Tue, 29 December 2020
Is there anything Alessandro Cangelosi can’t do? Over the past 20 years, this versatile generalist has contributed to games, movies, documentaries, film studio idents and commercials for everything from computer accessories to tourist destinations. To handle this wide array of work, Alessandro uses software including 3ds Max, Houdini and V-Ray.
In this podcast, Alessandro tells Chris how he likes to get under the hood of his projects, embracing innovative tech and techniques to create stunning effects for movies including Independence Day: Resurgence and 2012. He also talks about his plans to invigorate Italy’s visual effects industry with his own school, and the courses he teaches for Gnomon Workshop and Skyup Academy.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast307_AlessandroCangelosi.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:45am PDT
Mon, 21 December 2020
Babak Bina has carved out an illustrious career in VFX — and now he’s passing his knowledge onto a new generation. Originally hailing from Iran, the band Tool’s visuals inspired Babak to pursue graphic design in Toronto. He’s gone on to work for visual effects studios Double Negative, Method Studios and Scanline VFX on movies and TV shows, including Game of Thrones, Black Panther and Wonder Woman.
This year, Babak has also started teaching how to create weird and wonderful creatures at The Gnomon Workshop. He tells Chris what it’s like to teach students he’s never seen and the tools he uses to create believable characters. Babak also discusses his new role as co-director of short movie, “The Seahorse Trainer.”
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast306_BabakBina.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:10am PDT
Mon, 14 December 2020
CGI obviously has a big role in post-production, but in this podcast, Chris talks to concept artist Dwayne Burgess about how it’s used before filming. Dwayne was inspired by theatrical design to pursue his career path, and after a fortuitous meeting on a B-movie, he worked his way up to art director at NBC Universal.
Today, Dwayne is a freelance concept artist, creating renders for TV shows including Fargo and American Ninja Warrior. He explains what his role is in a production, how he interacts with set designers and directors of photography, plus how V-Ray for SketchUp has improved his workflow.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast305_DwayneBurgess.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47am PDT
Mon, 7 December 2020
Episode 304 - Shannon Wiggins - Director of Placement & Alumni Relations, Gnomon School of Visual Effects
With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Shannon Wiggins knows how to get employed at the biggest VFX and games studios. Shannon’s early brushes with behind-the-scenes effects from Star Wars influenced her to learn Softimage and Nuke, and work in roto and paint for companies including Digital Domain, ILM and Dreamworks. Today, she heads up placement and alumni relations at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects.
In this podcast, Shannon shares how Gnomon achieves an incredible 97% employment rate for its students, and offers indispensable advice on preparing a winning reel and being ready for the interview process. She also talks about some of the big changes she’s seen over her 10 years at Gnomon — and the skills students need for the VFX of the future.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast304_ShannonWiggins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am PDT
Mon, 30 November 2020
Episode 303 - Al Quattrocchi - Creative Director & Principal at Tornado Creative LA/Salty Fly Fisherman
Al Quattrocchi is a man of passion and talent. From a young age, he’s honed his artistic skills via typesetting, movie posters and Grammy-winning album packaging. Along the way, he’s been taught by Jim Blinn of Blinn-Phong shading fame, worked with poster artist Drew Struzan and shaken hands with musical legend Art Garfunkel.
At the same time, Al has indulged his love for fly fishing, which grew from exploring the waters near New York. He tells Chris about what makes fly fishing so attractive to artists, his book about catching the elusive California corbina and how he gets involved with the fly-fishing community. Al’s Italian-American inflection and gift for storytelling make for an engrossing podcast.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast303_AlQuattrocchi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am PDT
Mon, 23 November 2020
Versatile and talented software engineer Yining Karl Li has taken an unconventional but successful approach to his career. He sideloaded a graphics degree onto his business degree and he was inspired to create his own renderer, Takua, by Alex Roman's "The Third and The Seventh" and V-Ray's rendering quality.
He's also made leaps and bounds with the development of Disney's in-house renderer, Hyperion. Used to deliver large-scale environments for Big Hero 6, Moana, Zootopia and the upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon, Hyperion sets itself apart with a breadth-first rendering approach, similar to the techniques used by V-Ray GPU. Karl discusses the intricacies of production rendering on increasingly powerful hardware, as well as the future of real-time and ray-traced rendering.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast302_YiningKarlLi.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:59am PDT
Mon, 16 November 2020
You’ve probably seen Mike Campau’s work without realizing it. Over the past 20 years, this digital artist has honed his style and techniques to produce eye-catching imagery for brands including Under Armour, Chevy and Specialized, and characterful portraits of Tracy Morgan, John C. Reilly and Dave Grohl. He also creates personal work to experiment with new techniques or skewer social media and politics.
