Mon, 31 December 2018
Over almost 25 years, Phil Miller has helped bring products such as 3ds Max, Combustion, Dreamweaver, and NVIDIA’s commercial rendering solutions to market — and dabbled in his own software and his original vocation of architecture. Now, Phil has brought his wealth of experience and knowledge to Chaos Group where he serves as vice president of product management.
This podcast is a treasure trove of long-lost computing terms like Pentium processors, MS-DOS and ISDN lines. Phil gives a potted history of the ups and downs of technology, including the ingenious method he used to give plotted architectural illustrations a hand-drawn look, the success of his books on 3D Studio and 3ds Max, and how Chaos Group shook up the rendering industry with V-Ray RT.
Phil is always a few years ahead of his time, and the podcast concludes with his thoughts on the future of CG, real-time rendering via Project Lavina and why speed increases are only part of the battle.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast205_PhilMiller.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:36pm PDT
Mon, 24 December 2018
Artificial intelligence has gone from sci-fi subject matter to part of our day-to-day lives via assistant services such as Apple’s Siri and machine learning which helps 3D artists create better work more quickly. But is this merely another technological leap forwards, like photography or computer-aided design, or a genuine threat to lives and livelihoods?
That’s the question Chris posed to an expert panel at this year’s THU festival. Among his guests were Daimler futurologists Sabine Engelhardt and Alexander Mankowsky, CG supervisor-turned-Google technical director Jeff Kember, anatomy specialist Scott Eaton and Lenovo’s head of media and entertainment Rob Hoffmann.
This entertaining, informative and occasionally heated debate tackles everything from the intricacies of neural networks and image learning, to the science and psychology of scents, and the way Netflix and Hulu stats help create entertainment precisely calibrated for certain audiences.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast204_THU2018_AI.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 4:09pm PDT
Mon, 17 December 2018
Virginie Bourdin’s astonishing career whisked her from a small town in France to art director on blockbusters including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Harry Potter movies, and the upcoming Captain Marvel. In this podcast, recorded at the THU festival, Virginie explains how she’s become one of the most sought-after art directors in the VFX industry.
Virginie talks about her work on the otherworldly villains of Wrath of the Titans and Edge of Tomorrow, how she uses mood boards and the importance of keeping everything loose and fluid. She goes into detail on her French origins and the reasons behind its supercritical national stereotypes.
Virginie is a tour de force, and you'll come away from this podcast with lots of inspiration on how to generate great ideas.
Direct download: Podcast_VirginieBourdin_01_mixdown.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:14am PDT
Mon, 10 December 2018
Few people have seen the rise of VFX like Kelly Port and Matt Butler. Over the course of 25 years, they’ve risen from digital artists to VFX supervisors at effects powerhouse Digital Domain. The watershed moment for both was their work on Titanic, and they discuss the million-dollar computers used to generate the 2TB of effects in the film.
Of course, software and hardware have moved on a great deal since Jack and Rose's perilous adventure. Kelly talks about the groundbreaking technology and performance capture which made Avengers: Infinity War’s CG supervillain Thanos a reality, and Matt discusses his input on Ender’s Game and Ready Player One. They also muse about what makes Digital Domain a great place to work and their tactics for avoiding conflict and nurturing talent.
Kelly and Matt have great chemistry with one another and Chris, and you’ll hear about their experiences of working with actors Dan Stevens and Josh Brolin, and directors Steven Spielberg and Gavin Hood. Plus, there’s a bonus pearl of wisdom from none other than Ron Howard.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast202_MatthewButler_KellyPort_DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:47am PDT
Mon, 3 December 2018
Games have compelling narratives worthy of Hollywood movies — so it should come as no surprise that cinematic talent is swapping cameras for controllers. Joining Chris this week are two men who've made the leap and now work on EA's blockbuster Madden sports franchise.
Producer Robin Cowie went from Nickelodeon idents to box office phenomenon The Blair Witch Project, which taught him how to tell a first-person narrative on a tight budget. Animation director Tony Stanley cut his teeth on Disney classics The Lion King, Lilo and Stitch, and Mulan, the latter of which has just turned 20 — and had an enduring legacy in the Chinese animation industry.
The pair tell Chris how they created Madden NFL 18: Longshot and Madden NFL 19: Longshot Homecoming campaigns, which seamlessly mix dramatic player-driven branching stories with action from the gridiron. You’ll find out about the technology and techniques Robin and Tony use to create and edit in-game cinematics, how they fashion game design documents into scripts and why motion capture has become a vital part of the realism of modern games.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast201_RobinCowie_TonyStanley_EA.mp3
Category:Games -- posted at: 11:38am PDT
Mon, 26 November 2018
This is the 200th CG Garage Podcast — and the first Martini Giant spinoff episode. To commemorate reaching this huge milestone, Chris, Dan and Erick look at films about reaching huge stones: Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Peter Hyams’ sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
The first is a true masterpiece of cinema, with Kubrick employing then state-of-the-art visual effects, smart set design and clever editing to tell a prophetical story about the dehumanizing effects of technology. The trio compare and contrast this with Hyams’ vision of a leathery Roy Schieder fixing a giant hinge in the sequel.
In typical Martini Giant fashion there are many hilarious tangents, from Lionel Richie’s relationship with 2001, to The Abyss and Chris’ wedding ring, to Dan’s nostalgia for a time when all we had to worry about was being nuked by Russia.
Just as Kubrick’s movie depicts the birth of a new form of human, this episode includes the birth of a new form of podcast: a dedicated spin-off series of Martini Giant podcasts. They talk about some of the subjects they’d like to discuss in future episodes — and you’re invited to let them know your ideas in the comments.
Here’s to another 200 CG Garage podcasts. Cheers!
