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.

This podcast features Aaron Kupferman, an expert on the intertwined fields of CGI and photography. He's served as compositor on movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, Alice in Wonderland, and upcoming Statham vs. Shark film The Meg. But he’s also an unbelievably talented photographer, effortlessly shifting between shiny automobiles, expansive land and cityscapes, and dwarfing time-lapse photos of the night sky.

Despite having a lot of photography equipment, Aaron highlights the importance of good technique over tech. He explains how imaginative photographers can compose and light great pictures with little more than a sheet of paper and a lamp, he delves into his dramatic shots of fast-moving cars, and describes his home-made time-lapse kit for capturing the night sky.

Aaron also gives insight into his life in technology and CG, from an early start in radio communications with a space shuttle, to how to render shots for action movies.

If you want to know what to do - and what not to do - to create amazing photographs and renders, this is the podcast for you.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast182_AaronKupferman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm PDT

It’s not hard to see why Karim Mousa has become one of the world’s most respected arch viz artists. His renders and animations for Zaha Hadid, KPF and MVRDV are cinematic, realistic, and spectacular. In this podcast, recorded at Total Chaos, Karim tells Chris how he’s carved out a career among some of the best in the business.

Karim and Chris have a lot in common: both have lived in the vibrant city of Cairo, and both pursued arch viz careers. After spending time in Dubai, Karim swapped sand for snow and traveled to Bergen, Norway to work for creative studio MIR. Now, Karim is back in Cairo, where he continues to create eye-popping imagery and videos.

It’s an engaging, energetic listen. You’ll find out how approaches to architectural visualization have changed over the past few years, the differences between middle eastern and western projects — and how Karim’s love of Taekwondo inspired him to create an incredible series of images.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast181_KarimMoussa.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 8:01pm 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

At Total Chaos, Ian Spriggs unveiled Portrait of Cassidy, the latest lifelike portrait from the digital Rembrandt. It’s such a striking image that it graced the cover of 3D World magazine, alongside the tag “This is not a photo!”

In this podcast, Ian reveals the painstaking and lengthy process of creating Cassidy and his other portraits. He tells Chris about how he makes his subjects feel at ease, and then the numerous elements he must consider, such as whether the images should be realistic or stylized, candid or posed, harshly or softly lit. And, after this epic process, the subject might not even like their portrait.

It’s a very interesting podcast which ponders how artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, Caravaggio, Jackson Pollock and even actor Sharlto Copley use their work to reflect the complicated inner workings of human beings.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast179_IanSpriggs.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:50pm PDT

Andre Matos is something of a hero at Chaos Group. He’s a proponent of V-Ray GPU and VRscans, which are part of the toolset he uses to create enormous eye-catching renders for sports car company Porsche. As a special guest at the Total Chaos conference in Sofia, he delivered a keynote speech, a masterclass on motor vehicle renders, and recorded this podcast with Chris.

Andre and Chris share some subtle tricks of the trade which can make good car models look great; from the lighting to the positions of the wheels, the angle of the car, and the headlight set up. Andre also talks about his early life on the Azores islands, how he got started in CG, and the advantages of a GPU-based pipeline.

If you’ve ever struggled to make your car renders or photographs pop, this podcast is for you.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast178_AndreMatos_Porsche.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:24pm PDT

Under their Studio Niskota moniker, Dean Niskota and Hrvoje Čop have become renowned around the world for their remarkable arch viz images and videos. At Total Chaos - where this podcast was recorded - the pair announced Polymachine, a new venture in a new office, which will transform them from arch viz specialists into a fully fledged creative agency.

Dean and Hrvoje tell Chris about their journey so far, beginning with their childhood friendship in Zagreb, to surfing the wave of Croatian tourism and single-handedly creating the country’s arch viz scene, to the pros and cons of their in-house, post-production-free pipeline.

You’ll discover how Polymachine will expand on the immense amount of knowledge they’ve already built, as well as a brief history of fluid sims, and Chris’ unusual link with Croatia and Zagreb.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast177_Dean_Chop_Polymachine.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 5:13pm PDT

Our pals from Corona played a big part at Total Chaos, delivering a keynote speech and numerous presentations. Founding partner and main developer Ondřej Karlík, and research and development partner Jaroslav Křivánek, also sat down with Chris to talk about what’s changed in the nine months since the partnership was announced.

Corona and V-Ray developers working together as a happy family has brought benefits to both pieces of software, with the companies sharing knowledge to solve problems, and Vlado even diving into Corona’s code to implement features. Ondřej and Jaroslav go into detail on the new technology which makes Corona fast and efficient, via exotic terms such as machine learning with Bayesian inference, heterogeneous media, and GPU rendering.

You’ll find out about upcoming features in Corona 2, and more background on Jaroslav Křivánek, the mentor who’s been instrumental in the creation of renderer.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast176_Ondrej_Jaroslav_Corona.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:49am PDT

Dan Thron joins Chris for another epic discussion of a groundbreaking movie — with special guest star Erick Schiele.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws marked a turning point when it was released in 1975, blending believable characters and a relatable setting with an unstoppable monster. It built on movies of the time, like Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Godfather and Bonnie and Clyde, and heralded a new era of profitable blockbusters such as Star Wars, E.T., and Jurassic Park.

Dan, Chris, and Erick discuss pre and post-Jaws movies, from T-Men and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul to Blue Velvet and L.A. Confidential. They talk about how the Marvel movies could learn from Spielberg’s well-crafted storytelling and ponder what the Millennial equivalent of Easy Rider will be.

Listen to find out how Erick accidentally injured a film star’s mother, how Chris helped change the movie Splinter and stay tuned to the end to hear Dan’s thoughts on Ready Player One.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast175_DanThron_ErickSchiele.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:54am PDT

Avengers: Infinity War is full of wonderful things, but a particular highlight is Thanos, the movie’s purple antagonist. In this week’s podcast, Digital Domain’s Darren Hendler and Ron Miller join Chris to explain how they turned actor Josh Brolin’s nuanced performance into one of the most impressive digital characters ever to hit the big screen.

Darren and Ron break down the steps of creating Thanos, from the accurate capture of Josh Brolin’s face, the on-set techniques to record his movements and expressions, and the extra work needed to translate everything into a photorealistic CG character. They talk about the numerous systems and human beings involved in this two-year process, as well as the ethics of digital performances and characters. You’ll even find out what color Thanos’ blood is.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast174_DarrenRon_DD.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 3:15pm 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