In this podcast, Mike tells Chris how he’s grown from usual inspiration as a three-year-old, to learning from car campaigns, to the tools and collaborations that make his work possible today. If you’ve ever wanted to make the jump to becoming a successful freelance artist, Mike has solid advice on how to get established and manage your work-life balance.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast301_MikeCampau.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57am PDT
Mon, 9 November 2020
CG Garage’s 300th podcast features a true superstar of CG: 3D Studio and 3ds Max team leader Gary Yost. After working for an Atari magazine, in the mid 1980s, Gary became involved in software, eventually overseeing the development of 3D Studio from its early days as a DOS package to its limelight-stealing Windows release as 3D Studio MAX 1.0. He talks about how his five-person team (including one barely out of his teens) worked from home in the early-90s to create this pioneering, game-changing 3D software.
Today, Gary is returning to his artistic instincts with a high-tech short film about the COVID-19 pandemic, using superpowered 360-degree cameras, 3ds Max, V-Ray and Chaos Cloud to produce an immersive experience. It’s fascinating to hear about Gary’s experiences in computing and entertainment over the past few decades. He’s a rare character who can combine creative energy and technical know-how with a knack for choosing the right people for the right roles.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast300_GaryYost.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:07am PDT
Mon, 2 November 2020
Returning podcast guest Lou Pecora was inspired by the Haunted Mansion ride, Star Wars, Sinbad and his love of taking things apart to pursue a career in VFX. His first work was creating morphs for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he’s gone on to work on big-budget movies and TV shows at Digital Domain and now Zoic.
In this epic discussion, Lou breaks down some of the challenges that he’s faced recently, from transforming a straitjacket into a man for Legion to a nightmare-inducing shot for Lucy in the Sky and COVID-19 shutting down production on Fargo. He also talks about how his career is progressing, how he’s stayed upbeat and kept himself busy during the lockdown, and he delves into the pros and cons of real-time production methods.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast299_LouPecora.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:55am PDT
Mon, 26 October 2020
This week’s podcast guest, Scott Meadows, is the crown prince of previz. After graduating in architecture from Texas A&M University, Scott found his way into VFX as part of a two-man team working on the previz of Michael Bay’s Bad Boys II in 2002 — and he’s now Head of Visualization and Virtual Production at Digital Domain.
In this fascinating interview, Scott shares tales and tips from previz on movies including The Chronicles of Narnia series, Tron: Legacy, Ender’s Game, Black Panther, Ready Player One and the upcoming West Side Story. He talks about how he works with directors such as Steven Spielberg and Joe Kosinski, what post-viz is, and how real-time is revolutionizing the way movies are made — via Xbox controllers and iPhones.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast298_ScottMeadows.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:13am PDT
Mon, 19 October 2020
If you’re a big Japan-fan, you’ll love this podcast. Joining Chris is Shuzo Shiota, CEO of Polygon Pictures, the long-lived and prolific Tokyo-based digital animation studio behind movies and TV series including Godzilla, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Transformers: Prime and Big Hero 6: The Series.
Shuzo and Chris discuss the impact of Japanese art on the west, from its breakthrough at a Parisian exposition in the 1800s, to movies such as Akira, Manga graphic novels and now Netflix’s vast array of anime titles. Shuzo also talks about Polygon Pictures’ origins, why it can be hard to create authentic anime in 3D, and the future of cinema, gaming and subscription-based services.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast297_ShuzoShiota.mp3
Category:animation -- posted at: 1:30pm PDT
Mon, 12 October 2020
Recently released on Netflix, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is director McG’s gory follow-up to his equally bloody 2017 comedy-horror, The Babysitter. Assisting with the blood, guts and mayhem this time is Crafty Apes, a rising studio that’s crafted effects for movies and TV series including Stranger Things, Thor: Ragnarok and Birds of Prey.
Joining Chris are Crafty Apes’ Executive VFX Producer Matt Akey and VFX Supervisor Aldo Ruggiero. As well as talking about working with McG on The Babysitter: Killer Queen’s invisible and very visible effects, they discuss where Crafty Apes fit into the overall scheme of effects houses, photogrammetry versus LIDAR, why they love working for streaming services and how they’re integrating virtual production into their future plans.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast296_CraftyApes.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:32am PDT
Mon, 5 October 2020
Want to be a more successful CG artist? In this podcast, returning guest Allan McKay shares crucial tips on how to market yourself, sell your products and boost your income. He takes down the myth of the starving artist, highlights the big mistakes people make on their showreels and even delves into the psychology of pricing strategies.
