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.

“Plug” neatly combines sweeping cinematic visuals with an intriguing tale of identity in a post-apocalyptic future, and it’s one of the best short films you’ll ever see. With over 600,000 views on the internet and a host of awards, it’s proof that shorts can be every bit as good as their feature-length brethren.

The man behind “Plug” is concept artist and director David Levy, who joined Chris for this absorbing podcast. David talks about everything from his early days as a beach bum in the south of France, to working in horrendous conditions in the French and British games industries, to his cinematic debut on Joseph Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy. He also discusses his work on "Prometheus" and "Ender's Game" and explains just how much hard work goes into short films.

David Levy’s official site [http://vyle-art.com/]
“Plug” on Vimeo [https://vimeo.com/109873939]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast108_DavidLevy.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:36am PDT

Globetrotting concept artist Igor Knezevic has seen it all. Born in Yugoslavia, he left after the country was torn apart by war in the early 90s. He worked on East German construction sites, and then found his way into the gaming industry. As he moved around Europe and the US, he saw the evolution of the internet and the pop of the dotcom bubble, before settling in LA for a job which involved inserting Mike Myers into CGI backgrounds for CD-Roms.

A true polymath, Igor’s gone on to provide concept designs for movies such as “X-Men: First Class,” “In Time,” and “Terminator Genesys.” At the same time, he’s created and nurtured a business which sells revolutionary 3D printed designs. In this captivating chat with Chris they discuss their shared Eastern European heritage, the unionization of the visual effects industry, and the big differences between working in TV and film. And he reveals his lifelong hatred of Commodore 64s.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast90_IgorKnezevic.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:04pm PDT

Out of home printed advertisements, such as billboards, are a genre of CG unto themselves. The resolution of the images can reach 15K or 20K, far beyond the 2K or 4K of media. As technical director at production company Taylor James, David Wortley knows the subject intimately, as well the challenges of generating thousands of HD PNGs for online car configurators, and creating pharmaceutical adverts which sell a product without baiting lawsuits.

Through his decade of experience at Taylor James, David’s also built up an immense understanding of 3ds Max’s ins and outs, and his blog is an essential bookmark if you want to get more from Autodesk’s 3D software. He finishes the podcast with his cautiously optimistic thoughts on virtual reality – including how a simple shot of a girl playing a violin can become a powerful experience in the medium.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast89_DavidWortley.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:29am PDT

Director David Chontos has brought his unique vision to a number of projects, including bonkers Coca-Cola advertisement “The Happiness Factory,” trailers for games including “Clash of Clans” and “ReCore,” and his atmospheric short film “Sisters.” His next project, Kismet, takes him into virtual reality via a spookily accurate fortune teller.

In this podcast, he talks to Chris about the golden age of crazy music videos in the late 90s, what virtual reality needs to establish itself alongside traditional mediums such as films and games, and how much he hates IKEA kitchens. Essential listening from an early explorer of the virtual world.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast87_DavidChontos.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:12am PDT

One of the most fascinating aspects of V-Ray is the way people react when you tell them many of the images in the IKEA catalog are created with 3D software. It’s a definite wow moment, and people are often more impressed by than V-Ray being used in Hollywood blockbusters.

Behind IKEA’s use of 3D is Martin Enthed, the company’s Development and Operations IT Manager. Martin’s love for computers began in the early 80s, and before he worked at IKEA he sold software for Autodesk, and supplied Volvo with the first ever 3D rendering of one of its vehicles.

The crazy world of IKEA is the subject of most of this podcast, though. Martin talks to Chris about why the company has embraced 3D technology, how it’s trained its photographers to use the software, and how to develop software which puts cookies in jars. He also mentions the future for IKEA, which involves exciting AR and VR apps so consumers can see how the Mörbylånga table will fit into their living room.

And next time you tell someone that the IKEA catalog is mostly CG, and they don’t believe you, just point them to this podcast.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast84_MartinEnthed.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:46pm PDT

Tristan Salome and Matthieu Labeau of Nozon, hang out with us during Siggraph 2016 to talk about Presenz. The application allows for 6 degrees of freedom of pre-rendered content. The application now works for V-Ray and is in closed beta. This podcast gives people an insight as to what this application does and how it can fit into your needs.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast83_Nozon.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:34pm PDT

As one of the biggest advertising agency in the world, Saatchi & Saatchi has to have an intimate understanding of the products it sells. It’s even located its LA offices just across the street from Toyota’s offices, possibly so it can have first-hand access to car designs before they hit the road.

Michael Wilken, Saatchi and Saatchi LA’s director of 3D, joins Chris for this fascinating podcast. Both Michael and Chris have in depth understandings of automotive design and how to make amazing car renders, and they discuss running footage, character lines, and accessory combinations.

Michael also talks about the future of the advertising industry, including Minority Report-style customized ads based on your personality, and the exciting prospect of everyone knowing what it’s like to sit in a concept car—thanks to VR. It’s an engrossing chat, and by the end of it you’ll know all the trade secrets of (im)perfect car renders.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast82_MichaelWilken.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:55pm PDT

Sally Slade. It’s got to be one of the best names in the industry - as Chris remarks, she sounds like a superhero. But the similarities don’t end there - her career has been the stuff that makes origin stories, from her beginnings in a small fishing village, to her acquisition of superpowers (She can speak Japanese! She understands CSS!), to fate intervening and yanking her from a transpacific flight at the last minute.

After getting a foot in the door at the industry via Digital Domain’s work on The Golden Compass, she’s gone on to work on suitably superhero movies G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, Iron Man 3, and Avengers Assemble. Now she’s moved into a completely different world, creating augmented reality experiences for Magnopus.

In this epic podcast, she and Chris talk about augmented reality, holograms, and the LEIA 3D phone. She also discusses how she went to work for a whole year dressed as Indiana Jones, and how she plans to turn into a unicorn (for certain people) in the near future. Y’know, like a superhero.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast77_SallySlade.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:41pm PDT

It goes without saying that Disney is a huge, multinational corporation with fingers in an increasing number of pies: Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios have both been incorporated into the Disney umbrella, and it runs everything from cruise ships and TV channels.

An interesting offshoot of this is Disney Research. Headquartered in the Swiss city of Zürich, it specializes in creating computer graphics. It makes sense: Disney's cinematic output is now almost totally CG, and advances in technology can be passed directly onto feature films and animations.

In this podcast, Chris talks to Thabo Beeler and Pascal Bérard, who have made some pretty significant advances in digital humans. Including Derek Bradley who was not able to join the podcast, they are all member of the Digital Human League.  They discuss the surprising intricacy of human hair, the oft-underestimated importance of realistic eyeballs, the challenges of capturing actors who can’t stay still for long periods of time, and how their work has influenced different areas, including the Wikihuman project.

Also, Chris reveals that you can buy a Swiss Army Knife after you’ve passed Swiss airport security. Perfect for cutting up that Toblerone.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast76_DisneyResearch.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:22pm PDT

While at FMX 2016 we spoke to Jonas Skoog from Bläck Studios located in Stockholm. He was also one of the speakers for V-Ray Days. He tells us about the great work being done at the studio, and how they have created a coalition of VFX studios to maximizes and load balance their resources. Jonas is also the Character Lead at Bläck and tells us about his passion for digital humans.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast74_JonasSkoog.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:59pm PDT