Hosted by Christopher Nichols, the CG Garage podcast is part of the Chaos Group Labs. We talk to our friends, find out what they are doing, talk about what we are doing, and generally look at all things that interest us including CGI, VFX, Design, Rendering, Raytracing, and any other CG Nerdy stuff.

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