That's not all: Allan also predicts the VFX areas to focus on for future success, explains why struggling can be a good thing and talks about his recent CG work. Just like Allan's last podcast, this one is packed with great advice and essential tips for the VFX industry and beyond.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast295_AllanMcKay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am PDT
Mon, 28 September 2020
Maciej Kuciara has established himself as a go-to talent for awe-inspiring concept art. Originally hailing from Poland, Maciej quit university to create artwork for tabletop games, then landed jobs at video game developers People Can Fly (Painkiller), Crytek (Crysis) and Naughty Dog (The Last of Us), and then worked on movies including the Ghost in the Shell remake, Blade Runner 2049 and Terminator: Dark Fate.
Most recently, Maciej unleashed his short film “Showtime,” a painstakingly accurate homage to classic animes Akira and Ghost in the Shell. He tells Chris about his life behind the Iron Curtain, his love of role-playing games and anime, how working hard on major games and movies helped him bring his incredible vision to life — and his plans for its future.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast294_MaciejKuciara.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:52am PDT
Mon, 21 September 2020
Asuka Tohda-Kinney was inspired by Titanic to pursue a career in visual effects — and she now works for Digital Domain, the studio that helped bring James Cameron's blockbuster to life. Her first role at the company was on I, Robot, as an intern to Chris himself, and she went on to work on pipelines and lighting for movies, including Stealth, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and Ender's Game.
Today, Asuka works in Digital Domain's dedicated digital humans department, where she's swapped heads for The Twilight Zone and TIME Magazine's Martin Luther King Jr. VR project, which even graced the magazine's cover. Asuka talks in detail about Japan's working culture, how DD helped her adjust to new languages, motherhood and lockdown — and how her coding prowess and creative skills help her solve problems.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast293_AsukaTohdaKinney.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:49am PDT
Mon, 14 September 2020
CGarchitect has established itself as a go-to website for the arch-viz community, giving talent a platform to share their work with recruiters and studios, as well as serving as a blog, forum and gallery. But, as CEO and Founder Jeff Mottle explains, now 19-year-old the site needed to move with the times and reinvent itself.
In this podcast, Jeff tells Chris about the super-powered new CGarchitect, which launched in May this year. Jeff reveals how he trained its smart AI to pick the best images among the thousands submitted without ignoring more abstract works. He also sheds light on how its new subscription, recruitment and content creation features work, his plans for the site's future and the data it’s collated, and managing the increasingly momentous CGarchitect awards.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast292_JeffMottle.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 9:04am PDT
Tue, 8 September 2020
Throughout his career, Jose Gomez has blended entrepreneurship with creativity. After founding and selling a skateboard clothing firm, he discovered a passion for motion graphics and animation. He then started his own creative production company, Shilo, then joined Reel FX to form ATK PLN, a company specialized in design, animation and live-action.
Jose presents some interesting points on the modern motion graphics and commercials industry. He reveals how the prevalence of software has made it easier to create great visuals but harder to stand out and how he sees commercials evolving alongside livestreamed media. There’s also a neat final-act twist as Jose and Chris work out where they’ve met before.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast291_JoseGomez.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:21am PDT
Mon, 31 August 2020
SHoP Architects has made a name for itself in its native New York via distinctive projects including Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — and now it’s expanding globally via Uber’s San Francisco HQ, US embassies in Honduras and Bangkok, and an innovation hub in Botswana. To create these buildings, SHoP has embraced technology and started its own in-house visualization team.
In this podcast, Visualization Director Mengyi Fan and Visualization Associate Samantha Anderson join Chris to talk about the various methods SHoP uses in the design and development processes, from videogame techniques to simple illustrations. They also discuss clever technology that allows them to oversee construction over thousands of miles or simultaneously experience VR spaces.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast290_MengyiFan_SamanthaAnderson.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 8:23am PDT
Mon, 24 August 2020
Released earlier this year, V-Ray 5 for 3ds Max and V-Ray 5 for Maya represent a new generation of Chaos Group software that does more than just render. In this podcast, Product Specialist Alex Yolov and Software Tester Peter Matanov reveal the research and development process that’s expanded the capabilities of V-Ray.