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast200_MartiniGiant_2001_2010.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:14am PDT
Mon, 19 November 2018
One of the best things about THU is having so many world-class experts in one place — something Chris took advantage of when he assembled this panel for a discussion on digital humans. The superstar lineup consisted of digital Rembrandt Ian Spriggs, CG pioneer Paul Debevec, ILM’s chief re-animator Hal Hickel, acclaimed anatomy artist Scott Eaton, and Naughty Dog lead character artist Frank Tzeng.
This debate tracks the evolution of digital characters through movies such as Spider-Man 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Wall-E, and The Incredibles. Chris and his guests tackle the challenges of building realistic digital humans, the shortcuts games take to present convincing characters on limited hardware, and how subtle artistic decisions can help inject personality and story. They also talk about the ethical conundrums of creating virtual people, and how the film stars of tomorrow might be AI-driven algorithms.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast199_THU2018_Humans.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:08am PDT
Mon, 12 November 2018
You may not have heard of Donna Smith — but she’s one of the most important players behind the scenes in Hollywood. Over the course of almost 40 years, she’s been instrumental in the production of 157 movies, including Raging Bull, The Terminator, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and The Matrix. She’s also the first woman to serve as President of Physical Production and Post Production at Universal Pictures.
Despite her enviable career and powerful position, Donna is down-to-earth and affable in this podcast. She offers invaluable advice for anyone looking to get ahead in the film industry, including who you should get to know, the importance of the “business” in show business, and getting started in the seven-year process from script to screen.
This is a must-listen for movie fans, and Donna’s tales of working with Marty (Scorsese), Bobby (DeNiro) and Sly (Stallone) are every bit as inspirational as the films she’s helped bring to the silver screen.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast198_DonnaSmith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am PDT
Mon, 5 November 2018
Recorded at THU, this week’s podcast guest is ILM Animation Director Hal Hickel. Inspired by Star Wars and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion work on King Kong, Hal became an animator on hugely successful California Raisins advertisements of the 1980s. Despite initial reservations, Hal switched clay for computers on Pixar’s breakthrough CG movie Toy Story, then moved to ILM for the Star Wars prequels, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Rango.
Thanks to his wealth of experience in character animation, Hal has become an expert on digital humans. He goes into detail on how ILM created a CG Grand Moff Tarkin for Rogue One and explains why, in this case, there were no ethical issues with digitally recreating the late Peter Cushing. He also talks about the tiny tweaks his team made to make the character look as real as possible and the dangers of getting stuck in the swamp of opinions at the bottom of the uncanny valley.
This podcast serves as a concise guide to how digital characters have evolved — and where they’re headed next.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast197_HalHickel_ILM.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:33am PDT
Mon, 29 October 2018
Alex's early career combined his passion for architecture with his love of theater, but an early experience with an Oculus Rift inspired him to move into the virtual arena. His company, Agile Lens, produces everything from quick virtual sketches to immersive photorealistic visualizations for the AEC industry.
In this podcast, Alex tells Chris why it's important to fasten your headset early on in the development process, some of the subtle cues he uses to guide participants around VR experiences, and the pros and cons of cutting-edge augmented reality gear such as the Microsoft Hololens and Magic Leap One. It concludes with an impassioned geek-out on favorite architects and dream VR architecture, as well as Alex's plans for XR Dads, a podcast on parenthood in the virtual age.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast196_AlexCoulombe_AgileLense.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 2:06pm PDT
Mon, 22 October 2018
THU festival is a wonderful place filled with inspiring things; among them this year was this deep-dive panel discussion on the relationship between artists and their tools.
The superstar participants include famed traditional-leaning Visual Artist Phil Hale, visionary Gnomon School Founder Alex Alvarez, and prestigious Hollywood Concept Artist and Production Designer Dylan Cole. Representing the advanced tools today’s creators use to build worlds are Lenovo’s Media & Entertainment Manager Rob Hoffmann, and Chaos Group’s Co-Founder and CEO Peter Mitev.
Chris does a great job of steering the conversation and involving all his guests, and it covers everything from the relationship between traditional and digital art, the evolution of mediums from cave paintings to Zbrush, and how AI and accurate skin shaders are changing the role of the artist. You’ll find out about the development process behind V-Ray, and how building software and hardware has many similarities with creating art.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast195_THU2018_Tools.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 1:12am PDT
Mon, 15 October 2018
Geoffrey Baumann’s career has propelled him around the world on some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including his most recent role as VFX supervisor on Marvel’s record-breaking Black Panther.
Having spent time in Europe and America as a child, Geoffrey majored in public relations before becoming a PA at Digital Domain. His linguistic skills landed him a job in on-set survey and digital integration for the movie xXx — and he hasn’t stopped working on movies since.
In this podcast, recorded at THU festival, Geoffrey discusses how he’s gone from the bottom to the top of the VFX industry via movies such as The Time Machine, Real Steel, and Iron Man 3. He talks about how he’s seen projects go from film to digital, and from a few hundred effects shots to thousands.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast194_GeoffreyBaumann.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:31am PDT
Mon, 8 October 2018
At Google’s Cloud Next ‘18 event in San Francisco earlier this year, a small team of CG artists and Google technicians took part in an audacious experiment: to create a Hollywood-quality animated short film in just three days. Fortunately, the team had a little help from Google’s Cloud Platform, a scalable and versatile system which gave them a huge amount of remote computing power.
In this enlightening podcast, Google Cloud Platform’s Adrian Graham and CG artist D. Ryan Reeb talk about the various pieces of technology which made Robot Dance Party possible: Teradici’s PCoIP remote workstations, Bebop’s orchestration layer, and Zync’s queue manager, as well as Maya, V-Ray for Maya and After Effects.
Adrian does a fantastic job of breaking down each component and explaining how it fits into Google Cloud’s slick infrastructure, while Ryan is a living testament to how it can save vital time on the front line of visual effects. Both also offer their thoughts on the future of cloud rendering, and how it will dramatically change the way the studios of tomorrow will be set up.
