Mon, 18 December 2023
Faruk Heplevent has spent his career perfecting the art of car photography. His experience in traditional photography transferred smoothly into CGI, and he set up his company, The Scope, to create breathtaking renders for the world’s biggest car companies. Now, he’s released Scope City, a groundbreaking tool that empowers car manufacturers and CG artists to create and customize the perfect urban backdrops for digital vehicles.
Faruk discusses his career and how the industry has changed from the days of shooting on film. He also talks about how gaming technology has influenced Scope City and its potential to go beyond the world of automobiles. This podcast is the perfect listen for when you’re trying to get that hubcap reflection just right.
Mon, 11 December 2023
SideFX President and CEO Kim Davidson has been a luminary of the computer graphics industry since the 1980s. In this podcast, Kim delves into his history, recounting his early days with the PRISMS procedural graphics application and the subsequent development of Houdini, SideFX’s popular and Oscar-winning 3D animation software, which has delivered astounding visuals for everything from Jingle All the Way to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Kim also shares his own journey in the industry, highlighting how his passions for art and science converged in the burgeoning world of CG. He reflects on the evolution of software and the industry over the past three decades, revealing how SideFX’s agile development and open approach to software standards, such as USD, have benefitted VFX artists and studios.
Mon, 4 December 2023
Meet the legend behind some of the movie industry’s most iconic creatures: Joe Letteri. From Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs to Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Avatar’s Na’vi, and the Planet of the Apes’ simian stars, Joe has constantly pushed VFX boundaries and technology to deliver utterly believable CG characters.
In this info-packed Q&A, Joe talks about everything from how he created his very first VFX shot for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country to the cutting-edge technology that helped him bag an Oscar for Avatar: The Way of Water, and the new AI, rendering, and depth-compositing tools that could get him another statuette. Joe also discusses where he finds inspiration and reveals his passion for fractal computer graphics and astrophotography.
Mon, 27 November 2023
The universal language of cinema has proved a constant in Pixar director Peter Sohn’s life, and with Elemental, he used it to tell a story close to his heart. Born in New York City to Korean parents, Peter’s mother fell in love with the visual storytelling of Disney movies. He then carved out a career in animation, starting with The Iron Giant and moving to Pixar for moves including Finding Nemo and Up, and making his directorial debut with The Good Dinosaur.
In this podcast, recorded at the View Conference, Peter discusses how his life experiences contributed to Elemental and helped inform creative decisions. He delves into the technical aspects of the movie, revealing how machine learning helped solve some of the surprising complexities of fire and water characters. It’s a moving episode, and one that affirms cinema as a powerful tool to express and share human emotions.
Mon, 20 November 2023
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse left some big spider-boots to fill — but director Joaquim Dos Santos was clearly the man to fill them. With Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the director expanded the Spider-Verse in new and unexpected directions while, crucially, staying true to the first film’s tender and nuanced approach to character and story.
Joaquim reveals how his early obsessions with VHS and comic books led to his first break in storyboarding with Starship Troopers: Roughnecks, through to helming a golden era of US animation, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Voltron: Legendary Defender. He discusses where he finds inspiration as a filmmaker, talks about the differences between working in TV and film animation, and gives his thoughts on entertaining a new generation.
Mon, 13 November 2023
As Illumination Studios' duck tale Migration prepares to take flight on the big screen, Chris had a conversation with its director, Benjamin Renner, at the VIEW Conference in Italy. Benjamin turned his passion for drawing into a career in animation via Macromedia Director and rose to prominence as co-director of the Academy Award-nominated animated movie Ernest & Celestine.
In this podcast, Benjamin offers a candid and insightful look into the process of crafting a 3D animated film in Hollywood, contrasting it with his experiences in 2D animation in France. He opens up about times when he’s felt nervous, and he reveals some surprising misconceptions about Hollywood movies. Benjamin is warm and honest, and his experiences will ring true with any creative spirit.
Mon, 6 November 2023
Michał Misiński’s name may be familiar to regular listeners — this CG artist turned director helped previous podcast guest Ash Thorp create his Ghost in the Shell homage “Project 2501.” Michał is also a partner at Polish visual effects VFX studio Juice, directing videos for Porsche, Honda, Skoda, Dolby, and more.
Recently, Michał brought his talent and passion together for a music video that ties in with sci-fi RPG Cyberpunk 2077’s Phantom Liberty expansion. Michał tells Chris about the process of shooting the music video, revealing how the team seamlessly blended CG and live-action, and made a physical actress look just like an in-game character. Michał also discusses the effects of big changes in the VFX and gaming industries.