You’ll discover how V-Ray 5 integrates the retooled V-Ray Frame Buffer, Light Mix, Light Path Expressions and the ACESCG color space, and how they make artist workflows more efficient. Peter and Alex also discuss how user feedback, testing on real-world productions and input from Vlado himself helped create this innovative new version of V-Ray.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast289_AlexYolov_PeterMatanov.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:37am PDT
Mon, 17 August 2020
Aron Hjartarson originally dreamed of being a rockstar — but he became more fascinated with CG and 3D. After founding a studio in his native Iceland he created commercials for Visa and Coca-Cola, but his understanding of software propelled him on a career path that took in Italy, London, New York, Iceland (again) and now Los Angeles, where he works as Executive Creative Director at Framestore.
In this upbeat podcast, Aron delves into the history, culture and politics that have made Iceland a literal hotbed of creativity. He also talks about working on Gravity and Contraband, the difference the lockdown has made to where we work, and his positive philosophy for the future.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast288_AronHjartarson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:22am PDT
Mon, 10 August 2020
In the near future, we may find ourselves talking to and interacting with digital humans as if they were real people. They’ll be there to help us find clothes that fit, or to act as virtual assistants — and they might even take our places during Zoom calls. The architect of this new age is likely to be Hao Li, the former director of the Institute of Creative Technology (ICT) research lead who founded Pinscreen to create seamless, instant CG avatars.
In this podcast, Hao talks about how lockdowns and social distancing have fast-forwarded digital humans’ evolution. He discusses the technology his company uses to capture and create CG likenesses, and their subsequent roles in video games, fashion and VFX. Hao also addresses some of the ethical concerns that surround digital humans.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast287_HaoLi.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:29am PDT
Mon, 3 August 2020
Over the past few years, Blender has gone from niche software to a significant part of the CG landscape. The free, open-source 3D package has shed its geeky image and steep learning curve in favor of an accessible interface and simple workflows. And for anyone who wants to learn Blender, Blender Guru’s YouTube tutorials are the perfect place to start.
Joining Chris for this week’s podcast is Andrew Price — AKA the guru of Blender Guru. He tells Chris how he went from debt collector to a key player in the CG industry, how he found his voice as a YouTuber, how he’s taught Blender to prisoners — and why it’s better to model a park bench than a spaceship. He also talks about Poliigon, the CG asset site he founded, and the future of Blender.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast286_AndrewPrice.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:24am PDT
Mon, 27 July 2020
With his latest Disney project on hold due to COVID-19, lighting artist Afonso Salcedo seized the opportunity to explore his other passion: Photography. Equipped with his trusty camera, he took to Los Angeles’ streets to capture their emptiness during lockdown then documented the surge of crowds for the BLM protests.
In his second CG Garage podcast, Afonso explains how these unusual circumstances have allowed him to explore the streets of Los Angeles — a city he’s still new to. He also talks about how animation and photography complement one another, how to take great shots in hostile environments, and the diversity of LA’s neighborhoods and nature.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast285_AfonsoSalcedo_returns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am PDT
Mon, 20 July 2020
This week’s podcast features a truly legendary guest: Douglas Trumbull. Over the past 50 years, Douglas has pushed the boundaries of filmmaking via stunning effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and directed his own films including Silent Running and Brainstorm.
Today, Douglas still works tirelessly to enhance the cinematic experience at home and in theaters. His intricate understanding of cameras and projectors led to the creation of the Showscan format which has now evolved into Magi, delivering high-framerate films without the soap-opera look. In this podcast, he gives exclusive insight into his experiences in the movie industry and explains his involvement in Ang Lee’s Gemini Man as well as Kevin Margo’s CONSTRUCT.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast284_DougTrumbull.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:58am PDT
Mon, 6 July 2020
Glenn Derry began his career in practical effects, creating advanced puppets for movies, including A.I. Artificial Intelligence. As CG took over filmmaking, he transferred his skills into visual effects via films such as The Aviator, Real Steel, The Jungle Book and Avatar — for which he coined the phrase “virtual production.”
In this discussion with Chris, Glenn talks about the rise of virtual production in filmmaking and his role in making it happen, as well as how real-time and rear-projection, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, have the potential to transform the movie-making process. He also talks about Technoprops, the company he set up to create bespoke motion-capture systems, and how he’s introducing a new generation of directors to old-school filmmaking techniques.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast282_GlennDerry.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 12:44pm PDT
Mon, 29 June 2020
Andy Lomas has always been fascinated with math and filmmaking. On graduating from Cambridge he founded a video production company, then worked on VFX for movies including The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions. At the same time, he explored his passion for CG art, making use of render farms in their downtime.