Want to try rendering on the cloud? Chaos Group is currently offering free rendering credits for anyone who takes part in our Google-powered V-Ray Cloud beta. Try it now!
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast193_AdrianGraham_RyanReeb_GoogleCloud.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 4:07pm PDT
Sun, 30 September 2018
For a short film, Construct’s production has taken a long time. But, as Director Kevin Margo explains there have been many good reasons for the delays. Conceived as a way to push the boundaries of ray tracing and virtual production, Construct become a perfect test subject for cutting-edge VFX techniques. It’s been cloud rendered via an NVIDIA cluster some 500 miles away, rejigged as a VR experience, and even presented in 120 hz via Douglas Trumbull’s Magi system.
But Construct is much more than just a tech demo. Despite its mechanical CG characters, the film tells a very human story, and there’s much more here than meets the eye. Actor Darren Ross explains how his motion-captured performance adds depth to the main character, and how they worked with Hollywood stunt coordinators to create the film’s elaborate fight scenes.
If you’re a regular listener, you’ll know that Construct has been a long and exciting journey for Kevin, Darren, Chris, and the many other collaborators who’ve helped make it a reality. It’s incredible to see Kevin’s vision finally come to life, and he discusses how the film could even be headed to the big screen.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast192_KevinMargo_DerronRoss_Construct.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:41am PDT
Sun, 23 September 2018
This week, Chris, Dan, and Erick finally get round to discussing Alien. It’s one of the most-requested topics for the podcast, and it’s not hard to see why: Ridley Scott’s 1979 movie is still terrifying today, and it gave birth to one of the silver screen’s most memorable monsters.
But Alien also gave us Ripley, the plucky, punky feminist hero who rises up against both the xenomorph and the patriarchal hierarchy of the Nostromo. Her story arc is examined by the podcast, as well as the film’s meticulous production design, and the Freudian nightmare of its imagery.
Just like the Nostromo, this is a podcast which goes on some pretty significant diversions. Alien sequels including James Cameron’s expansive Aliens, David Fincher’s flaccid Alien 3, and Scott’s own prequels Prometheus and Alien: Covenant are all put under the microscope. The trio also covers the way the movie industry works today, and directors from Gasper Noe to Russ Meyer, with some very funny anecdotes along the way.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast191_MartiniGiant_Alien.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:35pm PDT
Mon, 17 September 2018
Recorded at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, this podcast features self-taught rendering expert Zap Andersson. Zap’s career in CG began early, with the modification of a Swedish ABC 80 computer so it supported higher resolutions, ray tracing, gaming, and even image editing and music sampling. His passion for computing propelled him into a career in CAD, then back into ray tracing, where he earned his “Shader Wizard” moniker for his implementation of subsurface scattering.
In the second half of the podcast, Chris asks Zap for his thoughts on the future of ray tracing, tackling some of the myths around physically based and spectral rendering, metalness, and real-time. As Zap reveals, the restrictions of any CG method ties into the limitations of how human beings are wired to perceive optical phenomenon.
It’s a fascinating deep dive into the theory of CG and the shape of things to come.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast190_ZapAndersson-Autodesk.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 2:17pm PDT
Mon, 10 September 2018
Our host Chris Nichols is joined by his name twin Chris Nichols from Digital Domain. After reminiscing about working at DD at the same time (and accidently getting each other’s emails and phone calls), they dive into Chris’s role in the look development of Thanos on Avengers: Infinity Wars.
The Chris’ discuss the detail and thought that went into Thanos, and how Chris had to imagine so much of his backstory to add character to his face, skin and even the condition of his hands. At the same time, we find out more about Chris’s own backstory growing up in Perth, Australia, being inspired by the concept art of Lord of the Rings, and finally moving to Vancouver to work on one of the biggest movies of 2018.
Since both Chris’s have a passion for digital humans, they go into a deep discussion on which movies have been able to tackle the Uncanny Valley, leading to some very interesting conclusions along the way.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast189_ChrisNichols-DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT
Tue, 4 September 2018
Fresh off a tour of America, INK Founder Dave Macey joins Chris and Lon to talk about how two unemployed arch viz artists started one of the UK’s most distinctive creative studios.
As well as working with everyone from BMW to Wired to Asics, the company has created side projects which range from the beautiful (stark Le Mans sportscars) to the bizarre (inflating 1970s vehicles). While its Workshop experiments don’t generate income, they’re a great way to spot talent in the company, experiment with new styles and techniques — and just have fun.
Dave also delves into his love of cars, and things that move quickly. He discusses the future of how we’ll get around, from the simplicity of Bird’s electric scooters to Elon Musk’s grand designs for the Hyperloop One, and the way automation will put our living rooms and offices on the road.
It’s awesome to hear from someone with an innate knowledge of the past and future of tech and transport.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast188_DaveMacey-INK.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:13pm PDT
Mon, 27 August 2018
Joining Chris for this podcast are Brick’s CEO András Káldos, Chief Development Officer Attila Cselovszki, Product Development Specialist Péter Sárhidai — and a bottle of Pálinka, Hungary’s favorite fruit brandy.
As András explains, Brick Visual was founded in Budapest in 2012, among the perfect storm of a financial crisis which resulted in a surplus of unemployed architects. The company was able to compete with international arch viz studios thanks to its low prices, and after a trial-by-fire debut project, it’s established itself in the premier league.
But, as Peter explains, incredible architectural visualization for firms such as Snøhetta and SOM is not all Brick does. Its research and development department is dedicated to exploring solutions for age-old problems such as managing distributed rendering, and the new worlds of AR and VR.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast187_Brick.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 11:53am PDT
Mon, 20 August 2018
V-Ray for Houdini made a spectacular debut last year — via the music video for Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do. Behind the visual effects of the video — and most of Swift’s promos — is Ingenuity Studios, and its Creative Director Grant Miller.