Mon, 30 October 2023
Over the past 30 years, Kyle Balda has risen from humble animator to co-director of beloved kids’ movies Minions: The Rise of Gru and Despicable Me 3. Beginning in animation for films including Mars Attacks, The Mask, and Toy Story 2, Kyle met director Pierre Coffin in Europe and helped create the animated series Pat & Stan, which would build the foundations for the Minions’ lovable antics.
In this illuminating podcast, Kyle shares the essential lessons he learned as an animator and his path to the director’s chair. He reveals the organic process of creating a Minions movie, from the initial concept with the writer to the collaborative addition of ideas as more people get involved. Kyle also gives a positive perspective on AI and its role in CG movies, and he shares his thoughts on how animation has evolved from a genre to a medium.
Mon, 23 October 2023
Ryan Woodward began his career in traditional animation for movies, including cult classics The Iron Giant and Space Jam, before becoming a storyboard artist on Spider-Man 2, Iron Man 2, and Avengers Assemble, and creating the stirring short, “Thought of You.” Today, he’s pursuing many avenues for his creative powers.
In this podcast, recorded at THU in Japan, he talks about how he’s found happiness after some perilous life moments. He also dives deep into story, and how his understanding of metaphysics and neuroscience led to a breakthrough that can avoid formulaic Hollywood tales. Anyone with a creative streak will recognize Ryan’s career path, and his advice on how to navigate it is invaluable.
Sun, 15 October 2023
Murai Sadayuki is the writer behind some of the most astonishing and groundbreaking anime films of all time, including the Hitchcockian Perfect Blue, Otomo’s Akira follow-up Steamboy, and the reality-blurring Millennium Actress. But he’s not done yet: he continues to write for TV series, including Knights of Sidonia, Godzilla, and Sabikui Bisco.
Conducted at THU via a translator, this podcast sees Chris discover the world of Japanese animated movie-making and storytelling. Murai explains the importance of Godzilla, Ultraman, Akira, and WWII in Japanese culture. He also discusses the back-and-forth between Western and Japanese movie-making, and gives us his thoughts on what it means to be a creative person today.
Tue, 10 October 2023
What can today’s artists and storytellers learn from an ancient Japanese method? In this podcast, Chris is joined by Google brand expert Cláudia Cristovão, who practices Kintsugi, the art of taking old ceramics and repairing them with gold-infused sap that grows stronger with time.
Building on her presentation at the THU festival in Kaga, Japan, Cláudia explains how Kintsugi’s restorative, meditative process can apply to art and even people themselves. Claudia brings a refreshing perspective on creativity to the podcast, and she also reveals how upcoming artists can build their own brands.
Mon, 2 October 2023
Amy Aniobi is a whirlwind of inspiration, smart advice, and creative energy. As a young girl, she was inspired by Frasier and Boy Meets World to become a writer. After graduating from Stanford University, she entered the industry and worked her way up to becoming head writer, executive producer, and director of HBO’s Insecure. In addition, she co-hosts The Antidote podcast and has movie projects coming up with Fox and Universal.
Recorded at THU in Japan, Amy talks about getting ahead in the industry and how she honed her creative skills and found her voice. She also shares how she’s helping fellow Black writers make a name for themselves, gives her thoughts on AI as a writing tool, and reveals why Barbie and Oppenheimer are bringing authorship back to the big screen.
Mon, 25 September 2023
Kevin Reste is a font of knowledge for companies looking to improve their creative initiatives and campaigns. Beginning his career with mocap for the Rock Band video games, Kevin’s natural people skills and technical confidence have helped him secure work for companies including NBC Sports, Sony Music Entertainment, and WWE, as well as giant financial and pharmaceutical corporations.
Chris catches up with fellow THU attendee Kevin, talks about his career so far, and offers some tips on getting ahead in the creative industry and staying on top of technological trends. Kevin also gives some invaluable insights into how AI is affecting the industry for newcomers, established artists, and big tech companies.
Mon, 11 September 2023
Jonathan Rothbart’s illustrious career in VFX includes credits on everything from Men In Black to Superman Returns and The Predator. He was a founding member of John Knoll’s Rebel Mac Unit at ILM, he established The Orphanage, where he delivered the HUD shots for Iron Man, and then became a sought-after VFX supervisor for movies including Deadpool and John Wick: Chapter 4.