In this podcast, Andy goes into detail on his artwork and how he uses technology, including deep learning and NVIDIA’s OptiX API, to create unruly but controllable plantlike and cellular forms. He talks about how he brings together influences from nature, physics and biology, as well as his work on Katana at The Foundry and his current lecturing post at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast281_AndyLomas.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:26am PDT
Mon, 22 June 2020
Matthew Bannister has been a key player in the evolution of arch-viz. Having founded arch-viz studio DBOX in New York in the mid-90s, he’s watched the medium grow into an industry unto itself, borrowing techniques from VFX — such as greenscreen, depth-of-field and helicopter shots — to create awe-inspiring work.
But, as Matthew explains, the arch-viz business has become a victim of its own success, with social media accounts reposting artists’ work without giving credit. For this reason, Matthew has founded The Credit Revolution, a movement that seeks to remarry artists’ titles with the artwork they’ve poured their blood, sweat and tears into. Matthew also talks about how his musical project, The Beautiful Fear, has helped him tackle personal demons.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast280_MatthewBannister.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 8:28am PDT
Mon, 15 June 2020
Mike Wuetherick’s story begins in the world of videogames, where he created games as well as the engines and middleware that make them work. Today, Mike heads up the Tech, Media and Entertainment division at Unity Technologies, the company behind the ubiquitous game engine that is fast becoming part of the VFX, architecture and automotive pipelines.
In this podcast, Mike tells Chris how techniques and tools from filmmaking and gaming are merging via projects such as The Lion King, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Oats Studios' two sequels to Unity's original Adam short film. Mike offers some fascinating insights into how we’ll experience entertainment in the future and where cloud computing, user-generated content and real-time rendering fit into the picture.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast279_MikeWuetherick.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:40am PDT
Tue, 9 June 2020
“When you start taking care of other people, amazing things happen,” says David Guthrie. And he’s right — after discovering the lack of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic, he took matters into his own hands and founded a company to manufacture and distribute face masks, making use of contacts he’s made in app development and fashion design.
David also discusses how he teaches the fundamentals of design at Rice University and the University of Houston via projects involving cubes, mandolins and furniture, imposing constraints to investigate and understand form and function. He gives his thoughts on how modern architecture and technology don’t encourage socialization — as well as his hopes for the post-COVID future.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast278_DavidGuthrie.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 8:22am PDT
Tue, 26 May 2020
In 18 months, audiences will be transported back to Pandora for Avatar 2 — and Ben Procter is one of the people who’s preparing to take us there. This concept artist turned production designer gives insight into the sequel’s seven-year production journey, as well as some of the technology his team along with Lightstorm Entertainment and Weta Digital are using to create James Cameron’s sumptuous digital world.
Ben also tells Chris about his ascent through the visual effects industry, from his early days at previz pioneer Pixel Liberation Front to The Matrix sequels, Transformers, Tron: Legacy and Ender’s Game. He reveals the organized chaos of VFX and art departments, celebrating the characters and methods that can quickly turn around and tweak incredible work. He also gives insight into how virtual production marks a return to more traditional, in-camera filmmaking processes.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast277_BenProcter.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 9:18am PDT
Mon, 18 May 2020
Jim Lammers knows 3D like no other. Since 1994 his company, Trinity3D, has been vending 3D content and software (including V-Ray). At the same time his studio, Trinity Animation, has created content for technical and medical projects as well as visual effects for the movie Starship Troopers and backdrops for animated sitcom Archer.
In this podcast, Jim joins Chris and Lon to reminisce about SIGGRAPHs past and long-lost data storage media, as well as the shifts that have taken place in the 3D industry since the mid-90s — and how new technology is throwing up familiar problems. Jim also talks about how his team creates and delivers Archer’s painterly backdrops while giving the show’s designers creative control, the issues that make legal animations so challenging — and the inner workings of industrial flour-sifting machines.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast276_JimLammers.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:58am PDT
Mon, 11 May 2020
Over the past 20 years, Jody Madden has worked her way to the top of the visual effects career ladder. She began her career at Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasfilm in San Francisco, then moved to Los Angeles to work for Digital Domain. Today, Jody is CEO of Foundry, the London-based company behind essential VFX software Nuke, Modo, Katana, Mari and Modo.
