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.

Chris’s input into this year’s THU digital arts festival has resulted in a focus on architecture. As prep, he invited prospective speakers Keely Colcleugh and Fredy Castellanos, from creative visualization studio Kilograph, to the podcast studio.

Founder and CEO Keely dropped out of the prestigious Rice University to work with renowned architect Rem Koolhaas, and her multidisciplinary career has covered design (For Bruce Mau) and VFX (For PLF). Fredy, meanwhile, left his native Colombia to work for Vyonyx in London, and now serves as Kilograph’s art director.

It’s an energetic podcast which covers everything from Thom Mayne and Frank Gehry’s influence on the teaching of architecture, to virtual reality and videogames. Chris and Keely share some great anecdotes, too, including telegrams from universities, “The Liquids” spouting mathematical nonsense, and the role of wheelbarrows in arch viz movies.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast124_Kilograph.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 9:24pm PDT

An early start in stop motion 8mm film making propelled Aaron Sims on a career trajectory through Hollywood. He assisted with the gooey practical effects for cult 80s movies such as “From Beyond,” “Evil Dead 2,” and “Gremlins 2.” The sleazy, show-stealing worms for “Men in Black,” were created by Aaron, and he applied his knowledge of prosthetics and puppetry to the CGI robots in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence.”

Now Aaron heads up Aaron Sims Creative, a concept art and VFX company which has designed creatures and locations for movies such as “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Logan,” and “Wonder Woman.” In this entertaining podcast, Aaron talks about creating the terrifying Demogorgon for Netflix series “Stranger Things,” choosing between practical effects and CGI, and the importance of always moving forwards.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast123_AaronSims.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 3:18pm PDT

The FMX digital arts festival in Stuttgart, Germany, forms a bustling backdrop for this live podcast. Host Chris is joined by Chaos Group’s co-founder and CEO Vladimir “Vlado” Koylazov, and Dabarti’s Tomasz Wyszolmirski, whose feedback has been instrumental in the development of V-Ray GPU.

Vlado talks about how GPU computing has evolved, and reveals V-Ray’s new game-changing hybrid GPU/CPU features. Then questions come thick and fast from an audience hungry for free V-Ray t-shirts. The subjects Vlado and Tomasz cover include adaptive lights, compatibility for Psyops’ Cryptomatte, fur and memory limitations, cloud computing, and how game engines are influencing the development of V-Ray. 

As with all live our live podcasts, this is a particularly engaging and enjoyable listen. If you haven’t already, now’s a great time to subscribe to the podcast, and check out previous recordings.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast122_Tomasz_and_Vlado.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 5:25pm PDT

Sweden’s long, harsh winters compelled Johan Thorngren to pursue creative endeavours, and after a stint in advertising he accepted an enviable position with ILM in San Francisco.

As a generalist, Johan’s job is to pick up VFX shots which don’t fit into the typical pipeline. His workload has increased from a handful of shots on movies such as Star Wars: Episode III, to thousands for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

In this podcast, Johan talks about changes he’s seen in the visual effects industry over the past decade, creating the almost full-CG Leipzig airport battle for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the wide range of software ILM has at its disposal to create stunning VFX shots. Chris and Johan also discuss the popular press’s opinion on CGI in movies, and invisible effects.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast121_JohanThorngren.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:17pm PDT

Architect Thom Mayne should need no introduction — but here’s a potted history for the uninitiated. A graduate of the University of Southern California and Harvard, Thom co-founded Morphosis Architects in 1972. This experimental studio rejected contemporary ideas of architecture, instead using metal and concrete to create angular buildings which reflect their purpose and surroundings.

Despite his importance in revolutionizing the form, Thom modestly admits that no architect ever quite feels like they’ve mastered it. He talks about how Nietzsche, Darwin and Freud changed architecture in the early 20th century, and how computers and 3D printing have changed it in the 21st. He also goes into how unique architecture is as an art form and medium, especially in the way it’s taught and learned. By the end of this absorbing podcast you’ll be as passionate about architecture as Thom is.