In this in-depth podcast, Jonathan tells Chris some of the amazing stories from his big-screen adventures, including how adding a small addition to a Star Wars Episode I starfighter got him in big trouble, how he got through one of Hellboy’s trickiest shots, and how After Earth’s production took him on helicopter rides and mountainous hikes.
Tue, 5 September 2023
Ted Lasso became a surprise hit for Apple TV+, blending comedy and drama in just the right way — and it contained a surprising amount of invisible VFX, from set extensions to turning local soccer pitches into international stadiums, complete with cheering crowds.
In this podcast, Chris meets James MacLachlan, the VFX supervisor behind the show. James talks about how his love for bringing stories to life has powered his career and whisked him from New Zealand to London. He gives some inspirational career advice and goes into enthusiastic detail on how the team crafted the detailed world of Ted Lasso.
Mon, 28 August 2023
Andrew MacDonald’s adventurous career packs as many twists and turns as a Hollywood movie. Coming from humble origins in the north of England, Andrew moved to London’s Soho district to begin his career in optical effects, before getting into VFX and being lured to Hollywood to work for big VFX companies, including Digital Domain and Method.
In this rollercoaster of a podcast, Andrew talks about the ups and downs of his life and the ebbs and flows of the VFX industry. He shares stories of working with directors including Tony Kaye, Terry Gilliam, and David Lynch, speaks about how taking risks — including sneaking into a Welsh party — led to career success, and ultimately reveals how he’s found contentment and happiness.
Mon, 21 August 2023
Apple TV+ miniseries Five Days at Memorial shines a light on a disturbing true story of a New Orleans hospital flooded during Hurricane Katrina. In this podcast, the show’s VFX supervisors — returning guest Eric Durst and newbie Matt Whelan — reveal how they recreated New Orleans circa 2005 and added invisible effects that would earn the show an Emmy nomination.
Eric and Matt talk about how they worked with the show’s practical team to build versatile sets that would seamlessly integrate with CG, and discuss how Google Earth helped them rebuild and reflood New Orleans. They also give an on-set perspective on how AI is changing the industry.
Mon, 14 August 2023
What if the 1969 moon landing catastrophically failed? That’s the question artist Halsey Burgund poses with his “Moon Disaster” project, which makes use of AI technology to envision then-president Richard Nixon delivering an alternative speech to be used in the case of emergency.
In doing so, Halsey draws attention to the fact that such a speech existed and was never broadcast, as well as the ways in which modern technology can fool viewers. Halsey sheds light on the video and audio technology used for this alternative take on history, talks about how he combines tech and art for his audio installations and reveals what he’s got coming up.
Mon, 7 August 2023
Recorded at a high-tech facility in Chaos’ plush new offices in Sofia, Bulgaria, this week’s episode checks in with Vladimir “Vlado” Koylazov, Chaos’ co-founder. Chris discovers more about Vlado’s new role as head of innovation, and how the company is embracing recent technological developments to make it easy and efficient for customers to stage and render scenes.
Vlado also shares his thoughts on how artificial intelligence is changing the way software works, as well as how it’s helping his team code. You’ll learn about interesting uses for NeRFs and camera tracking, the benefits of having a personal assistant, and some of the exciting new things coming up from Chaos.
Mon, 31 July 2023
Much has changed since Chaos launched Project Lavina in 2020. Remote working has become the norm, real-time workflows have become increasingly prevalent, and GPU power has accelerated. In response, Lavina has evolved into Chaos Vantage, a real-time ray-traced rendering engine tailored to the needs of today’s VFX and arch viz artists.
Simeon Balabanov, Chaos Vantage’s product manager, talks through what makes the engine different from other real-time rendering solutions and dives into current rendering techniques at the same time. Simeon also reveals what’s new in Chaos Vantage 2, including the surprising use cases that have shaped its features, and he offers a sneak peek into what’s coming up for this groundbreaking software.
Mon, 24 July 2023
Hanno Basse has been a guiding hand behind the scenes of the modern entertainment experience. At 20th Century Fox, he pushed HDR into the movie experience at home and in theaters, and he helped the entertainment industry adopt cloud computing via his role at Microsoft Azure. Today, Hanno is bringing his expertise to Digital Domain, where he serves as CTO.