In this podcast, Jody discusses how interesting new approaches to working may come out of the COVID situation, as well as how her experience at Digital Domain and long-distance management of Foundry have prepared her for managing people through times of uncertainty. She also tells Chris about Foundry’s history as a Digital Domain off-shoot and how it’s preparing for a shift in the way media is produced and consumed.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast275_JodyMadden.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:39am PDT
Mon, 4 May 2020
Michael Golden’s winding career path has taken in philosophy and creative writing degrees, charter fishing in Alaska as well as work for celebrated New York arch-viz studio DBOX and a role as Head of 3D for timesaving worldbuilding asset company KitBash3d. Today, Michael runs arch-viz studio Three Marks while indulging his love for fantasy and sci-fi architecture and sculpture via his Droquis alter-ego.
Michael is full of sage-like wisdom on how to create great arch-viz. His more holistic approach to creating imagery makes it easy to get clients on board with projects while maintaining creative control. He also discusses why a bad photorealistic image is worse than no image, reveals the subtle details that breathe life into renders — and explains what we can all learn from Japanese comic books.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast274_MikeGolden.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 8:25am PDT
Mon, 27 April 2020
Warning: This podcast contains explicit language.
Among the many pleasures of Love, Death & Robots, “The Witness” was a particular standout: Its mind-bending story and vivid art style combined to create a unique and challenging short film. In this inspirational podcast, director Alberto Mielgo breaks down the making of the project.
You’ll find out Alberto’s influences, from Tintin to Disney to Blade Runner and the films of Éric Rohmer. He also talks about blending simple 2D and advanced cloth techniques to achieve “The Witness’” distinctive look, the inspiration behind its story — and his ambition to make animated movies that are regarded in the same light as live-action features.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast273_AlbertoMielgo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am PDT
Mon, 20 April 2020
Large-scale realistic cityscapes have never been more important — whether they’re for blockbuster VFX, open-world videogames, architectural planning or even training self-driving cars. This week’s podcast guest, Matthias Buehler, is an expert in generating realistic urban environments thanks to his work on the CityEngine procedural city modeling software.
Matthias talks Chris through his career, from learning about architecture from industry legends such as Hani Rashid and Greg Lynn, to his work building CityScape into VFX company Scanline’s pipeline, to his new CG city-focused company, vrbn. It’s a fascinating conversation about the methods and rules that we can use to effortlessly create realistic CG metropolises.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast272_MatthiasBuehler.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:19am PDT
Tue, 14 April 2020
Over the past 12 years, V-Ray GPU has been developed alongside the CPU renderer to take advantage of increasingly powerful and specialized hardware — and now it’s coming of age. Joining Chris this week is Alex Soklev, whose passion for ray tracing has propelled him to the position of Team Leader in Chaos Group’s V-Ray GPU team.
Fresh from his online GTC presentation, Alex breaks down the components that make V-Ray GPU such a versatile renderer. He goes into detail on integrating the Optix API to make the most of NVIDIA's latest RT cores, explains how clever technology such as out-of-core and on-demand rendering help keep GPU ray tracing fast and efficient, and gives a thorough breakdown of how static, dynamic and evictable geometry can keep rendering fast and efficient.
It's a perfect refresher on ray tracing techniques — and you'll find out why V-Ray GPU can handle any scene no matter how much GPU memory you've got.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast271_AlexSoklev.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:51am PDT
Mon, 6 April 2020
Pixar’s unique fusion of cutting-edge technology with storytelling has changed the face of cinema and given us some memorable movies along the way. A key player behind-the-scenes has been Esdras Varagnolo, who contributed to lighting and compositing on Pixar movies including Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2, as well as shorts “La Luna,” “Piper” and “Lou.”
As Esdras begins a new chapter in his life, at David Ellison’s Skydance Animation, he reflects on the technical innovations he’s helped make possible, from “shampositing” at Digital Domain to integrating deep compositing and Katana at Pixar. He reveals how Pixar uses its short films as testbeds for new technology, how Incredibles 2’s production schedule was slashed by 12 months and the fascinating reason why the company’s early characters had that iconic eye glint.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast270_EsdrasVaragnolo.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:27am PDT
Mon, 30 March 2020
Lauren Mayer-Beug has come a long way since working at Sway Studio with Chris. This multi-talented artist cut her teeth in compositing and VFX supervision for movies and music videos before moving into motion graphics, animation and social media features. She’s created pieces for Apple, Google, Facebook and Beats, and her clientele include Dr. Dre, Ron Howard, Barack Obama and George Lucas.
