Interviews that focus on the CG creative in visual effects, architecture and beyond. Christopher Nichols of Chaos sits down with directors, artists, photographers and developers for candid discussions on technology and art, all with a focus on computer graphics. Visit chaosgroup.com/cg-garage for more information and an archive of past shows.

CGarchitect has become a massive part of the global archviz community. The all-in-one site incorporates LinkedIn-style job listings, the latest industry insights, and a super-smart AI-powered gallery that curates impressive renders from thousands of submissions. And now, CGarchitect has become part of the Chaos family.

In this podcast, Chris is joined by CGarchitect founder Jeff Mottle as he prepares to pass the mantle of running the site to Chaos’ Director of Creative and Communications, Lon Grohs. Jeff goes into detail on why he founded the site, how it works, and the exciting next steps for his career, while Lon talks about the future of CGarchitect, what it means for its community, and its first major change: to a completely free model for all users.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast377_CGArchitect.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 8:10am PDT

Darin Grant is back! And a lot has changed in the three years since the Animal Logic group chief technology officer and general VFX genius last recorded with Chris. As always, Darin offers expert industry insight into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on working from home, cloud computing, and how digital content is created and consumed.

Darin also details his role as director of the Electronic Theater at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference. You’ll learn about some of the stunning and deeply moving entries in the computer graphics showcase, plus what physical and virtual attendees can expect. Listen to find out Darin’s interesting idea for blockchains, and to find out how Animal Logic is refocusing its VFX work on animation via movies including Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Super Pets.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast376_DarinGrant.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:15am PDT

Is Huxley the new Star Wars? This week, Chris chats to Ben Mauro, the film and game concept artist who single-handedly created Huxley, a comic book set in a richly detailed post-apocalyptic sci-fi universe. Thanks to the power of NFTs, Huxley has evolved beyond the pages of a graphic novel into something far bigger, with a film from Marvel producer Avi Arad in the works, plus trading cards, a potential TV series, and much more. 

Ben talks about the incredible journey of Huxley, from how he found motivation and inspiration to single-handedly create the comic book, to how NFTs have empowered him to focus on the project, to its exciting future. Ben also shares his savvy knowledge of how NFTs work and gives his thoughts on how big media franchises are cashing in on their astonishing rise, as well as explaining how to avoid rugpulls.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast375_BenMauro.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 8:38am PDT

Joining Chris for this week’s podcast is Matteo Santoro, an energetic, enthusiastic, and versatile filmmaker who might just be revolutionizing the way movies are made. After graduating from art college, Matteo created opening titles and VFX for film including The Incredible Hulk, Aliens vs Predator - Requiem, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. At the same time, he created his own sci-fi IPs, including the short film Offline and the feature Higher Power.

Now, Matteo is working on SIFT, an ambitious sci-fi feature film constructed through NFTs, allowing fans to own parts of the movie and even shape its direction. Matteo discusses SIFT’s richly detailed world and how he built a practical robot to inhabit it. He also talks about The Sunflower Kid, a series of NFTs that aim to raise money for charity and promote world peace.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast374_MatteoSantoro.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 9:06am PDT

Judith Crow has seen both sides of the effects industry. After developing an enthusiasm for coding, she worked her way into Digital Domain, where she pioneered visual effects for Interview with the Vampire, Apollo 13, Titanic, and Fight Club. Then, she switched sides and took on a role with Houdini developer SideFX.

In this podcast, Judith talks about everything from her early days in community arts curation to how she got her foot in the door at Digital Domain and created visual effects for major Hollywood movies. She also discusses Houdini’s meteoric rise from particle-specialist to do-it-all VFX software, revealing some of its more interesting use-cases and plans for its future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast373_JudithCrow.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:42am PDT

This week’s podcast guest, Barbara Ford Grant, is particularly inspirational. Barbara’s pursuit of fine art led her into VFX, where she worked her way through companies including DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Domain, Walt Disney Studios, and immersive art platform Meow Wolf. She carved an enviable career path during this time, from digital artist to chief technology officer.

