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.

We first spoke to Craig Shimahara for Podcast #26, way back in June 2015. Since then, his film Masterless has debuted in Japan, and his architectural visualization practice Shimahara Illustration has gone from strength to strength.

On his second visit to the Chaos recording suite, Craig talks about all things VR. A lot of questions come up: Where are we in Gartner’s “hype cycle” of VR? How do VR experiences deal with scale? Is VR accessible to old, or short, or tall people? And how can we use it to tell stories?

Chaos Group's CCO Lon Grohs adds his thoughts to this engaging listen, which highlights some of the frustrations of a medium which is still finding its feet.

 

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast102_CraigShimahara.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 6:53pm PST

Ever since the T-Rex stomped onto the screen in 1993, audiences have been captivated by “Jurassic Park.” Steven Spielberg’s film heralded a new era of family-oriented event movies, and Chris has already discussed the film’s groundbreaking effects with Matt Winston and Steve “Spaz” Williams and Mark Dippe.
In this podcast, Dan and Chris thoroughly eviscerate the franchise in velociraptor-like fashion. They examine the good and bad of each film, from “Jurassic Park’s” fresh take on ageing tropes, to “The Lost World’s” incredible set pieces, to “Jurassic Park III’s” competent adventure, and “Jurassic World’s” attempt to re-engineer the story and themes for a modern audience.
In doing so, they cover the way the MPAA has shaped movie making, the joys of musicals, and the dearth of creativity in franchise films. And there’s a hilarious moment where you can literally hear Chris’ jaw drop at the mention of Brett Ratner’s name.

 

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast101_DanielThron_JurassicPark.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:07pm PST

Since November 2, 2014, Chris Nichols has interviewed 99 people for the CG Garage Podcast. Legendary photography Norman Seeff, architectural pioneer Art Gensler and director Wes Ball are among some of the big name guests who’ve graced the Chaos Group recording suite. But it’s also served as a platform to discuss the deeper and more esoteric nature of just about anything CG related, as well as Chaos Group’s new products.

For this extra special live episode, Chris’ guests are two of the hottest directors in Hollywood right now: Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) and Joseph Kosinski (“TRON: Legacy,” “Oblivion”). Both come from backgrounds in CGI and VFX, and they offer indispensable insights on how Hollywood works.

Tim talks about the casualties of Blur Studio’s Nerf battles, why he’s not involved in “Deadpool 2,” and the tantalizing animated sci-fi project he’s working on next. In his podcast debut, Joe tells us about his rise from architectural imagery to cutting-edge blockbusters, and “Granite Mountain,” his forthcoming feature film.

You should tune in whether it’s your first or your hundredth listen. And here’s to another 100 podcasts!

 

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast100_TimMiller_JoeKosinski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm PST

Art Gensler’s name will be familiar to architects and designers, but if you haven’t heard of him, here’s a rundown. In 1965, Art founded M. Arthur Gensler Jr. & Associates, which is now the world’s biggest architecture firm in terms of revenue. It creates everything from wine bottle labels to the biggest buildings in the world. Chances are you’ve set foot in a Gensler-designed space at some point in your life, be it a Gap store or the Shanghai Tower.

Despite the enormous success of his company, Art comes across as humble and amiable in this interview with Chris. This genial nature extends to the whole company—it was years ahead of Apple and Google in valuing its employees, and providing nice surroundings where they could be creative and productive. As well as talking about his company, Art also tells Chris about how he played a round of golf with Arnold Palmer, and his book on the principles which have made Gensler so successful.

Gensler’s official site [http://www.gensler.com/]
Art’s Principles on Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Arts-Principles-hard-learned-world-class-professional/dp/0986106909/]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast99_ArtGensler.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 5:55pm PST

David Lee Strasberg is the son of Lee Strasberg, the acting coach who introduced the method theory of acting to Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Marlon Brando. David has followed in his father’s footsteps, serving as an acting coach and actor in his own right.

But why was he at this year’s THU festival in Portugal, and why did Chris record this podcast with him? It turns out that digital and 3D art has a lot in common with acting: it’s all about faking things. And they’re both about embracing passion, and changing your approach to art so you get it right.

Strasberg’s knowledge of all things theatrical has a lot of relevance to digital humans, too—especially when it comes to avoiding a trip down the uncanny valley. It’s a blindsider of a podcast, and David’s thoughts on how we recognize and interact with fellow humans are literally mind-blowing.

The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute [http://www.methodactingstrasberg.com/]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast98_DavidLeeStrasberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm PST


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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST