. Chris and Phil come across as passionate and knowledgeable professionals who are as well-versed in episodes of Columbo as they are in visual effects tools.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast133_ChrisKnightPhilCrowe.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:02am PDT

Multitalented VFX artist Alex Nice’s career began in the very early days of 3D Studio on a 386 computer — complete with vigorous turbo button action. After a rebellious phase as an amateur tattoo artist, he settled into a role as a 3D generalist at Sway Studio via a stint in courtroom animations.

Alex recently served as art director for innovative effects studio Magnopus, alongside previous podcast guests Sally Slade and Ben Grossmann. He’s also worked on matte paintings for movies such as 2012, Hugo, Elysium, Pacific Rim and a tantalizing upcoming sci-fi project.

He recently joined the Art Director's guild doing concept art and tells Chris how astounding it is to see his concept art come to life as a million-dollar film set, how VR has dramatically changed the way he works with directors, and they discuss future of the VFX industry in Hollywood and beyond.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast131_AlexNice.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:07pm PDT

For visual effects supervisor Jay Barton, a chance to work on the Fate of the Furious was a dream come true. As well as having over 18 years experience in visual effects, he’s a car fanatic who knows high-performance autos inside-out — literally.

Fresh from a visit to China, where DD’s presence is increasing, Jay chatted to Chris about his career trajectory, from creating animated videos of environmental catastrophes to win over juries, to big budget commercials and feature films at Digital Domain. Jay shares stories about his ad work for Bacardi, Pontiac and Audi, and VFX in Rock of Ages, 47 Ronin and the physically-based stunts in Fate of the Furious.

Jay’s a charming, charismatic guest who talks candidly about the fake-it-til-you-make-it nature of the early days of VFX.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast129_JayBarton.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:29am PDT

If you’ve seen Chaos Group’s showreel, you’ll be familiar with Unit Image’s work. The Parisian visual effects studio has created entertaining and witty commercials for Peugeot, Cartier, and Canal Plus. As it was founded by gamers, it’s also produced gritty trailers for AAA titles such as The Crew, The Division, and For Honor.

Fresh from their presentation at FMX, Unit Image’s slightly hungover Johanne Beaupied (Business Development and Production Management) and Dorian Marchesin (CG Supervisor) join Chris for this engaging podcast. Johanne’s background lies in games, from playing Doom at age six to working at Ubisoft, which has given her a unique perspective on the industry. Dorian, meanwhile, studied engineering but became drawn in to the world of 3ds Max. His love of cars - and V-Ray - meant that working on some of Unit Image’s productions has been a dream come true.

Johanne and Dorian talk to Chris about how they get lose themselves in game universes both professionally and in their spare time, Unit Image’s Scan Engine tech, and the French film industry.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast125_UnitImage.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:20pm PDT

Sweden’s long, harsh winters compelled Johan Thorngren to pursue creative endeavours, and after a stint in advertising he accepted an enviable position with ILM in San Francisco.

As a generalist, Johan’s job is to pick up VFX shots which don’t fit into the typical pipeline. His workload has increased from a handful of shots on movies such as Star Wars: Episode III, to thousands for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In this podcast, Johan talks about changes he’s seen in the visual effects industry over the past decade, creating the almost full-CG Leipzig airport battle for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the wide range of software ILM has at its disposal to create stunning VFX shots. Chris and Johan also discuss the popular press’s opinion on CGI in movies, and invisible effects.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast121_JohanThorngren.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:17pm PDT

Technical artist, designer and Nick Offerman lookalike Dave Carlson is Chris’ guest for this week’s podcast. Dave spent his youth perfecting his skills with airbrushes and Amigas, before a demo on an SGI supercomputer, and a fascination with “Babylon 5’s” VFX, lit a fire on a career in visual effects.

Dave has worked on music videos, commercials and feature films, joining Chris at Digital Domain for “TRON: Legacy” and “Oblivion.” Now, Dave serves as a CGI generalist, creates mobile games, and he’s currently investigating the worlds of AR and VR. It’s a thoroughly entertaining podcast which alternates between laugh-out-loud hilarious, and heartbreakingly poignant.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast119_DaveCarlson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:15am PDT

Iconic monster with a heart of gold Kong is back on the big screens in “Kong: Skull Island”—and this time he’s bigger than ever. For this podcast, Chris managed to tempt Jeff White, the movie’s visual effects supervisor, away from wrangling enormous creatures and into talking about how exactly his team brought Kong to life.