In this podcast, Hanno reveals how advances in machine learning have taken DD’s famous digital humans from the Avengers’ Thanos to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s protagonist and added realism to the video game The Quarry. Hanno also discusses how real-time technology is improving the entire production process and gives his thoughts on the future of VFX.
Mon, 17 July 2023
Terrence Masson’s students are probably the luckiest on the planet. The computer arts lecturer draws on 30 years of experience in the industry, from working on innovative movies including True Lies and Interview with the Vampire, helping create South Park’s progenitor in CG, and retooling the original Star Wars trilogy for its 1997 reissue.
In this podcast, Terrence talks through some highlights of his career, including how he flew the Millennium Falcon and killed Boba Fett for Star Wars, and how he was called on to review UFO footage for Ancient Aliens. He also talks about his gaming and archviz experiences, and shares some interesting perspectives on AI in education.
Sun, 9 July 2023
Michelle Munson’s passion for internet technology took her from streaming video over LAN to founding data transfer company Aspera. Now, she’s launched Eluvio, a Web3-based content distribution system that makes it easier and cheaper for producers to share media while giving consumers fair access to a high-quality product with added extras.
Michelle discusses Eluvio’s partnership with Warner Bros, and its first content: Superman and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring. Michelle also busts some of the myths around NFTs and blockchain technology, and talks about how the Eluvio Content Fabric Protocol could be adopted by streaming platforms, indie producers, and live events in the future.
Mon, 3 July 2023
After being inspired by Star Wars to pursue a career in entertainment law, Joshua Lastine helped with clearances on everything from American Idol to The Man in the High Castle to Midway to the Hulkbuster armor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and weapons for TV series Echo 3. Today, Joshua runs Lastine Entertainment Law, which drafts bespoke agreements for everything from YouTube videos to big-budget movies, and he teaches law at Los Angeles Film School.
In this podcast, Joshua covers all the hot topics in the film and TV industry, including AI, the causes of the writers’ strike, digital celebrities, and the effects of streaming media. Joshua offers an informed perspective on where the industry is going, details the strengths and weaknesses of artificial intelligence, and explains how copyright law applies to everything from code to works of art.
Mon, 26 June 2023
Marc Simonetti’s dreamy visual style has made him a big name in sci-fi and fantasy art — but what does this mean in the age of AI? In this podcast, Marc tells Chris how it feels to have your name used as an AI art prompt some 400,000 times, and what it’s like to see your name attached to artwork that isn’t yours.
But it’s not all bad — Marc delves into the advantages of AI art and how it might put the concept back into concept art, and offers positive advice for budding artists who are about to embark on art courses. He also talks about his fascinating career, which has seen him rub shoulders with George RR Martin, and he discusses his work on movies including Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and the upcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel.
Tue, 20 June 2023
Hailing from Detroit, Linden Vennard began his career in visualizing vehicles (of course!). Having established pipelines that turned raw CAD data into sumptuous CG images, Linden became a core part of Speedshape, the VFX studio that specialized in creating visuals for automotive companies. After Speedshape closed, Linden traveled to Asia and Africa before returning to the US to become a freelance CG generalist.
Linden talks about his early inspirations to pursue a career in VFX, how he got started in automotive visualization, and how he worked with budding Hollywood director Joseph Kosinski to bring his “Blackbird” commercial to life. Linden also talks about his explorations in Midjourney AI imagery, where he’s created over 10,000 images.
Mon, 12 June 2023
Here's a masterclass on rising to the top of VFX supervision. Inspired by classic 80s movies, Sean Faden began his career in practical effects for Starship Troopers and The Fifth Element, helped sink Titanic, and became VFX supervisor on movies including A Nightmare on Elm Street and A Good Day to Die Hard. Then he switched to studio-side VFX supervision for Power Rangers and Mulan, the latter of which earned him a VFX Academy Award nomination.
Sean reflects on his career and regales Chris with stories about the early days of visual effects. He also highlights the importance of traveling and immersing yourself in new cultures, goes into detail on how Moon Knight turned Budapest into Cairo, and talks a little about his upcoming projects, The Last Voyage of Demeter and Family Leave.
Mon, 5 June 2023
If recruiters are the unsung heroes of the VFX industry, Stan Szymanski is Superman. This huge film fan began in graphic design and post-production but quickly worked up the ladder into recruitment, via movies including Virtuosity, Independence Day, Starship Troopers, and Hollow Man.