In this podcast, Grant talks with Lon and Chris about how Ingenuity has embraced V-Ray for Houdini, from its early days as a GitHub project to full commercial software. Grant discusses how it’s streamlined workflows and joined the dots of Ingenuity's pipeline, making it faster and easier to create content.
Grant also goes into detail on how V-Ray for Houdini fits in with Ingenuity’s agile approach to technology, and how the small but successful company makes use of V-Ray for Nuke and V-Ray for Unreal in many different mediums. You’ll find out how the Ingenuity’s gone from making five cheap music videos a week to five megabudget videos a year, what it’s like to work with Tay and James van der Beek, and the effects it contributed to Oscar-winning movie Get Out.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast186_GrantMiller.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:45am PDT
Sun, 12 August 2018
Softly-spoken VFX supervisor Bill Spradlin currently works at Zoic Studios on TV shows such as Arrow, Iron Fist, and Legends of Tomorrow, and his previous credits include Oblivion (with Chris), Transformers, and Iron Man 3.
In this podcast, he talks about how his childhood fascination with Star Trek helped him choose his career path, as well as his early ventures in computing and MMOs. He highlights the many differences between working in TV and film, how both are seeping into gaming and VR, and what it’s like to work with industry personalities such as Joe Kosinski, Eric Barba, and Jeff Baksinski.
It evolves into a deeper discussion of the relevance of working in VFX today, and why the industry is about so much more than getting your name in the credits of a big movie. An essential listen if you’re considering a career in VFX.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast185_BillSpradlin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT
Mon, 30 July 2018
In this podcast, Chris is joined by Neoscape's Evan Buxton and Bryan Holmes, as well as former Neoscaper - and now Chaos Group CCO - Lon Grohs. The innovative Boston-based studio has been on the podcast wishlist for some time, and it's peppered with amusing anecdotes about when Evan, Bryan, and Lon worked together.
The podcast also features some great advice on running a modern arch viz company, including how Neoscape has adapted to a rapidly changing market by working with developers rather than architects and now has to compete with companies such as Facebook and WhatsApp for VR-savvy employees. The topic of video games comes up frequently, especially in relationship to storytelling in arch viz and VR.
You’ll find out about Evan’s paintball ballsiness, and why you should never let Lon in your brand new car.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast184_Neoscape.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 10:53am PDT
Mon, 23 July 2018
Creative studio Squint/Opera has many talents: as well as creating playful, story-driven arch viz films it has produced kids TV series Messy Goes to Okido, and it even runs a bar in south-east London. Recorded at Total Chaos, this podcast features three of the company’s 3D artists: Michelle Obayda, Camille Lymer, and Zlatina Pancheva
Drawing from their experience working with Bjarke Ingels (BIG) on the incredible Spiral skyscraper in New York, the trio tell Chris about how they combine 3D, motion graphics and live action footage to create charming, humorous videos. They discuss how they took a more tactful approach to BIG’s The Dryline, an ambitious project to protect Manhattan from flooding caused by superstorms like Hurricane Sandy.
The Squint/Opera team also talk about working on Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One, how they've adapted their unique style to virtual reality. It’s a fun and engaging podcast, and it makes Squint/Opera sound like a great place to work.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast183_SquitOpera.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 12:09pm PDT
Mon, 16 July 2018
This podcast features Aaron Kupferman, an expert on the intertwined fields of CGI and photography. He's served as compositor on movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, Alice in Wonderland, and upcoming Statham vs. Shark film The Meg. But he’s also an unbelievably talented photographer, effortlessly shifting between shiny automobiles, expansive land and cityscapes, and dwarfing time-lapse photos of the night sky.
Despite having a lot of photography equipment, Aaron highlights the importance of good technique over tech. He explains how imaginative photographers can compose and light great pictures with little more than a sheet of paper and a lamp, he delves into his dramatic shots of fast-moving cars, and describes his home-made time-lapse kit for capturing the night sky.
Aaron also gives insight into his life in technology and CG, from an early start in radio communications with a space shuttle, to how to render shots for action movies.
If you want to know what to do - and what not to do - to create amazing photographs and renders, this is the podcast for you.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast182_AaronKupferman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm PDT
Sun, 8 July 2018
It’s not hard to see why Karim Mousa has become one of the world’s most respected arch viz artists. His renders and animations for Zaha Hadid, KPF and MVRDV are cinematic, realistic, and spectacular. In this podcast, recorded at Total Chaos, Karim tells Chris how he’s carved out a career among some of the best in the business.
Karim and Chris have a lot in common: both have lived in the vibrant city of Cairo, and both pursued arch viz careers. After spending time in Dubai, Karim swapped sand for snow and traveled to Bergen, Norway to work for creative studio MIR. Now, Karim is back in Cairo, where he continues to create eye-popping imagery and videos.
It’s an engaging, energetic listen. You’ll find out how approaches to architectural visualization have changed over the past few years, the differences between middle eastern and western projects — and how Karim’s love of Taekwondo inspired him to create an incredible series of images.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast181_KarimMoussa.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 8:01pm PDT
Sun, 1 July 2018
On the verge of his 50th birthday, Chris’s former colleague Ken Ibrahim looks back at an incredible career in which his childhood dreams came spectacularly true.
Ken’s interest in visual effects began at the age of nine, when he and his brother were inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek to create Super 8 films, complete with hand-drawn visual effects. He was introduced to computers at high school, and shortly afterwards he made the leap to Japan where he ended up as a programmer – and occasional voice artist – at SEGA.
Then Ken returned to the US to work at companies such as PDI, Cinesite, Square and Digital Domain on movies like Shrek, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, X-Men 2 and 2012. He landed in nerd heaven, and met some of the universe’s heroes, when he joined JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot studio, to work on the franchises which inspired his career.