In this podcast, Lauren gives Chris a rundown of how she’s worked up to the position of creative director at Chapeau Studios, a brand think-tank with roots in the world of VFX. She imparts vital advice on how women can make their voices heard in a traditionally male-dominated industry and reveals the techniques she uses to make smart, innovative creative decisions.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast269_LaurenMayerBeug.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am PDT
Mon, 23 March 2020
With digital humans and deepfakes becoming increasingly prevalent in both traditional and social media, the law surrounding virtual humans has become more complex. Here to save the day is Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who has served as head lawyer and second-in-command at the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) for the past 20 years.
Using examples Chris has encountered in his professional life, Duncan gives a level-headed and clear-cut primer on how copyright law applies to performers and CG artists. He tackles everything from the highly detailed digi-doubles of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher created for Star Wars movies to amateur fan art at local markets, and the emerging world of deepfakes.
Obviously, this podcast does not constitute legal advice, but it’s a fascinating listen whether you’re a CG pro, an actor — or just an entertainment fan.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast268_DuncanCrabtreeIrland.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:51am PDT
Mon, 9 March 2020
This week, Chris meets an old friend and former Digital Domain co-worker Alex Nijmeh — and this joyful podcast is a testament to how much fun they had together on movies such as The Day After Tomorrow and I, Robot. They reminisce about how unfeasibly tight deadlines pushed them to learn software and techniques, as well as the characters they met and funny antics they got up to at DD’s studio.
Today, Alex's enthusiasm for all things CG has taken him to Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he graduated from working on movies such as Frozen and Zootopia to overseeing the company's workflow. He tells Chris how a lack of practical experience with 3ds Max didn't stop him from beginning his career, and he gives his thoughts on the future computing trends that will reshape in the industry.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast267_AlexNijmeh.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:07am PDT
Mon, 2 March 2020
Like Chris, Juan Gomez worked at Digital Domain on some of the company’s biggest and most innovative projects: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Maleficent and Tron: Legacy. But Juan has followed a different career path, first into the world of virtual reality at Method and on to Epic Games, where he’s spearheaded game-changing real-time virtual production for movies.
This podcast offers a comprehensive overview of the ways Unreal Engine is turning the entire production process on its head and making it faster and easier to create VFX-heavy movies. Juan tells Chris how the company is able to offer tailor-made tools so directors and DoPs can use familiar interfaces and not get overwhelmed with technical aspects of VFX. He also reveals how the tech is pulling VFX artists away from workstations and onto the set, giving them god-like powers in the creative process.
Virtual production is about to make the film industry more agile and transform the end result — and this podcast is an amazing head start.
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Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast266_JuanGomez.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:28pm PDT
Mon, 24 February 2020
Digital humans are playing an increasingly important role in our day-to-day lives. CG replicas of people dominate entertainment, from epic movies such as The Irishman to simple YouTube videos. Interacting with AI assistants has become second nature. And social media and news headlines are dominated by the issues surrounding deepfakes.
Joining Chris for this week’s podcast is Koki Nagano, who has become an expert in virtual doppelgangers via his research on digital humans at USC and his work at Pinscreen, a company that uses AI to supercharge the creation of 3D personal avatars from a single photo. Koki gets under the skin (literally) of what it takes to create a detailed digital human and talks about how he’s approached the uncanny valley from both sides.
Listen to find out some incredible facts about your face — and how combining old and new technology could result in the most accurate digital humans to date.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast265_KokiNagano.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:16pm PDT
Mon, 17 February 2020
Want to learn how to do 3D in motion graphics? EJ Hassenfratz is your man. After landing on his feet in motion graphics for NBC, PBS and ABC, EJ wound up giving a presentation for Cinema 4D company Maxon, which inspired him to learn more about the software and start creating tutorials. Today, EJ works as a freelance motion designer while crafting courses for the renowned online learning platform, School of Motion.
In this podcast, EJ gives a frank and funny insight into the world of education. He highlights some of the pitfalls of learning for free via YouTube tutorials or graduating with massive debt from college. He presents some dependable advice about taking on challenges and investing in yourself, as well as a nostalgic view of the rapid evolution of technology, animation, education and computer graphics.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast264_EJHassenfratz.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 5:24pm PDT
Mon, 10 February 2020
"Deepfake" videos have become hugely popular online — for better or worse. This AI-powered technology results in hilarious celebrity head swaps but, as Jordan Peele demonstrated with his manipulation of Barack Obama's speech, they could play a more disturbing role in online misinformation. Computer vision scientist Wael AbdAlmageed's mission is to develop tools that can quickly detect deepfakes with a good degree of accuracy.