Jeff goes into great detail about the elements which sell the character to the audience: those expressive eyes, the matted fur, and even its pungent aroma. Jeff also talks about Kong’s gargantuan co-stars, including the elegant Sker Buffalo, and the formidable Skull Crushers. It’s a comprehensive guide to the character-based techniques and software ILM has perfected through movies such as “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “The Revenant,” and “WarCraft: The Beginning.”

Jeff White at IMDb [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1578635/]
Jeff White at ILM [http://www.ilm.com/people/jeff-white/]
Kong: Skull Island Official Site [http://kongskullislandmovie.com/]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast115_JeffWhite.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:30am PDT

Eric Durst’s career path has gone hand-in-hand with the evolution of visual effects from the early 80s to the present day. This CalArts animation graduate’s first job was in commercials in New York, which proved to be a hotbed of early visual effects techniques. He moved to Los Angeles, where he animated the disc battle for landmark 1982 movie “Tron,” and became a key employee at Dream Quest, one of the very first visual effects houses.

In this thought-provoking interview, Eric talks about the pain and pleasure of the early days of visual effects, through to his supervision work on “Spider-Man 2,” “Snowpiercer,” and “Gods of Egypt.” If you’ve ever wondered why some effects shots use green screens and some use blue, Eric has your answer, and he discusses how vain actors can create a lot of headaches for visual effects artists.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast114_EricDurst.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:08pm PDT

Chris Wells has worked on some of the biggest films of the past 20 years, including “300,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Although Chris wanted to be a park ranger, he was drawn to computing in the most 80s way possible: a nerd friend, Sigue Sigue Sputnik albums, and software pirated via BBS and five-and-a-quarter floppies. A chance encounter with SGI machines, and a love for early CGI videos on TV show “Night Flight,” gave Chris the impetus to follow his dreams.

In this podcast, Chris offers some amazing insight into the best practices for working on movies. He explains why it’s best to talk directors and producers out of relying on CGI, and how crucial it is to thoroughly prepare for post-production when you’re in the pre-production phase. He finishes with an exclusive behind-the-scenes discussion of his upcoming movie “Vague City.”

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast112_ChrisWells.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:33pm PDT

This candid, illuminating podcast is two hours of pure heaven for anyone interested in the history of special and visual effects. Michael Fink’s career began almost 40 years ago, when he created the computers for nuclear thriller “The China Syndrome.” Over the next few years, he’d sit in a darkened room with a tesla coil for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” raid components store Apex Electronics to build “Blade Runner’s” Voight-Kampff machine, and sync multiple projectors, monitors and cameras for “WarGames.”

In the digital era, Mike talks about how “Batman Returns’” effects are an underappreciated milestone in the history of CG, tight post-production periods on the first two “X-Men” movies, and the trials and tribulations of “The Golden Compass’” effects.

Mike currently serves as a professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he’s passing on his years of experience to a new generation of filmmakers. His thoughts on digital humans are an invaluable end to an interview with a true legend of the visual effects industry.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast111-MikeFink.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:02pm PDT

Steven Lisberger’s 1982 movie Tron was way ahead of its time. As the first film to have major CG set replacement and full CG shots, it paved the way for the likes of “Jurassic Park,” “Toy Story,” “Avatar,” and many more. Its story investigated ideas of cyberspace and simulated worlds a long time before the internet and virtual reality became part of popular culture.

One of the men behind “Tron” was its computer effects supervisor Richard Taylor. Aptly, Chris joined Richard for a drink at the real-world location which served as Flynn’s bar in “Tron” before recording this illuminating podcast.

Richard is a fascinating character with a sly sense of humor and a vast catalog of stories from the early days of CGI in Hollywood. He tells Chris about how a piece of stationery proved to be key to his career, arguments with “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry about the practicality of the Starship Enterprise’s doors, and utterly baffling the Academy with “Tron’s” CG effects.