Ken’s an entertaining podcast guest, and he and Chris discuss everything from digital humans to Isomorphic web design. You’ll also find out how he enjoys free beer, ball games and concerts in San Francisco.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast180_KenIbrahim.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:46pm PDT
Sun, 24 June 2018
At Total Chaos, Ian Spriggs unveiled Portrait of Cassidy, the latest lifelike portrait from the digital Rembrandt. It’s such a striking image that it graced the cover of 3D World magazine, alongside the tag “This is not a photo!”
In this podcast, Ian reveals the painstaking and lengthy process of creating Cassidy and his other portraits. He tells Chris about how he makes his subjects feel at ease, and then the numerous elements he must consider, such as whether the images should be realistic or stylized, candid or posed, harshly or softly lit. And, after this epic process, the subject might not even like their portrait.
It’s a very interesting podcast which ponders how artists like Rembrandt, da Vinci, Caravaggio, Jackson Pollock and even actor Sharlto Copley use their work to reflect the complicated inner workings of human beings.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast179_IanSpriggs.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:50pm PDT
Sun, 17 June 2018
Andre Matos is something of a hero at Chaos Group. He’s a proponent of V-Ray GPU and VRscans, which are part of the toolset he uses to create enormous eye-catching renders for sports car company Porsche. As a special guest at the Total Chaos conference in Sofia, he delivered a keynote speech, a masterclass on motor vehicle renders, and recorded this podcast with Chris.
Andre and Chris share some subtle tricks of the trade which can make good car models look great; from the lighting to the positions of the wheels, the angle of the car, and the headlight set up. Andre also talks about his early life on the Azores islands, how he got started in CG, and the advantages of a GPU-based pipeline.
If you’ve ever struggled to make your car renders or photographs pop, this podcast is for you.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast178_AndreMatos_Porsche.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:24pm PDT
Sun, 10 June 2018
Under their Studio Niskota moniker, Dean Niskota and Hrvoje Čop have become renowned around the world for their remarkable arch viz images and videos. At Total Chaos - where this podcast was recorded - the pair announced Polymachine, a new venture in a new office, which will transform them from arch viz specialists into a fully fledged creative agency.
Dean and Hrvoje tell Chris about their journey so far, beginning with their childhood friendship in Zagreb, to surfing the wave of Croatian tourism and single-handedly creating the country’s arch viz scene, to the pros and cons of their in-house, post-production-free pipeline.
You’ll discover how Polymachine will expand on the immense amount of knowledge they’ve already built, as well as a brief history of fluid sims, and Chris’ unusual link with Croatia and Zagreb.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast177_Dean_Chop_Polymachine.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 5:13pm PDT
Mon, 4 June 2018
Our pals from Corona played a big part at Total Chaos, delivering a keynote speech and numerous presentations. Founding partner and main developer Ondřej Karlík, and research and development partner Jaroslav Křivánek, also sat down with Chris to talk about what’s changed in the nine months since the partnership was announced.
Corona and V-Ray developers working together as a happy family has brought benefits to both pieces of software, with the companies sharing knowledge to solve problems, and Vlado even diving into Corona’s code to implement features. Ondřej and Jaroslav go into detail on the new technology which makes Corona fast and efficient, via exotic terms such as machine learning with Bayesian inference, heterogeneous media, and GPU rendering.
You’ll find out about upcoming features in Corona 2, and more background on Jaroslav Křivánek, the mentor who’s been instrumental in the creation of renderer.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast176_Ondrej_Jaroslav_Corona.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:49am PDT
Mon, 28 May 2018
Dan Thron joins Chris for another epic discussion of a groundbreaking movie — with special guest star Erick Schiele.
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws marked a turning point when it was released in 1975, blending believable characters and a relatable setting with an unstoppable monster. It built on movies of the time, like Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Godfather and Bonnie and Clyde, and heralded a new era of profitable blockbusters such as Star Wars, E.T., and Jurassic Park.
Dan, Chris, and Erick discuss pre and post-Jaws movies, from T-Men and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul to Blue Velvet and L.A. Confidential. They talk about how the Marvel movies could learn from Spielberg’s well-crafted storytelling and ponder what the Millennial equivalent of Easy Rider will be.
Listen to find out how Erick accidentally injured a film star’s mother, how Chris helped change the movie Splinter and stay tuned to the end to hear Dan’s thoughts on Ready Player One.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast175_DanThron_ErickSchiele.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:54am PDT
Mon, 21 May 2018
Avengers: Infinity War is full of wonderful things, but a particular highlight is Thanos, the movie’s purple antagonist. In this week’s podcast, Digital Domain’s Darren Hendler and Ron Miller join Chris to explain how they turned actor Josh Brolin’s nuanced performance into one of the most impressive digital characters ever to hit the big screen.
Darren and Ron break down the steps of creating Thanos, from the accurate capture of Josh Brolin’s face, the on-set techniques to record his movements and expressions, and the extra work needed to translate everything into a photorealistic CG character. They talk about the numerous systems and human beings involved in this two-year process, as well as the ethics of digital performances and characters. You’ll even find out what color Thanos’ blood is.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast174_DarrenRon_DD.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 3:15pm PDT
Sun, 13 May 2018
Steve Blakey has been in visual effects since 1989, beginning with animated logos and commercials in New York, and then moving to Los Angeles to work on movies. He and Chris first met at Digital Domain, where they worked on disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.
Recorded over a bottle of whisky, this podcast covers everything from the megabucks contracts digital artists could command in the early days of CG, to the beginning and end of Digital Domain’s infamous Martini Nights, to the rapid evolution of CG software features starting with grouped objects in Wavefront.