Today, Barbara is president of Prysm Stages, a state-of-the-art virtual production facility, and she’s just become the first female chair of the Sci-Tech Oscar Awards Committee. In this podcast, she details her career and how she’s continually pushed VFX technology and pipelines forward. She also reveals why HBO’s content is so good, what exactly Meow Wolf does, and the changes needed for women to thrive in the VFX industry.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast372_BarbaraFordGrant.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:57am PDT

Founded by Christoph Bolten in 2007, Recom Farmhouse has become a go-to studio for automotive and product shots. The London-based studio has provided head-turning CG and retouched imagery for companies including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, while indulging in off-beat passion projects such as a moon motorcycle and an update of Back to the Future’s Delorean.

Christoph and managing director Richard Levene recount their adventures in photography, from Christoph traveling the world and getting paid a fortune with a leading photographer, to Richard’s disastrous early shoots. They also shed light on their creative processes and how they’re adapting to a new age of cinemagraphs, and reveal what not to wear on shoots and how to photograph cars.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast371_RecomFarmhouse.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:34am PDT

After being inspired by Star Wars to pursue a career in VFX, Andrew Orloff became a technical director on South Park and worked on Joss Whedon’s (un)holy trinity of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. After founding Zoic Studios, he’s gone on to serve as VFX supervisor and creative director on some of TV’s biggest shows, including Once Upon a Time, The 100, Fringe, and For All Mankind.

In this podcast, Andrew talks Chris through the evolution of VFX technology and techniques, from huge Silicone Graphics workstations and renting blade servers to the latest real-time technology for pre-viz and VFX and cloud rendering. You’ll find out how tax incentives work when most of your team works from home, how he collaborates with creatives on big shows — and he answers the burning question of whether working on streaming series is more like TV or film.

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and Chaos is highlighting some of the upcoming graduates of Exceptional Minds, an academy and studio for neurodiverse young adults. This week, we have Andrew Rosengard, who will be graduating with an emphasis in VFX. You can check out his work on Creatively.


To learn more about Exceptional Minds, visit exceptional-minds.org, or find them on social.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast370_AndrewOrloff.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:45am PDT

Richard Scott has been rocking the world of CG for more than 30 years. He began his career in graphic design, moved into 3D for broadcast and commercials, and then got involved with cutscenes for the games industry. He founded Axis Studios in 2000, and it’s steadily grown to a team of 400 people working on VFX and animation for movies, TV, games, and theme parks.

Richard discusses his history in CG, from Quantel paintboxes and Lightwave to modern workflows. He also talks about his involvement in the Scottish animation scene, Axis’ “The Tall Grass” segment of Love, Death and Robots, and its upcoming animated feature film — which employed an animation supervisor based in Australia.

April is Autism Acceptance Month, and Chaos is highlighting some of the upcoming graduates of Exceptional Minds. This week, we have Mina McCauley, who will be graduating with an emphasis in VFX. You can check out her work on Creatively.To learn more about Exceptional Minds, visit exceptional-minds.org or find them on social.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast369_RichardScott.mp3
Category:animation -- posted at: 4:14pm PDT

A lot has changed for Sonja Christoph since she last guested on the podcast back in 2019. A significant birthday prompted the talented CG generalist and matte painter to go freelance and start teaching her skills. At the same time, she’s working with her husband on a new mobile game — which has the potential to branch out into other mediums such as animation and graphic novels.

Sonja discusses the ins and outs of going freelance and working on her own IP, including how she’s learning new programming languages, completing paperwork to start her own business, and using tools to create content and capture motion. If you’re thinking about joining the great resignation and doing your own thing, this podcast is a great place to start.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast368_SonjaChristoph.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:23am PDT

Jill Smolin has seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Early computer graphics techniques on Amiga computers. CG breakthroughs at Digital Domain. Mind-blowing stereoscopy techniques in filmmaking and the advent of ultra-high-definition streamed content. All these memories will be discussed in this podcast.