As digital human experts, both Chris and Wael took part in a SAG-AFTRA panel at CES and recorded this podcast afterwards. Wael explains some of the telltale signs that you’re watching a deepfake video and the approaches computer algorithms use to detect them. He also tackles digital de-aging in movies such as The Irishman and the ethics of facial manipulation. This is a fascinating look at a fight against a technology that is improving day by day.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast263_Wael_AbdAlmageed.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:46am PDT
Mon, 3 February 2020
Originally, Olcun Tan wanted to be a car designer — but seeing Jurassic Park ignited a passion for VFX. Today, he runs Gradient Effects, a global studio that has provided effects for Game of Thrones, Watchmen and Stranger Things. Olcun’s career has been defined by finding his own solutions to problems — whether it’s creating procedural effects in Maya, using forbidden programming languages at animation studios or setting up his own businesses.
Olcun also breaks down some of the innovative work he’s done on a variety of projects, such as crumbling statues in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and crashing helicopters in Black Hawk Down, to more recent projects, including digitally de-aging John Goodman for TV series The Righteous Gemstones with his own Shapeshifter software. You’ll find out his role in digitally slimming Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant, as well as tips for starting and locating your own business.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast262_OlcunTan.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:21am PDT
Mon, 27 January 2020
It’s been five years since VR director Justin Denton last joined Chris on the CG Garage Podcast, and in that time he has truly pushed the boundaries of the medium. He’s produced jaw-dropping tie-in experiences for Ghost in the Shell, Mr. Robot and Legion. And he’s indulged his passion for Dickens’ A Christmas Carol via Chained: A Victorian Nightmare, which uses techniques from games and immersive theater to deliver a unique, personalized experience.
Justin is an authority on how the VR industry has shifted and settled, and its uses as a tool and a medium. Meanwhile, in his new role as Staff Director at Blur Studio, he’s taking VR techniques into filmmaking with his exhilarating PUBG trailer. He also details his contribution to DD and Time Magazine’s project, The March, which takes participants into a VR recreation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic rally.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast261_JustinDenton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am PDT
Mon, 20 January 2020
This week’s podcast is something a little different — the first-ever CG Garage podcast “takeover.” Helming the mic are three talented, funny and smart employees of cutting edge experience studio, Magnopus. Between them, Sally Slade, Kat Harris and Emily Van Belleghem have sent Hololenses to the International Space Station, filed patents, started non-profit organizations and pioneered software development.
Over two and a half hours the trio (plus moderator Chris, and Bella, the dog) discuss the incredible projects they’ve worked on in the past and dream ideas for the future, the enormous benefits of having a diverse team, Hollywood attitudes to minorities and on-screen hacking — and lots more. Listen to find out why we need more male voice assistants, the dangers of mansplaining to pro devs — and how to help Mark Zuckerburg stir dragon vomit live on stage.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast260_MagnopusTakeOver.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:15am PDT
Mon, 13 January 2020
Andrea Blasich’s love of sculpting began on the beaches of southern Italy and it’s taken him all the way to Hollywood, where his talents have been put to use on movies including Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Brave and Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. In this podcast, recorded at THU, he explains why time-honored techniques are still relevant in digital pipelines.
Andrea sheds light on his working process, which involves using clay in combination with 3D scanners and 3D printers to create and modify his work. He offers his thoughts on ZBrush and VR sculpting tools, talks about his experiences working on games such as The Witness and BioShock 2, and details the complexities of sculpting lips, kilts — and Mickey Mouse.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast259_AndreaBlasich.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:36am PDT
Mon, 6 January 2020
Much has changed in the three years since director Tim Miller recorded a the 100th episode of the CG Garage podcast. After the runaway success of Deadpool, he returned to the big screen with Terminator: Dark Fate. At the same time, his Heavy Metal-inspired anthology series Love, Death & Robots busted boundaries via Netflix.
In this podcast, he reveals the pressure of directing the $200-million-budget Terminator: Dark Fate, the storytelling and technical decisions behind that beach scene — and why he wound up hugging two audience members. In contrast, he talks about creative freedom and collaboration he enjoyed for Love, Death & Robots and offers some sneak peeks for season 2.
Regular listeners will be pleased to hear that Hollywood stardom hasn’t gone to Tim’s head, and this podcast offers a truly fascinating insight into the movie industry.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast258_TimMiller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am PDT