The podcast finishes with Richard talking about Eymerce, a headset free immersive reality system which sounds well suited to some “Tron”-like experiences.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast107_RichardTaylor.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:31pm PDT

Inspired by effects magazine Cinefex and repeated viewings of “Star Wars,” Dutch compositor and environments artist Justin van der Lek used professional breakdancing to fund a degree in graphic design. Then he jetted to LA to follow his dreams.

As Justin discusses with Chris, his first role was in the mysterious world of integration, which receives a comprehensive explanation. As his career progressed, he discovered an affinity for NUKE, using it to develop a facial projection rig for Jet Li’s face in “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” From here, he went on to create groundbreaking environments for “Real Steel” and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," as well as compositing on "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies" and much more.

This is an essential listen if you want to know more about the technical aspects of compositing, and how it’s shifted from a 2D to a 3D tool. But, more than this, the podcast tells Justin’s story, which wraps ups nicely with his “Star Wars” fandom and breakdancing skills both coming into play.

Justin van der Lek on IMDb
Justin van der Lek’s 2011 showreel

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast105_JustinvanderLek.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:05pm PDT

Chris’ guest for this episode is Ed Ulbrich, President and General Manager, Deluxe VFX and VR. He’s Digital Domain’s former CCO and CEO, and when the effects company faced financial difficulties a few years ago, Ed did a heroic job of reassuring staff and providing transparent answers to difficult questions.

Ed also spearheaded the VFX industry’s experiments with digital head replacements. Back in 1999 he helped transplant James Brown’s digital visage onto a younger dancer for Seattle’s Experience Music Project back in 1999. He led the team which reanimated Orville Redenbacher for the unintentionally creepy commercial, then perfected the tech with a digitally-aged Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and the late Tupac Shakur’s CG headline performance at Coachella in 2012.

Ed talks about his new role at Deluxe, which is arguably the biggest effects company in LA. He also discusses his role as VFX producer on “Suicide Squad,” and the potential of virtual reality in movie making

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast104_EdUlbrich.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:19pm PDT

Ever since the T-Rex stomped onto the screen in 1993, audiences have been captivated by “Jurassic Park.” Steven Spielberg’s film heralded a new era of family-oriented event movies, and Chris has already discussed the film’s groundbreaking effects with Matt Winston and Steve “Spaz” Williams and Mark Dippe.
In this podcast, Dan and Chris thoroughly eviscerate the franchise in velociraptor-like fashion. They examine the good and bad of each film, from “Jurassic Park’s” fresh take on ageing tropes, to “The Lost World’s” incredible set pieces, to “Jurassic Park III’s” competent adventure, and “Jurassic World’s” attempt to re-engineer the story and themes for a modern audience.
In doing so, they cover the way the MPAA has shaped movie making, the joys of musicals, and the dearth of creativity in franchise films. And there’s a hilarious moment where you can literally hear Chris’ jaw drop at the mention of Brett Ratner’s name.

 

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast101_DanielThron_JurassicPark.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:07pm PDT

Steve “Spaz” Williams and Mark Dippe’s story is Hollywood material in itself. The pair found themselves working at ILM to create the watery creatures in James Cameron’s “The Abyss,” and they worked with the director again on the menacing liquid metal T-1000 in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”

But the crux of their story comes behind the scenes at Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.” The pair were met with scepticism when they said the dinosaurs could be rendered with CG technology, and had to work in secret to create test renders. But they ultimately won the team over with their realistic creatures, which stand up to scrutiny to this day.

It’s a hugely enjoyable podcast. Steve and Mark are tremendous characters who bonded over a love of Alice Cooper, and they come across as part rebellious teens, part buddy cop partners, and part bickering elderly couple. In the nicest possible way.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast93_SpazAndMark.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:58pm PDT

Darin Grant’s hugely important career in the visual effects industry has been one of choices. When he started at Digital Domain in the early 90s he had to choose between its gaming and visual effects departments. He discusses the differences between the Perl and Python programming languages. And, in his role on the committee of the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards, he has to jostle the merits of production ray-tracing renderers against life-size animatronic horses.