Chris and Steve offer some important words of wisdom to young people working in the field, and Steve sets up an intriguing story involving DD co-founder Scott Ross. Hopefully we’ll hear more on this in coming episodes...
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast173_SteveBlakey.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:57pm PDT
Sun, 6 May 2018
Jesse James Chisholm’s illustrious movie career has spanned work from The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons to upcoming Marvel blockbuster Ant-Man and the Wasp. Along the way, he’s done everything from sweeping set floors, to supervising effects shots alongside legendary directors David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg.
In this candid podcast, Jesse reveals all about the pressures of working on set on projects that can cost $300,000 a day. He shares some incredible anecdotes about stars such as Tom Cruise, Hugh Jackman and Brad Pitt. You’ll hear about some of the cool parts of his job, like hanging out of helicopters over a closed-down Chicago to get shots for Suicide Squad, and how major sequences in Black Panther and Ready Player One were achieved.
Despite his awesome job and daily brushes with fame, Jesse acknowledges how lucky he is to do what he does, and discusses how he juggles his globe-trotting role with his young family.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast172_JesseChisholm.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:23pm PDT
Mon, 23 April 2018
Colin Green took the computer graphics skills he learned from his architecture education to help start Pixel Liberation Front. While the company is no longer around, it was one of the first to focus on envisaging movies with an art form known as previsualization. Colin talks about how previs was pioneered in films such as Fight Club, Panic Room, and Minority Report, how it’s become an essential part of the filmmaking process today, and how it’s forming the backbone of what is becoming virtual production.
Chris and Colin talk about some of the challenges of previs, such as how it can influence choices without locking people into them, and its effects on post production. Colin also mentions the huge respect he has for directors like David Fincher, who use previs to better communicate their vision to those around him.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast171_ColinGreen.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:59am PDT
Sun, 15 April 2018
If you’ve played any AAA videogame in the last few years, chances are you’ve seen Allegorithmic’s tech in action. Headed up by Sebastien Deguy, the company’s Substance Painter and Substance Designer help artists create and fine-tune realistic textures which aren’t repetitive or obviously procedurally generated.
In this podcast, recorded at the Vertex conference in London, Sebastien tells Chris how a single mistake lead to the founding of this fast-growing and innovative company, which is branching out into visual effects and architecture. He also talks about the little tricks Allegorithmic uses behind the scenes, the future of the software, and even how we can understand the universe through mathematics.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast170_SebastienDeguy_Allegorithmic.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:56pm PDT
Sun, 8 April 2018
Rob Redman is a man of many skills: motion graphics and 3D art, guitar and amp building, “The Cinema 4D Guy” on social media. In his current role he edits 3D World magazine, and helped conceive and organize the Vertex CGI event in London — which is where Chris delivered a keynote speech and recorded this podcast.
In this chat, Rob talks about how he and his team have created a unique and all-inclusive gathering for London’s well-storied visual effects industry. He also discusses his role at 3D World magazine, the challenges of translating 3D workflows to a 2D page, and its relationship with social media, its online presence CreativeBloq, and its sister title 3D Artist.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast169_RobRedman_Vertex2018.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 6:57pm PDT
Sun, 1 April 2018
This week’s podcast is another THU two-parter, recorded with Unity’s Josh Naylor and Angus Mackay, and Oculus Medium’s Brian Sharp.
As an evangelist for Unity, Josh has one of the best jobs in the world. He travels to global conferences and high-tech organizations — including NASA — to discuss the benefits of the Unity engine. In his three years at the company, he’s seen Unity evolve from a game development platform to a tool for research, entertainment and training, and he talks about how its ease of use, versatility and low cost have helped it build a passionate community of users.
One of the fruits of Unity’s success is VR modeling tool Oculus Medium. As its engineer and director Brian Sharp explains in part two, Medium was prototyped on Unity’s VR platform. Brian and Unity product marketing manager Angus Mackay discuss how they’re building a platform which feels familiar to artists, as well as the Inception-like conundrum of creating engines within engines, and the future of rasterization and ray tracing.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast168_JoshNaylor_BrianSharp_AgnusMckay_THU2017.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:02pm PDT
Sun, 25 March 2018
Six years ago, Chaos Group developer Boris Simandoff had a dream: that cloud rendering could be as simple as clicking a button. Today, that dream is becoming a reality, with fast and easy cloud rendering seamlessly integrated into V-Ray for Rhino, Revit and SketchUp — and more products coming soon.
In this podcast, Boris tells Chris how he and his team at Chaos Group overcame some of the headaches of cloud computing, such as security concerns and clunky interfaces. You’ll find out how CPU vulnerabilities were discovered as a direct result of cloud computing, and how preemptible machines cut the costs of rendering on the cloud. Boris also talks about his vision for the future, including potentially accessing thousands of cores from a simple machine.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast167_BorisSimandoff_VRayCloud.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 6:59pm PDT
Mon, 19 March 2018
A bottle of Trader Joe’s Blended Scotch Whisky fuels Chris and Dan Thron for this in-depth discussion of Blade Runner 2049. Like its 1982 predecessor, 2049 is an eye-catching and thought-provoking movie which tackles themes of identity, emotion and mortality in a dystopic, dysfunctional metropolis. And, like its forebear, it’s underperformed at the box office — although it’s clearly destined for cult status.
In typical Dan and Chris fashion, Blade Runner 2049 is thoroughly dissected, leaving no stone unturned and no replicant unretired. They talk about how the iconography, ideology and characters of Blade Runner are updated to reflect contemporary concerns. Dan discusses his work on the movie, its success in the visual effects category at the Oscars, and how it compares to competing sci-fi films Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The War for the Planet of the Apes.
