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.


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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

Eric Stultz currently serves as a Principal and Design Director at Gensler’s LA offices. He’s worked on some epic buildings, such as the Shenbei Arena in Shanghai, Costa Rica’s Convention Center, and the proposed Farmers Field NFL Stadium in Los Angeles.


As Eric and Chris discuss, architecture is at something of a turning point. While films and games are always looking for something new, architects use tried and tested pipelines which incorporate building information management (BIM) software.


But Gensler is keen to explore new technology, such the world’s first 3D printed office, and Eric even envisages a constantly-changing building covered in video screens. As we move into an age where virtual real estate becomes more of a reality, an architect’s expertise is much needed, too.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast94_EricStultz.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 1:50pm PDT

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

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 PDT

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 PDT

Globetrotting concept artist Igor Knezevic has seen it all. Born in Yugoslavia, he left after the country was torn apart by war in the early 90s. He worked on East German construction sites, and then found his way into the gaming industry. As he moved around Europe and the US, he saw the evolution of the internet and the pop of the dotcom bubble, before settling in LA for a job which involved inserting Mike Myers into CGI backgrounds for CD-Roms.

A true polymath, Igor’s gone on to provide concept designs for movies such as “X-Men: First Class,” “In Time,” and “Terminator Genesys.” At the same time, he’s created and nurtured a business which sells revolutionary 3D printed designs. In this captivating chat with Chris they discuss their shared Eastern European heritage, the unionization of the visual effects industry, and the big differences between working in TV and film. And he reveals his lifelong hatred of Commodore 64s.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast90_IgorKnezevic.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:04pm PDT

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 PDT

Out of home printed advertisements, such as billboards, are a genre of CG unto themselves. The resolution of the images can reach 15K or 20K, far beyond the 2K or 4K of media. As technical director at production company Taylor James, David Wortley knows the subject intimately, as well the challenges of generating thousands of HD PNGs for online car configurators, and creating pharmaceutical adverts which sell a product without baiting lawsuits.

Through his decade of experience at Taylor James, David’s also built up an immense understanding of 3ds Max’s ins and outs, and his blog is an essential bookmark if you want to get more from Autodesk’s 3D software. He finishes the podcast with his cautiously optimistic thoughts on virtual reality – including how a simple shot of a girl playing a violin can become a powerful experience in the medium.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast89_DavidWortley.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:29am PDT