As one of the industry’s key players, and he’s happy to share the immense knowledge he’s gained from working at companies including Google, Method Studios, and Autodesk. Listen to find out how Darin’s grandmother understood his work on What Dreams May Come, his thoughts on the future of cloud-based rendering how it lowers the barriers to entry, and his fascination with video conferencing technology.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast88_DarinGrant.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:52pm PDT

Roland Emmerich has carved a career for himself in Hollywood as the guy who destroys cities and envisages the end of the world. In films such as “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “Godzilla,” he depicts aliens, climate change and giant lizards wreaking havoc around the world. He’s often overlooked as a major force who completely changed the sheer scale of Hollywood movies.

Fellow German Volker Engel has been behind Roland most of the way. He started out overseeing the practical effects in Roland’s early movies “Moon 44” and “Universal Soldier,” before providing the large-scale destruction for “Independence Day.” At the same time, Volker and fellow German effects guru Marc Weigert founded Uncharted Territory, an innovative pop-up visual effects studio which has even made its own movies.

Here, Volker talks to Chris about everything from his early days in Super 8 animation to realtime visual effects via ncam, and the challenges of scaling back production for Roland’s (comparatively) low-budget 2011 film “Anonymous.”

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast86_VolkerEngel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:16pm PDT

Two time VFX nominee and member of the Academy, Bryan Grill of Scanline VFX speaks to us about his impressive career working from the ground up to be one of the top people in the field. His long career at Digital Domain and Scanline have been blessed with many great stories. He recently finished supervising Independence Day: Resurgence.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast80_BryanGrill.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:33pm PDT

Regular listeners will recognize Executive Producer Lisa Beroud’s name - she served as producer on a number of movies with Chris at Digital Domain, including TRON: Legacy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Oblivion. But, more than that, she made the intense working environment a lot more pleasant by employing masseuses and laying on decent food.

Lisa’s career began as a freelance producer in the world of commercials and music videos in the 80s and 90s, before she migrated into feature films via A52 and Digital Domain. She’s picked up a VES award for her work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and she was nominated for her achievements on TRON: Legacy.

In this fascinating discussion with Chris, the quietly confident producer discusses what, exactly, her role involves (a lot!), the peculiar smell of the Digital Domain offices, and the fragmented future of the visual effects industry.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast79_Lisa_Beroud.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:34pm PDT

Of all the podcast guests thus far, Richard Edlund’s got to have the most amazing voice. He sounds so bassy and gravelly that he could certainly pick up a second job as a trailer voiceover guy.

Not that he’d need to. As he explains to Chris Nichols, his story includes throwing depth charges off battleships, designing Star Trek’s alphabet, driving San Francisco cable cars, making experimental movies, and even inventing the Pignose guitar amp.

Richard later turned his considerable talents to the visual effects industry, where he was nominated for 10 Visual Effects Oscars, winning 4 of them for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi. He went on to set up Boss Studios, an effects house which successfully made the transition from practical to digital workflows through its work on Die Hard, Ghost, and Alien 3.

Richard is now chairman of the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and he talks about the challenges modern effects pose to board members. It’s an awesome and fascinating 80 minutes - and we recommend turning the bass up to feel the full thunderous effect of Richard’s magnificent vocal chords.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast75_Richard_Edlund.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:08pm PDT

Janelle Croshaw, an outstanding Visual Effects Supervisor at Digital Domain, talks to us about her career as a 3D artist, compositor, and supervisor. Her credits include Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, Tron Legacy, Her, and more. We speak about how career took many changes, and the challenges she found taking a leadership role in visual effects as a woman.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast72_JanelleCroshaw.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:01pm PDT

We speak to Blake Sweeney, the head of software at Method Studios. His long history at places like Industrial Light and Magic, Weta, MPC, and Digital Domain has given him a rich history in the world of Visual Effects. He speaks to us about what it took him to get to where he is, and what he thinks is important part in the future of VFX, including a lot about cloud rendering.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast71_BlakeSweeney.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:00am PDT

Eric Barba sits down with Christopher Nichols and Stephen Parker to discuss his career that ultimately led him to his new position as Creative Director at ILM in Vancouver. We discuss his background at Art Center in transportation design, his nearly 20 years at Digital Domain, which included a longtime creative partnership with David Fincher and Joe Konsinksi, and an Oscar for his work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast63_EricBarba.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:41pm PDT