Jill also talks about her background in theater and how a Canadian CG character drew her into the world of VFX, where she worked and taught Gnomon, Cinesite, Digital Domain. Jill also became important behind-the-scenes as a volunteer at SIGGRAPH, bringing in top Hollywood talent to discuss how they advanced VFX.

It’s a touching podcast in which Jill demonstrates an in-depth technical knowledge coupled with a genuine fondness for the many people with whom she’s worked.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast367_JillSmolin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:45am PDT

KitBash3D has become massive. What started as an easy way to provide concept artists with ready-made 3D assets has become an essential resource for movies and video games. KitBash3D now contains 10,000 assets in 75 kits, ranging from real-world locales to sci-fi cities, fantasy worlds, and gravity-defying spaceships. It’s even been named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative gaming companies in 2022, alongside Microsoft, Roblox, and Epic Games.

In this podcast, KitBash3D founders Maxx Burman and Banks Boutté discuss their company's phenomenal success. They talk about the challenges of managing their growing collection of assets and reveal how they dream up and create the next kit. They also discuss their software's vital role in the metaverse and give some hints about big upcoming news for KitBash3D.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast366_Kitbash3D.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:14am PDT

Stine Sørensen and Jonas Ussing have got your VFX needs covered. With a background in animation, Stine is able to create and rig characters, while Jonas can handle the 3D pipeline. They’ve worked on everything from award-winning games to Hollywood movies to frenetic videogame trailers. But, they also happen to be a husband-and-wife team with two children.

In this podcast, Stine and Jonas — aka Space Office VFX — talk about how The Little Mermaid and The Empire Strikes Back inspired their careers and the differences between movies made in their native Denmark and the USA. They also delve into how a fast internet connection and Chaos Cloud have made it possible for them to work with freelancers from a rural location in Denmark.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast365_SpaceOfficeVFX.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:56pm PDT

This week, Zap Andersson returns to the CG Garage podcast — and he’s brought a whole new theme tune with him. Nestled among Klein bottles, Nixie tubes, and Kung Fury posters, Zap reveals his latest passion: streaming live music sessions on Twitch, and tells Chris how it’s given him a new approach to the creative process.

Zap also delves into new open-source standards in computer graphics, such as OSL, USD, and Material X, and details the methodology behind his advanced wood shader. It’s great to catch up with Zap and hear his tales of surviving COVID-19, as well as some of the workarounds he and Chris made in the world of pre-raytraced VFX.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast364_ZapAndersson.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 8:33am PDT

Aliens and The Terminator inspired Mariana Acuña Acosta to get into movie-making — and now, she’s on the cutting edge of new production methods. After working on movies including The Day After Tomorrow, Planet Terror, and Green Lantern, Mariana joined Foundry’s Media and Production department. She then founded JoltVR to create virtual reality experiences, and Glassbox Technologies, which specializes in the unique toolset used for virtual production.

Mariana talks Chris through the past, present, and future of filmmaking, from rubbing shoulders with stunt people on-set through to the enticing promise of creating movies within the metaverse. She dives into the Glassbox’s Dragonfly virtual camera, which enables directors to explore sets and shoot films in virtual environments. She also offers her thoughts on how gaming companies are changing the movie-making process.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast363_MarianaAcuna.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:15am PDT

Volume capture is fast becoming one of the easiest and most practical ways to transform real people into digital assets. Pioneering this new field is Metastage, a company that captures performers on a state-of-the-art stage and then turns them into 3D content that you can play back as AR and VR experiences on even the most humble hardware.

Joining Chris this week is Christina Heller, Metastage’s CEO. After working in media production, Christina co-founded VR Playhouse to deliver stunning immersive content and then took her expertise to Metastage. She tells Chris about the process of volume capture and its incredible advantages, including how it was put to use on a convention-defying commercial featuring Charli XCX.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast362_ChristinaHeller.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:25pm PDT

Katrina Salicrup’s story packs as many twists and revelations as a finely crafted thriller. After studying art, she worked as a Flame artist for companies including Method Studios, The Mission Studio, and Wieden + Kennedy. Following the birth of her daughter, her life took an unexpected turn, and she began writing as a hobby — which has grown into an award-winning podcast.

