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 for more information and an archive of past shows.

Chris recorded a lot of podcasts at THU — and this episode treats you to not one, but two 25-minute recordings.

In the first, Chris chats with celebrated CG portrait artist Ian Spriggs, and digital anatomy expert Scott Eaton. They discuss the history of portraits, and how the fundamental idea of representing humans hasn’t really changed from cave paintings, to paintings, to photographs, and now the world of CG. And they talk about the tech which has got us here, from early days of editing vertices in C, to the seamless artistry made possible with packages such as ZBrush and Mudbox.

Chris’s talk with Steven Wang and Phil Liu nicely complements the first part. Steven now works as a concept artist a Microsoft’s The Coalition game studios, but his prior role was alongside Ian Spriggs at Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios — Steven even posed for a portrait for Ian. Phil, meanwhile, serves as world artist at Monolith Productions. They discover a shared history in product design, and talk about how ArtStation, Instagram and Facebook have given artists invaluable exposure — but made the industry more competitive than ever.

They’re both engaging discussions, and Chris does a great job of packing important questions into a short amount of time.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast145_IanSpriggs_ScottEaton_StevenWang_PhilLiu.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:52am PDT

Presentations are a surprisingly big challenge in the architecture community. It’s easy to wow clients with stills and videos, but if they want changes architects and arch viz studios have to re-render shots and animations.

Barcelona-based company CL3VER has created a clever solution to this issue - a browser-based system which can render realistic 3D models. In this podcast, Chris talks to CL3VER’s creative director Nimrod Friedman, and marketing manager Carlie Pratt.

Despite its simple premise and intuitive, Apple-like controls, Nimrod reveals the huge amount of behind-the-scenes work on a system which reproduces masses of geometry on limited hardware and software. He talks about how it can handle global illumination, ray tracing and reflections, its VR applications, and how they’ve built a cloud-based backend from scratch.

Chris’s enthusiasm and curiosity for the potential applications of CL3VER makes this an animated and interesting discussion.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast144_NimrodFriedman_CarliePratt.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:45pm PDT

THU has become a staple for digital artists, and now the festival is increasingly welcoming members of the arch viz community. Syria-born Mahmoud Alkawadri has attended the event twice now – and he’s a poster child for the transformative effects of THU.

In this podcast with Chris, recorded at THU, Mahmoud discusses his experience in VFX and exhibitions in Syria and Germany, his current role as a freelance arch viz artist, and his plans to return to VFX and filmmaking. Along the way, he talks about setting up his own business, the importance of managing your time, and architecture in Dubai.

It’s a deep and insightful conversation about how films and architecture can influence and share ideas with one another.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast143_MahmoudAlkawadri.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:24pm PDT

Visualization company ArcMedia has just reached its 15th birthday. To celebrate, Founder and Managing Director Brett Fisher and Creative Director Ben Bancroft joined Chris for a few beers at the D2 conference in Vienna.

Naturally, Chaos Group’s acquisition of Render Legion and Corona comes up, but Brett and Ben highlight an unexpected benefit of the move. They also talk about ArcMedia’s beginnings in visual effects, and its subsequent switch to arch viz, interiors and even luxury yacht renders.

It’s a laid-back, freewheeling conversation which nonetheless highlights some important points about working with clients, getting repeat business, and how Phoenix is changing the way they work.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast142_ArchMedia.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 7:19pm PDT

Paul Nicholls is a third of the team behind Factory Fifteen, a London-based directing collective and arch viz and production studio. From a background in architecture, Paul has made a name for himself in creating ambitious short and feature-length films, music videos and VR experiences.

In this podcast, recorded at the D2 Conference in Vienna, Paul talks about how Factory Fifteen was formed, the numerous awards it's won for its groundbreaking projects, and how he uses Tiltbrush to sketch in virtual reality without any aches and pains. He also poses some pertinent technical and business questions about what Chaos Group’s acquisition of Render Legion’s Corona will mean for users.

Paul finishes with a few hints as to the exciting design-driven direction Factory Fifteen will take in the future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast141_PaulNicholls.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:47pm PDT

Johnny Gibson has created ballistic missile detection software, worked on stealth bombers, and covertly filmed on the Russia/China border. These might sound like missions assigned to a secret agent, but Johnny’s actually a VFX artist and supervisor, and in this podcast he discusses his incredible career with Chris.

Having worked on over 30 feature films, including Fight Club, Transformers and three X-Men movies, Johnny has a unique insight into the effects industry. He talks about what a technical director does, why the best people aren’t necessarily on the biggest movies, and how rotoscoping is a great fundamental skill to have.

It’s a gripping episode, full of amusing anecdotes, and revelations of when Johnny and Chris’s career paths met.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast140_JohnnyGibson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:04pm PDT

The d2 Conference has grown from a humble meeting of 85 people to an indispensable event for arch viz studios and artists around the world. This year’s event was of particular significance; the industry’s leading lights celebrated Chaos Group’s acquisition of Render Legion and Corona Renderer.

In this short but sweet podcast, Chris talks to Fabio Palvelli and Jason Bergeron, the Italian and American brains behind this influential Viennese convention. They talk about the inspiration which lead to the conference, the joy of helping artists make connections and pursue careers, and how they’ve seen arch viz evolve and branch out into other mediums.

We’ll see you in Vienna next year!

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast139_D2Conference.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 9:40am PDT

Originally from South Africa, Darren Hendler has worked on movies such as The Grinch, I Robot, and Maleficent. At the same time he’s become a key figure in the research and development of virtual humans at Digital Domain.

Darren has a lot in common with the similarly digital human obsessed Chris, and this podcast poses many questions around digital humans, such as why is it easier to make an old Brad Pitt, but harder to make a young Jeff Bridges? What are the ethics of reanimating deceased actors, or manipulating news footage? And, how can deep learning help us create more believable digital humans?

It’s fascinating to hear experts in the field pick each other’s brains about this cutting-edge tech. It’s also, as Darren puts it, “a huge amount of fun.”

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast138_DarrenHendler.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:11pm PDT

Chaos Group promised a big announcement at the D2 Conference in Vienna. Not only did they not disappoint, but they took the world by surprise. On Friday, August 25, they announced that Chaos Group has acquired Render Legion, the makers of the Corona renderer. Corona has become extremely popular in recent years, especially in the Architecture and ArchViz community. Just after the announcement, Chris sat down with Ondrej and Vlado, the respective brains that started Corona and V-Ray.

We cover how this acquisition was not a choice made in haste and that it took over a year to happen. We also learn that Ondrej has great respect for Vlado which is why Render Legion approached Chaos Group first when they wanted to find a way to grow their company. At the same time, you’ll hear Vlado's big respect for Ondrej and that their goal is to keep each renderer developed separately, as they have a different general philosophy.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast137_Ondrej_and_Vlado.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 3:17pm PDT

One of the biggest and most well-received surprises at this year’s SIGGRAPH was Epic Games’ announcement that it’s added V-Ray rendering to Unreal Engine. In this podcast, recorded at the conference, Chris sits down with Epic’s Marc Petit and Ken Pimentel to discuss what this meeting of minds means.

They talk about how the Unreal Engine has gone from a solid platform for game development to a multipurpose tool for photorealistic architecture and visual effects, as well as AI and autonomous vehicles. They also discuss how Chaos Group and Epic Games have similar, customer-focused business models, and how they’re working together to help everyone create amazing imagery.

It’s a tantalizing peek into a future where the boundaries between realtime and ray-traced are becoming increasingly blurred.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast136_MarcPetit_KenPimentel.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:09pm PDT