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.


The internet, and its content, has become as precision-tooled and refined as a jet fighter—or a rendering engine. In this illuminating podcast, VFX writer and editor Ian Failes talks about creating articles and videos for an audience which is bombarded with information from the moment they wake up.


He and Chris talk at great length about the success of the CG garage podcast, what it means to be Fireballed, and how press releases have reshaped journalism. For video producers among you, Ian and Chris also share some secrets to making amazing filmed content. Newman from Seinfeld even gets a mention, which surely doesn’t happen enough these days.

Vfxblog, Ian’s site [https://vfxblog.com/]
Masters of FX, Ian’s book [https://www.amazon.com/Masters-FX-Geniuses-Special-Effects/dp/1138845965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478277617&sr=8-1&keywords=masters+of+fx]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast97_IanFailes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm PST

Mikki Willis joined Chris at THU festival for this surprisingly philosophical and anthropological podcast. Mikki had established himself as a music video director, with a career beckoning in feature films, when he found himself at the site of Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. The horrific events of that day caused him to completely re-evaluate his life and his career.

From that terrible experience, a deeply thoughtful man has emerged. He’s full of advice for artists, such as how to balance humankind’s innate desire to create with the 21st century’s demands of cashflow and celebrity status. He also talks to Chris about how to nurture talent in young children by destroying technology, and how ending up in a submarine – both metaphorically and literally – can be a good thing.
It’s a vital listen for CG artists who want to inject a little soul into their work.

Elevate, Mikki’s film festival [http://elevate.us/]
Mikki’s official site [http://www.mikkiwillis.com/main.html]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast96_MikkiWillis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am PST

It’s hard to imagine what games would be like without “Half-Life 2.” Released in 2004, Valve’s sci-fi shooter set a new precedent in game design, marrying realistic characters with an involving story which propels the player through awe-inspiring environments.

As a concept artist and character designer at Valve, Moby Francke was a driving force behind the game’s groundbreaking look and feel. He found himself working at the company almost accidentally, and he had to adjust to a new world of digital art and gaming. But he became a key player on the company’s games, including “Team Fortress 2,” “Portal,” and “Left 4 Dead.”

In this podcast, Moby tells Chris about his unconventional career, and his early years in the hinterland of Washington DC and the lush tropics of the Virgin Islands. He also chats about his thoughts on character versus environment design, the influence of Eastern European architecture on “Half-Life 2,” and the joys of inspiring a new generation of talent at the THU festival.

Moby’s official site http://mobyfrancke.com/
Moby’s profile on THU https://trojan-unicorn.com/main-event/knights/moby-francke

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast95_MobyFrancke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am PST

Any film buff will know the name Stan Winston. The special effects legend created the titular monsters from “The Terminator,” “The Thing,” and “Predator.” He was a key player in Hollywood’s transition from practical to digital effects in the early 90s, and he constantly pushed the boundaries of his craft.

Sadly, Stan passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on through a formidable collection of blockbuster films—and his son, Matt. In this podcast, recorded at THU, Matt reveals a more human side to the man who made monsters, describing him as a cross between Father Christmas and Dr Frankenstein. He also discusses the blend of art and technology in both practical and digital effects, how his father performed an autopsy on Chewbacca’s head, and why “Jurassic Park’s” T-Rex was even scarier on set.

As Matt mentions, Stan’s deep knowledge of effects has inspired the founding of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, an online university with courses in everything from makeup to marionettes to miniature cities. It’s an awesome resource—even if all your sculpting is done digitally.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast92_MattWinston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Many people think of a Hollywood director as someone who’s egotistical, brash and shouty. That’s not the case with Brenda Chapman. The artist turned writer turned director comes across as humble, unassuming and honest in her conversation with Chris. And maybe her personality has had a big part in her success as a director of “The Prince of Egypt” and “Brave,” the latter of which made her the first female director to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

The idea of women working in such a notoriously male-dominated industry is something Brenda talks about a lot, and she shares some horrific tales of casual sexism in the Hollywood studios. But she also talks about learning from some of the industry’s unsung heroes, the differences between directing live action and animation, and how her relationship with her daughter inspired “Brave’s” storyline.

This episode is an absolute treat which is both informative and touching.

Brenda's official website http://brenda-chapman.com/
Brenda's IMDb page http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0152312/

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast91_BrendaChapman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm PST

No podcast this week but I figured I would give people a preview of some of the amazing ones we have that will be coming up soon.

 

Direct download: Podcast_THU2016Preview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52pm PST

In 1979, George Miller’s directorial debut Mad Max shocked cinema audiences around the world. It existed at a perfect intersection of blockbuster and Australian new wave cinema, knitted together with a punkish spirit and comic book aesthetic. Its sequel, 1981’s The Road Warrior, heightened the action and established Max as a true action hero, while 1986’s Beyond Thunderdome explored the fringes of the franchise’s crazy apocalyptic world. After an almost 30-year-hiatus Max returned to the big screen last year in the universally acclaimed Fury Road.

For this podcast, living movie database Daniel Thron discusses what works and what doesn’t in this hugely popular and influential series of movies, whether Tina Turner can ever play anyone other than Tina Turner, and how the films’ tight edits and dramatic scores create horror and excitement.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast81_DanThron2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20pm PST

Starting a new CG Garage series, Dan Thron and Christopher Nichols discuss movies. We start with an in depth look at the Star Wars saga. We discuss why we each think that Empire is the best of all present 7 movies. Daniel also tells us his version of that Episode 6 should have been and why they have been trying to correct from their "mistake" ever since. We hope to do many more of these.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast60_DanThron_02_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm PST

Last week we spoke to Norman Seeff about his response to our discussion on the Uncanny Valley. This week, we spoke to Oleg Alexander, a member of the Digital Human League about his work at the Institute of Creative Technology and his response and feelings on Norman's point of view of the subject. We are also joined by Stephen Parker who is also a member of the Digital Human League.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast47_OlegAlexander.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PST

There are those moments in your life where you feel lucky to have met someone special. I got a chance to sit down with Norman Seeff one on one for over an hour which was was one of those moments for me. While many people may not know his name, everyone knows his work. He has made his fame through the most honest and real photographs he took of celebrities over the last several decades. He managed to capture so much life in each photograph that I felt compelled to ask him about the Uncanny Valley. His very diverse careers made him the perfect person to explore what is missing in the valley. The short answer is: consciousness.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast46_NormanSeeff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:06pm PST