There are inevitably a few spoilers, but Dan and Chris have some interesting theories about the film’s more ambiguous moments. By the end, you’ll want to step into 2049’s world again.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast166_DanielThron_BladeRunner2049.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:15am PDT
Sun, 11 March 2018
Chris and Lon jetted off to San Francisco to record this podcast with Adobe product manager Zoana Gee, and engineering director Ross McKegney. They reveal how they’ve created Adobe Dimension, formerly known as Project Felix, a clever box of tricks which marries photorealistic 3D imagery with Adobe’s trademark ease of use
Of course, 3D is notoriously complicated, and Zorana and Ross discuss the machine learning Dimension uses to build and configure 3D scenes from 2D images, and the role of V-Ray’s AppSDK behind the scenes. There are knock-on effects from this democratization of 3D: it cuts out human-shaped bottlenecks in workflows, and changes the way artists and designers interact with clients.
Listen to find out how Dimension fits into the bigger picture of Adobe products, and how AI and the cloud figure in its future.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast165_Adobe.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:19pm PDT
Mon, 5 March 2018
Recorded at THU last year, this podcast features another awesome foursome of guests: Ludger Pfanz, from Karlsruhe University of Art and Design, Kelli Townley from Oculus Medium, and Ciaran Wills and Mach Kobayashi from Google Tilt Brush.
Ludger spent 25 years making documentary films about indigenous people around the world, before becoming a film lecturer. This knowledgeable and philosophical explorer is taking his passion for anthropology into new mediums, explaining how psychedelic drugs, cave paintings, and John Malkovich can help us understand the phantasmagoric worlds of VR.
Creating these worlds, and using VR as an artistic medium, requires a whole new set of tools — which is where Oculus’ Medium and Google’s Tilt Brush come in. In the second part of the podcast, Chris is joined by developers Kelli, Ciaran and Mach. They talk about the challenges they face in helping artists work in an infinite and scaleless space, and VR’s applications in filmmaking, game design, and architecture.
It’s essential listening if you want to know more about the fascinating possibilities of VR, and how it can help artists think outside the box.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast164_THU2017_07.mp3
Category:VR -- posted at: 11:18am PDT
Sun, 25 February 2018
Since Chris and Lon were in Sofia for a week to hang out at our headquarters in snowy Sofia we decided to sit down with the man behind the V in V-Ray. Vlado, no stranger to the CG Garage, spends some time with Chris to give our listeners a better idea about all the work going into the next version of V-Ray, and beyond. Many people already know a bit about these features, but there are also many other things you may not know about.
We discuss why the next version of V-Ray is actually called Next, how the actual core of V-Ray is being completely revamped, as well as some of the many exciting new features. We also tease some new features that are not still coming up such as a complete redesign of the frame buffer, and our very own cloud service, called V-Ray Cloud.
V-Ray Next beta is available today to registered V-Ray users of V-Ray for 3dsmax. check out all the following links for more information and more in depth looks at some of those upcoming features.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast163_Vlado_VRayNext.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:02pm PDT
Sun, 18 February 2018
This week’s CG Garage is a special episode because I got a chance to sit down with Alex McDowell, the founder of World Building Institute and Experimental Design. You might have seen his name pop up in Fast Company and Wired from time to time, and it’s no mystery why they want to talk to him. On top of his current roles, which we’ll get into in a minute, this is a man who helped set up the Sex Pistols first gig, made music videos with Depeche Mode, led production designs on Fight Club, and designed the entire world, including all of its rules and attributes, for Minority Report. And it’s in that last point, world building, where he can really offer all of us - architects, filmmakers and general 3D artists- some serious food for thought.
Instead of thinking about stories and digital experiences like linear elements, Alex approaches his designs spherically, like you would a VR space. He asks questions like “What are the conditions of the world and what is going to drive it forward?” and then figures out how elements like different types of humans will define or navigate this environment. An elderly person, for instance, could live in the same world as a Olympian, but endure radically different challenges. And from what Alex has learned, as the challenges and context around your focal points change, so do the stories you can tell. With world building, storytellers are encouraged to consider more possibilities, which in turn, open up a greater understanding of the environments and characters they create.
At first glance, you may think this only works for feature films. But consider the 3D world’s most common thread: storytelling. Architects also tell visual stories full of context and character, only they do it through spaces. So imagine what happens when architects apply world building concepts to their art. Designs can be influenced by wider factors than form and function, including how different types of people will navigate the space. Using these concepts, architects can also consider how the mechanisms of the city, or even society at large, will change the experience they are offering, even if that change resides at a granular or subconscious level. As elements are defined, they compound, helping an artist (or your team) gain an elevated knowledge of any design that incorporates narrative.
It really can be quite powerful, and like I said, is not limited to a single field. I hope you’ll give it a shot.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast162_AlexMcDowell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm PDT
Sun, 11 February 2018
They’re back! Star Wars aficionados, film buffs and visual effects artists Dan Thron and Justin Fields join Chris for the second part of this follow-up to the original, divisive Last Jedi podcast. This episode continues to pore over The Last Jedi to work out if the good bits outweigh the bad, and whether director Rian Johnson can shake off the franchise’s excessive baggage and build a fresh universe for a new audience.
It’s a podcast that packs as many twists, crises of confidence and character arcs as the movie itself, and Dan, Justin and Chris discover their opinions are more in line than they first thought. They also delve into the other Star Wars movies, and films including Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner 2049, The Goonies and Justice League. You’ll find out what effects industry acronym CBB stands for, a surefire way to tell when Yoda is being goofy, and how Hitchcock’s The Birds cleverly creates a sense of tension and unease.
Dan will return for another discussion of a classic film. As for young Justin, we’ll watch his career with great interest.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast161_DanThron_JustinFields_part2.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 9:01pm PDT
Sun, 4 February 2018
On-set data integration people fill a crucial role in the modern movie making process. They capture reference materials such as HDR images, camera data, and reference photography so effects artists can ensure their CG creations fit perfectly into the shot.