Morphosis [https://www.morphosis.com/]
How architecture can connect us: Thom Mayne’s Ted Talk [https://www.ted.com/talks/thom_mayne_on_architecture_as_connection]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast120_ThomMayne.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 1:21pm PDT

Technical artist, designer and Nick Offerman lookalike Dave Carlson is Chris’ guest for this week’s podcast. Dave spent his youth perfecting his skills with airbrushes and Amigas, before a demo on an SGI supercomputer, and a fascination with “Babylon 5’s” VFX, lit a fire on a career in visual effects.

Dave has worked on music videos, commercials and feature films, joining Chris at Digital Domain for “TRON: Legacy” and “Oblivion.” Now, Dave serves as a CGI generalist, creates mobile games, and he’s currently investigating the worlds of AR and VR. It’s a thoroughly entertaining podcast which alternates between laugh-out-loud hilarious, and heartbreakingly poignant.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast119_DaveCarlson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:15am PDT

Kurt Akeley is the genius behind the world’s second ever laser printer, SGI supercomputers, and the OpenGL 3D graphics software specification. Now, Kurt has turned his enviable talent to light field photography as CTO of Lytro.

Light fields are on the verge of becoming the next big thing, with applications in everything from visual effects, to VR, to astrophotography. It’s a complicated subject which involves both the physics of light and the biological mechanics of your eyeballs—but this podcast serves as a great explainer.

Kurt’s boundless enthusiasm for light fields evident throughout. He’s a fascinating interviewee full of pearls of wisdom, such as why it’s incredibly dangerous to look at your phone while you’re driving, and the importance of over and under engineering in life or death scenarios.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast118_KurtAkeley.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:07pm PDT

In this podcast, Chris talks to Erik Altman and O’Brien Chalmers, CEO and president of Steelblue, along with Mike Brown. This ambitious San Francisco-based arch viz firm has proved itself a master of just about every visualization medium available, including photography, realtime renders, virtual reality and 3D printing.

They explain how these different techniques essentially do the same thing: tell a story. They talk about how they have to fill in the gaps left by architects and developers, and their work on San Francisco’s The Pacific apartment block, and its iconic Ferry Building. It’s an engrossing discussion about a medium which has inadvertently driven CGI tech forwards.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast117_SteelBlue.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 4:46pm PDT

Polymath Rudy Rucker is the author of some 40 books, including a many science-fiction novels, and he’s a computer scientist, a painter, and a mathematician. In the 1980s his novels dealt with issues of identity and reality in an age increasingly dominated by computers, and helped found the cyberpunk movement.

Rudy is also a relative of podcast host Chris. As well as blood ties they have a lot in common: a love of computing, of storytelling, and careers which have sat on the cutting edge of future tech. It’s interesting to hear the differences and similarities between Chris and Rudy’s generations, such as Rudy’s thoughts on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and quantum computing. He’s full of handy tips for writers, including the virtues of self-publishing, and how to get over that fear of the blank page.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast116_RudyRucker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am PDT

Iconic monster with a heart of gold Kong is back on the big screens in “Kong: Skull Island”—and this time he’s bigger than ever. For this podcast, Chris managed to tempt Jeff White, the movie’s visual effects supervisor, away from wrangling enormous creatures and into talking about how exactly his team brought Kong to life.

Jeff goes into great detail about the elements which sell the character to the audience: those expressive eyes, the matted fur, and even its pungent aroma. Jeff also talks about Kong’s gargantuan co-stars, including the elegant Sker Buffalo, and the formidable Skull Crushers. It’s a comprehensive guide to the character-based techniques and software ILM has perfected through movies such as “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “The Revenant,” and “WarCraft: The Beginning.”

Jeff White at IMDb [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1578635/]
Jeff White at ILM [http://www.ilm.com/people/jeff-white/]
Kong: Skull Island Official Site [http://kongskullislandmovie.com/]

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast115_JeffWhite.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:30am PDT