We chat with Hristo Velev and Martin Naydenski from Bottleship VFX about theyir company based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Coming with a history of visual effects work, they founded the company with an expertise in FX work. They have a strong understanding of fluid dynamics which we discuss along with starting a small VFX company in Eastern Europe.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast58_HristoandMartin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:20pm PDT

Brandon Davis stops by the CG Garage to talk about his very diverse careers. Having worked in CG for nearly two decades, he also happened to be part of Special Forces in the United States Army at the same times that he was making visual effects. Having worked at major facilities like Digital Domain and Weta, he has worked on Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and much much more.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast56_BrandonDavis.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:44pm PDT

Daniel Lay, also known as VFX Soldier, stopped by the CG Garage to talk to his old friends, Christopher Nichols and Stephen Parker, about what is going in his life. We talked about his career, what happened when he was VFX Soldier, why he left the industry, and what he is doing now.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast55_DanielLay.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:36pm PDT

Having known and been friends with David Stripinis for a very long time, this was the first time that I actually met David in person. Having worked on many major feature films including Avatar, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, and Man of Steel, David is a long time VFX industry veteran, having focused a lot of his attention on virtual production, motion capture, and animation, while still reaching outside to lighting as well. He talks about his career, as well as give us his opinion on where he feels the industry needs to change.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast52_DavidStripinis.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:56pm PDT

Doug Roble has been at Digital Domain longer than anyone else as he was one of the first hires. He is the Creative Director of Software, and has helped develop many major tools over his career there. Having won both a Technical Achievement Award and a Science and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he has now  joined the Science and Technology Council. We talk about his career and influences, as well as what he envisions to be the future of computer graphics and Visual Effects.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast51_DougRoble.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:23pm PDT

Alex Alvarez started the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games + Animation in 1997 when the industry itself had few resources to find talent. His motivation came from his own frustration of the current education system in the United States, and its lack of support for the arts, or art education. Today, Gnomon continues to be one of the leading schools for Visual Effects by keeping its enrollment small and selective, making sure that they can sustain the demands of a selective industry.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast45_AlexAlvarez.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:15am PDT

Our second podcast from THU 2105 features two great artists. Jose Alves da Silva and Andrew Hickinbottom. Both have a love of character, have an amazing sense of humor, are great friends, but live in very different styles. We talk about their inspirations, and about our love for THU where we all became great friends.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast42_Jose_and_Andrew.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:36pm PDT

David Prescott will kick off the first off a series off conversations we had at Trojan Horse was a Unicorn this year in Troia, Portugal. I first met David 13 years ago when we both worked at Digital Domain. We talk about his journey from South Africa to DD and Dreamworks. As a seasoned veteran, David has a great ability to balance logic, perception, reality, and inspiration. These ideas are what led to his talk at THU called: "Perception, Problem Solving, and Finding Inspiration in the Default World."

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast40_DavidPrescott.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:13pm PDT

Blur Studio has always been a good friend of Chaos Group, but we were still lucky to be able to get Tim Miller, one of the founders of Blur, on the podcast. Tim is in the middle of directing the upcoming film Deadpool, due out in 2016. We talk about what it is like to get your first big feature film directing gig at age 50. We also have a very honest talk about running a studio like Blur, a very unique and creative place. Tim has a very different philosophy about how to run a studio which for the most part has been a huge advantage for them. But he is also honest about the mistakes he has made and owns up to them.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast39_TimMiller.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:01am PDT

While at Siggraph we sat down with Kevin Baillie from Atomic Fiction. We speak about his interesting career starting on the Skywalker ranch, which, after a few extra stops along the way, led him to start Atomic Fiction with his childhood friend Ryan Tudhope. Kevin and his company are not shy of trying new things. While most people think that eventually people will possibly be rendering on the cloud, they have already been doing it for 5 years. He talks about how the company led over 600 shots on Robert Zemeckis's The Walk rendering on the cloud and with V-Ray for Katana.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast36_KevinBayley.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:06pm PDT

We sit down at Siggraph 2015 to talk to Senior Compositor Shahin Toosi about how he has spent the last 2 years pushing V-Ray for Nuke. Based on his self admitted addiction with the product, he explains how having that level of rendering power inside of a composting package opens the doors things to people may not realize is possible.