As data integration lead Viki Chan explains, the job combines the glamor of traveling the world to work with a-list actors and directors, with 17-hour days and having to stay away from home for months at a time. She breaks down what her job involves, whether it’s placing tracking markers on the set, negotiating with ADs and gaffers, or minimizing the amount of CG involved on a production.
Viki comes across as friendly and professional – exactly the sort of person you’d want to work with on a chaotic movie set. And she’s got some great anecdotes about Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast160_VikiChan.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:57pm PDT
Mon, 29 January 2018
Chris, Dan and David’s take on The Last Jedi in podcast #156 stirred up many emotions on social media – especially among listener Justin Goby Fields. In fact, Justin posed such a good take on why The Last Jedi is a good movie that Chris invited him to appear on the podcast for a two-episode discussion.
In part one, Justin points out the clever ways The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi break down characters and ideas from previous Star Wars movies and reconfigure them to feel diverse and fresh. And he raises some interesting questions: could Poe Dameron become Star Wars’ best hero? And is Kylo Ren its best, and bustiest, villain?
In this occasionally heated discussion, the trio also branch out into other franchises, like Logan and Deadpool’s brutal, potty-mouthed diversions from the X-Men universe, and talk about what DC, Marvel and Lucasfilm can learn from big budget TV series such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Mindhunter.
No matter what you think of The Last Jedi – and your opinion will almost certainly change a little by the end of the podcast – this is an in-depth discussion of the movie’s successes and failings, and the current state of movie making in general.
Justin, Chris and Dan will return in a couple of weeks for Episode Two: Martini Giant Strikes Back.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast159_DanThron_JustinFields.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 3:42am PDT
Sun, 21 January 2018
While the THU festival is all about bringing brilliant artists together, a lot of it couldn’t happen without its media partners. In this podcast, Chris chats with some the people who help out behind the scenes.
In the first part, Chris is joined by Lenovo senior product manager Greyson Davis and Gnomon chief technology officer Eric Miller. Eric is fresh from a presentation featuring Lenovo’s latest tech, and they talk about how laptops are on the verge of usurping desktop PCs, the future of GPU and cloud rendering, and the varying hardware requirements of digital artists.
In part two, Chris meets Te Hu, a coder and artist who won ArtStation’s THU Golden Ticket contest. Te, better know as Ford, used an innovative modular system to generate characters for the winning piece, and he also talks about his day job at ILM’s ILMxLAB VR/AR department, and how he uses technical skills to create cinematic visions.
Te is joined by ArtStation’s product manager Daniel Wade, who tells Chris how ArtStation has gone from a small startup to an essential recruitment and analysis platform for the games, film, media, and entertainment industries.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast158_THU2017_06.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 3:17pm PDT
Sun, 14 January 2018
Greg Teegarden’s first role in Hollywood was suitably iconic: he designed the famous gates for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. From here, Greg worked as a modeler on Spielberg’s ambitious seaQuest DSV TV project, then helped create effects for Titanic and cars for The Fifth Element.
In this podcast, Greg talks about his career, and how his dad and uncle’s collaboration on TV series Supertrain helped set it up. He and Chris reminisce about the late nights they had at Digital Domain, and the huge cast of characters who made up the team there, including Eric Barba, Victoria Alonso, Ed Ulbrich, and Steve Worley, the software genius who’d write entire LightWave plugins on the plane.
Greg finishes with a discussion of his current work at Digital Domain on piractical TV series Black Sails — and reminds Chris of the time they hung out with dozens of bikini-clad models at his pool during the making of a short film.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast157_GregTeagarden.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:06pm PDT
Sun, 7 January 2018
As the dust settles on 2017, one question lingers on everyone’s minds: was Star Wars: The Last Jedi a good movie? The critics have embraced indie auteur Rian Johnson’s continuation of the new Star Wars universe, but the response from audiences and internet nerds has ranged from ecstatic, to meh, to Kylo Ren-like levels of rage.
To dissect this divisive movie, Chris is joined by Star Wars revisionist and podcast regular Dan Thron, Chaos Group’s Communications Director David Tracy — and a bottle of Colorado’s finest whisky. They talk about what makes the film work: the incredible visuals, the performances and chemistry, and the ways it wipes the slate clean and takes apart what Star Wars means for younger audiences. But they also highlight the film’s negatives: the goofy humor, tonal inconsistencies, and Death Star-sized plot holes.
It’s an thought-provoking and increasingly drunk conversation which touches on Dan’s arguments about the original trilogy, David’s formative experiences with Darth Vader, and the future of both the Star Wars universe and colossal movie franchises.
Whether you loved or hated The Last Jedi, this is a great way to spend two hours of 2018.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast156_DanielThron_TheLastJedi.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 7:49pm PDT
Mon, 1 January 2018
Mobile games are big business — bigger, in fact, than their console counterparts. They’re cheaper to make, require smaller teams, and they can generate huge amounts of money. In the first part of this podcast, Chris talks to John “Cip” Cipriani, senior artist at enormously successful mobile games company Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach).
Of course, mobile games have their own complications — hundreds are released every day, and established titles continually add new features. John tells Chris how Supercell has succeeded with quick but gratifying gameplay, distinctive art styles, and games which cater to gamers of all ages, no matter what device they’re using.
The increasing power of phones and tablets, combined with easy access to cloud resources and intuitive interfaces, make them an ideal candidate for 3D modelling and rendering. This topic comes up in a Chris’ second conversation, with artists Carlos Ortega and Lip Comarella.
As well as discussing the future of 3D, animation director Lip and character artist Carlos talk about their experiences at THU. At last year’s event, Lip posed an interesting personal question about relationships and art, while Carlos has previously served as a “Knight” at the festival.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast155_JohnCipriani_CarlosOrtega_LipComarella.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17pm PDT