A natural storyteller, Katrina tells Chris about her make-or-break move to LA, some of the amusing shots she helped fix, and how she learned the tricks of the trade. She also details her new adventures in fiction, from early storytelling advice to going to the recording studio. You’ll find out what makes a Flame artist different from a compositor and why podcasts are the new movies.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast361_KatrinaSalicrup.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am PDT

2022 began with exciting news: Chaos is merging with Enscape. Referred to as a slam-dunk for both companies, the business move will combine Chaos’ award-winning photorealistic ray tracing expertise with Enscape’s flourishing knowledge of real-time rendering. But what will it mean for the companies, their software, and their customers?

In this extra-special podcast, host Chris Nichols joins Chaos CEO Peter Mitev, Chaos CTO Vlado Koylazov, and Enscape CEO Christian Lang, to answer burning questions about the merger. The trio explains how they see the future of visualization, and how a combination of real-time and ray-traced rendering could blur the lines between arch-viz and VFX, reach a broader audience — and even power the metaverse

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast360_ChaosEnscape.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 1:44pm PDT

Peter Baustaedter’s Hollywood career is an adventure worthy of a movie. After cracking the demoscene in Austria, he took a chance and wrote to Digital Domain — only for them to offer him a job. From here, he worked on a string of movies with groundbreaking VFX: Apollo 13, Dante’s Peak, The Fifth Element, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Sin City, King Kong, and Avatar.

In this extraordinary episode, Peter explains the minor role Arnold Schwarzenegger played in his career, discusses the dangerous world of practical effects in the mid-90s, and reveals why the power kept tripping at Square Pictures’ Hawaiian production facility. Peter also talks about stepping up to become a visual effects art director and shares tidbits on using Unreal Engine to produce a major upcoming TV series from Amazon Studios.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast359_PeterBaustaedter.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:14am PDT

By day, Raf Grassetti works at Sony Computer Entertainment’s Santa Monica Studio, where he art directs the God of War games. But there’s more to Raf than epic videogames: he’s also carved a successful path in the world of NFTs, with his hyperreal sculpts becoming hot virtual commodities.

Raf talks about his NFT artwork and how he’s tailored pieces — such as his Crypto History sculpts of Elon Musk, Snoop “Doge” Dogg, and Beeple — to attract the crypto audience. Raf also reveals his approach to marketing and building a community eager for his next release. It’s a fascinating conversation that helps unravel and explain the keys to success in the world of NFTs.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast358_RafGrassetti.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 9:48am PDT

Mallory Yund always knew she wanted to work in the entertainment industry — and now she’s a post-producer on some of the biggest shows in the world. Beginning in Kansas, she moved to LA, where she slept on a couch (for three years!), worked in restaurants, and became an extra. After PAing on feature films, she worked her way into post-production, where her organizational skills and technical know-how helped her become a producer.

Today, Mallory’s credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm, Silicon Valley, Cobra Kai, and many more shows and movies. She tells her fascinating story, including how a major natural disaster indirectly changed her career path. Mallory also reveals her favorite parts of being a producer and sheds light on the rapid evolution of the technology behind TV series.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast357_MalloryYund.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:13am PDT

In this episode, we get a deep dive into the efficiencies of Goodbye Kansas’ pipeline, and how they grew their team from 4 to 12 TDs. Dan and Erik discuss how they started using V-Ray for Houdini, Solaris, and Hydra. They explain how USD is not just a new file format, but a complete change in the way people think about pipelines.

We get into a lot of technical details about the advantages of USD, including how it can carry a lot of different data including lighting and shading. We also discuss how today, pipelines are more interested in using and supporting open-source initiatives compared to how they used to have to write their own proprietary solutions.

It is a very technical discussion, but also a great way to kick off 2022 as we consider the future of the VFX pipeline.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast356_GoodbyeKansas.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:40pm PDT

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