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.

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

Darin Grant’s hugely important career in the visual effects industry has been one of choices. When he started at Digital Domain in the early 90s he had to choose between its gaming and visual effects departments. He discusses the differences between the Perl and Python programming languages. And, in his role on the committee of the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards, he has to jostle the merits of production ray-tracing renderers against life-size animatronic horses.

As one of the industry’s key players, and he’s happy to share the immense knowledge he’s gained from working at companies including Google, Method Studios, and Autodesk. Listen to find out how Darin’s grandmother understood his work on What Dreams May Come, his thoughts on the future of cloud-based rendering how it lowers the barriers to entry, and his fascination with video conferencing technology.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast88_DarinGrant.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:52pm PST

Director David Chontos has brought his unique vision to a number of projects, including bonkers Coca-Cola advertisement “The Happiness Factory,” trailers for games including “Clash of Clans” and “ReCore,” and his atmospheric short film “Sisters.” His next project, Kismet, takes him into virtual reality via a spookily accurate fortune teller.

In this podcast, he talks to Chris about the golden age of crazy music videos in the late 90s, what virtual reality needs to establish itself alongside traditional mediums such as films and games, and how much he hates IKEA kitchens. Essential listening from an early explorer of the virtual world.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast87_DavidChontos.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:12am PST

Roland Emmerich has carved a career for himself in Hollywood as the guy who destroys cities and envisages the end of the world. In films such as “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “Godzilla,” he depicts aliens, climate change and giant lizards wreaking havoc around the world. He’s often overlooked as a major force who completely changed the sheer scale of Hollywood movies.

Fellow German Volker Engel has been behind Roland most of the way. He started out overseeing the practical effects in Roland’s early movies “Moon 44” and “Universal Soldier,” before providing the large-scale destruction for “Independence Day.” At the same time, Volker and fellow German effects guru Marc Weigert founded Uncharted Territory, an innovative pop-up visual effects studio which has even made its own movies.

Here, Volker talks to Chris about everything from his early days in Super 8 animation to realtime visual effects via ncam, and the challenges of scaling back production for Roland’s (comparatively) low-budget 2011 film “Anonymous.”

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast86_VolkerEngel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:16pm PST

The visual effects industry is packed with people from the field of architecture, including our own guru and podcast host Chris Nichols. But Andy Waisler is a rare exception: after beginning his career in architecture, he was hired by Digital Domain to apply his knowledge to movies such as The Grinch and The Time Machine. But then he returned to architecture to hone his skills.

He’s an incredible character, and in this revealing podcast he shares the similarities between architecture and visual effects, and how this is going to become particularly important in the world of VR. He also talks about how he’s made tiny bathrooms feel palatial, and the clever, story-oriented design of Bad Robot’s Santa Monica offices.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast85_AndyWaisler.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 2:40pm PST

One of the most fascinating aspects of V-Ray is the way people react when you tell them many of the images in the IKEA catalog are created with 3D software. It’s a definite wow moment, and people are often more impressed by than V-Ray being used in Hollywood blockbusters.

Behind IKEA’s use of 3D is Martin Enthed, the company’s Development and Operations IT Manager. Martin’s love for computers began in the early 80s, and before he worked at IKEA he sold software for Autodesk, and supplied Volvo with the first ever 3D rendering of one of its vehicles.

The crazy world of IKEA is the subject of most of this podcast, though. Martin talks to Chris about why the company has embraced 3D technology, how it’s trained its photographers to use the software, and how to develop software which puts cookies in jars. He also mentions the future for IKEA, which involves exciting AR and VR apps so consumers can see how the Mörbylånga table will fit into their living room.

And next time you tell someone that the IKEA catalog is mostly CG, and they don’t believe you, just point them to this podcast.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast84_MartinEnthed.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:46pm PST