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.

THU festival is a wonderful place filled with inspiring things; among them this year was this deep-dive panel discussion on the relationship between artists and their tools.

The superstar participants include famed traditional-leaning Visual Artist Phil Hale, visionary Gnomon School Founder Alex Alvarez, and prestigious Hollywood Concept Artist and Production Designer Dylan Cole. Representing the advanced tools today’s creators use to build worlds are Lenovo’s Media & Entertainment Manager Rob Hoffmann, and Chaos Group’s Co-Founder and CEO Peter Mitev.

Chris does a great job of steering the conversation and involving all his guests, and it covers everything from the relationship between traditional and digital art, the evolution of mediums from cave paintings to Zbrush, and how AI and accurate skin shaders are changing the role of the artist. You’ll find out about the development process behind V-Ray, and how building software and hardware has many similarities with creating art.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast195_THU2018_Tools.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 1:12am PDT

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

At Google’s Cloud Next ‘18 event in San Francisco earlier this year, a small team of CG artists and Google technicians took part in an audacious experiment: to create a Hollywood-quality animated short film in just three days. Fortunately, the team had a little help from Google’s Cloud Platform, a scalable and versatile system which gave them a huge amount of remote computing power.

In this enlightening podcast, Google Cloud Platform’s Adrian Graham and CG artist D. Ryan Reeb talk about the various pieces of technology which made Robot Dance Party possible: Teradici’s PCoIP remote workstations, Bebop’s orchestration layer, and Zync’s queue manager, as well as Maya, V-Ray for Maya and After Effects.

Adrian does a fantastic job of breaking down each component and explaining how it fits into Google Cloud’s slick infrastructure, while Ryan is a living testament to how it can save vital time on the front line of visual effects. Both also offer their thoughts on the future of cloud rendering, and how it will dramatically change the way the studios of tomorrow will be set up.

Want to try rendering on the cloud? Chaos Group is currently offering free rendering credits for anyone who takes part in our Google-powered V-Ray Cloud beta. Try it now!

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast193_AdrianGraham_RyanReeb_GoogleCloud.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 4:07pm PDT

For a short film, Construct’s production has taken a long time. But, as Director Kevin Margo explains there have been many good reasons for the delays. Conceived as a way to push the boundaries of ray tracing and virtual production, Construct become a perfect test subject for cutting-edge VFX techniques. It’s been cloud rendered via an NVIDIA cluster some 500 miles away, rejigged as a VR experience, and even presented in 120 hz via Douglas Trumbull’s Magi system.

But Construct is much more than just a tech demo. Despite its mechanical CG characters, the film tells a very human story, and there’s much more here than meets the eye. Actor Darren Ross explains how his motion-captured performance adds depth to the main character, and how they worked with Hollywood stunt coordinators to create the film’s elaborate fight scenes.

If you’re a regular listener, you’ll know that Construct has been a long and exciting journey for Kevin, Darren, Chris, and the many other collaborators who’ve helped make it a reality. It’s incredible to see Kevin’s vision finally come to life, and he discusses how the film could even be headed to the big screen.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast192_KevinMargo_DerronRoss_Construct.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

This week, Chris, Dan, and Erick finally get round to discussing Alien. It’s one of the most-requested topics for the podcast, and it’s not hard to see why: Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie is still terrifying today, and it gave birth to one of the silver screen’s most memorable monsters.

But Alien also gave us Ripley, the plucky, punky feminist hero who rises up against both the xenomorph and the patriarchal hierarchy of the Nostromo. Her story arc is examined by the podcast, as well as the film’s meticulous production design, and the Freudian nightmare of its imagery.

Just like the Nostromo, this is a podcast which goes on some pretty significant diversions. Alien sequels including James Cameron’s expansive Aliens, David Fincher’s flaccid Alien 3, and Scott’s own prequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are all put under the microscope. The trio also covers the way the movie industry works today, and directors from Gasper Noe to Russ Meyer, with some very funny anecdotes along the way.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast191_MartiniGiant_Alien.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:35pm PDT

Recorded at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, this podcast features self-taught rendering expert Zap Andersson. Zap’s career in CG began early, with the modification of a Swedish ABC 80 computer so it supported higher resolutions, ray tracing, gaming, and even image editing and music sampling. His passion for computing propelled him into a career in CAD, then back into ray tracing, where he earned his “Shader Wizard” moniker for his implementation of subsurface scattering.

In the second half of the podcast, Chris asks Zap for his thoughts on the future of ray tracing, tackling some of the myths around physically based and spectral rendering, metalness, and real-time. As Zap reveals, the restrictions of any CG method ties into the limitations of how human beings are wired to perceive optical phenomenon.

It’s a fascinating deep dive into the theory of CG and the shape of things to come.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast190_ZapAndersson-Autodesk.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 2:17pm 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

Fresh off a tour of America, INK Founder Dave Macey joins Chris and Lon to talk about how two unemployed arch viz artists started one of the UK’s most distinctive creative studios.

As well as working with everyone from BMW to Wired to Asics, the company has created side projects which range from the beautiful (stark Le Mans sportscars) to the bizarre (inflating 1970s vehicles). While its Workshop experiments don’t generate income, they’re a great way to spot talent in the company, experiment with new styles and techniques — and just have fun.

Dave also delves into his love of cars, and things that move quickly. He discusses the future of how we’ll get around, from the simplicity of Bird’s electric scooters to Elon Musk’s grand designs for the Hyperloop One, and the way automation will put our living rooms and offices on the road.

It’s awesome to hear from someone with an innate knowledge of the past and future of tech and transport.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast188_DaveMacey-INK.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:13pm PDT

Joining Chris for this podcast are Brick’s CEO András Káldos, Chief Development Officer Attila Cselovszki, Product Development Specialist Péter Sárhidai — and a bottle of Pálinka, Hungary’s favorite fruit brandy.

As András explains, Brick Visual was founded in Budapest in 2012, among the perfect storm of a financial crisis which resulted in a surplus of unemployed architects. The company was able to compete with international arch viz studios thanks to its low prices, and after a trial-by-fire debut project, it’s established itself in the premier league.

But, as Peter explains, incredible architectural visualization for firms such as Snøhetta and SOM is not all Brick does. Its research and development department is dedicated to exploring solutions for age-old problems such as managing distributed rendering, and the new worlds of AR and VR.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast187_Brick.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 11:53am 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