Direct download: Podcast_Shahin_mixdown.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:40pm PDT

Based on a request on Twitter, I asked Fausto to come on the podcast. His interesting background coming from São Paulo Brazil to working at Blizzard eventually led him to be a concept artist, now working at Lightstorm Entertainment. We follow his interesting and inspiring story.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast34_Fausto_De_martini.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:01pm PDT

Kirk and Christopher from A52 chat about their work at A52. We learn about the history of the company as well as some of the amazing work, including the Daredevil main title and Nissan #WithDad spots which got them nominated for Emmys this year. They are an extremely creative company which plays of their expertise in Directing, editing, and VFX.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast32_A52.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:29pm PDT

Erik's background in Effects started way back as a director of photography in miniatures. Having done 8 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Deep Space 9, he claims that he has done more shots of space ships then anyone else. His experience as a DP is what most inspires the people that work with him as a Visual Effect Supervisor today. In doing so, he has earned 3 Oscar nominations for I Robot, Real Steel, and Iron Man 3.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast31_ErikNash.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:16pm PDT

Rob Nederhorst is a veteran of the VFX industry. He has deep knowledge in compositing, lighting, 3D, 2D, as a supervisor, and even in programming. On top of that, he is also a teacher at University of Southern California. All this led him to his new venture Live Mentor. We talk about his history in the industry, and about his ideas behind the new project.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast29_RobNederhorst.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:41am PDT

While at FMX, I had the opportunity to visit Luxx Studiosan interesting small studio that does some really great Visual Effects work. I sat down with Andrea Block and Christian Haas in their very warm and inviting studio to talk about their work. Besides the work on White House Down and Grand Budapest Hotel, we also talked about the feature animation that they are producing called Manou the Swift. They talk about their inspiration in making the film, as well as what it takes to get something like this to happen.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast25_Luxx.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 1:56pm PDT

We recorded this podcast while at FMX in Stuttgart. We had a great conversation with Jörn Großhans a VFX Supervisor and Christian Zilliken a CG Supervisor at Mackevision. They talk about what it was like to start a VFX department there and all the amazing work they did on Game Of Thrones Season 4 and 5. You will also hear a bit from Kian Saemian who is the Business Development Manager.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast23_MackevisionP1_01.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:29am PDT

Allan and I both started our podcasts around the same time. And while he and I have similar audiences, history, and friends, we were inspired by different motivations. At the age of 33, Allan has been doing visual effects professionally for 20 years. Besides his strong drive, he feels a strong need to give back to the community through his new mentorship program.  I had a great time talking to Allan, and I have a strong feeling that we will be joining forces a lot more when it comes to supporting our community.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast22_AllanMcKay_01.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:16pm PDT

This week we talk to Ben West, a Creative Director at Framestore, and Director. His unique and interesting upbringing, combined with his strong creative education in both Architecture and Film School, led him to create interesting projects such as Fugu and Tako. Based on it's success, Ben has launched a kickstarter project to expand the story into a graphic novel form. He tells us about his past work, his passion for CG and VFX, and his creative process.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast21_BenWest_01.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:27am PDT

Scott Ross is an extremely important person in the world of Visual Effects. He was the general manager at ILM when they started to go digital. He also founded Digital Domain with James Cameron and Stan Winston. He later made great efforts to be an advocate for the visual effects industry based on his strong knowledge of how the business is run. Most recently, he has become an ambassador for Trojan Horse was a Unicorn, bringing world class speakers to that event.  We speak about his long and fascinating history, as well as what we each think is wrong with and how to fix the issues surrounding the world of VFX today.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast19_ScottRoss_01.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:38pm PDT

Jonathan Litt has a long history in the world of VFX. We cover a large number of subjects in the podcast with Jon. From his first job at ILM, his work on the Matrix series, digital humans at Digital Domain, we even dive into his new passion for virtual reality. Jon offers insight into every part of the process.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast18_JonLitt_01.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:38pm PDT

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