Today, Stan’s company, Stanleyvision, has become a go-to source for the perfect talent for companies including Crafty Apes, MPC, The Mill, and Method, as well as PlayStation, MSG Sphere Studios, and TurboSquid. Stan reveals what it takes to be a recruiter in the VFX world, from maintaining up-to-date expertise on new technology to understanding how people will fit in at certain companies. If you’re job hunting or headhunting, it’s worth staying with the podcast to the end, where Stan gives crucial advice on how to market yourself in the VFX industry.
Tue, 30 May 2023
Jeff Barnes’ career has taken him from two Amigas and a VHS deck to the world’s most cutting-edge digital display screens. After discovering a love for post-production, Jeff co-founded CafeFX in the early-90s and created VFX for over 90 movies including Flubber, Armageddon, Panic Room, Pan’s Labyrinth, Sin City, The Mist, and Alice in Wonderland. Jeff then oversaw DD’s 3D pipeline and consulted in the industry before moving to the innovative lightfield company Lytro, where he produced the world’s first 2k light field short.
In this podcast, Jeff reminisces about the early days of CafeFX, revealing how the company demonstrated its abilities via a Rocketeer laserdisc, reveals the pros and cons of being based in Santa Maria, and talks about meeting directors including John Hughes, Robert Rodriguez, and Guillermo del Toro. Jeff also discusses his current work at the Light Field Lab, in which he shares one of the company’s goals to make immersive Star Trek Holodeck-style experiences a reality.
Mon, 22 May 2023
If digital humans are evolving, Isaac Bratzel is the scientist altering their DNA. Beginning his career as a character artist (because it represented the biggest challenge), Isaac helped create Amelia, a conversational AI with a digital human face, and then went on to establish virtual social media phenomenon Lil Miquela.
Today, Isaac is bringing his expertise in AI and digital humans together in AvatarOS, the company he founded to create digital humans with personalities. In this podcast, Isaac reveals how he overcame some of the technical challenges of creating digital humans that work across the platforms of tomorrow and reveals his ultimate goal for the company.
Mon, 15 May 2023
For the past 30 years, Digital Domain has been ahead of the CG curve, delivering everything from True Lies’ CG jet to The Last of Us’ desolate landscapes. But what does the future hold for this innovative VFX studio? This week, Lala Gavgavian, the president and COO of DD, explains how it's charting a course through the waters of new technology.
Lala talks about how Digital Domain has branched out beyond blockbuster VFX and is now taking on gaming projects and medical imaging. She also talks about how AI and machine learning have been changing things behind the scenes at Digital Domain and how the technology behind its Digi Doug and Digi Zoe projects is helping create the perfect digital double.
Mon, 8 May 2023
Could Macroverse change the way creative content is created and consumed? In this podcast, Chris is joined by Adam Martin, an assistant director who has worked on productions including Transformers, Dave, and Barry. After growing frustrated with the Hollywood system, Adam co-founded Macroverse to give writers and artists a platform to share their stories and visions.
Adam gives a full overview of Macroverse and what makes it work, explaining how its Tap Story system enriches comic stories and gives them a cinematic flair, and covering how this democratized web 3.0 platform gives everyone a chance to tell their story and adds a level of transparency to funding and payments.
Mon, 1 May 2023
We want some of Chris Browne’s energy. This multiskilled VFX supervisor, currently working at Sony Pictures Animation, has helped bring animated series to life, including The Fast and Furious Spy Racers, Kung Fu Panda, and Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. At the same time, he’s devoted his spare time to his own award-winning short films, beginning with “Gibb” at university, alien sci-fi “Beating the Abductors,” and now “Pleroma,” which examines themes of AI versus humanity.
Chris breaks down what it was like to work on “Pleroma” during the pandemic, talks about shooting in a dangerous particle accelerator facility, and shares how he single-handedly created 200-plus visual effects shots and built robots for the short. He also reveals his big plans for the future of “Pleroma,” as well as discussing what’s coming up in the world of animation.
Mon, 24 April 2023
With John Wick: Chapter 4, the sleeper franchise reaches a violent crescendo, peppering the rogue assassin’s globe-trotting bone-crunching fights with jaw-dropping plot twists. This week, the film’s Production VFX Supervisor Janelle Croshaw Ralla, and Prep and On-Set VFX Supervisor Johnathan Rothbart join Chris for a spoiler-free discussion of the movie.
Janelle and Jonathan talk about working with director Chad Stahelski, who takes a meticulous, frame-by-frame approach to filmmaking and prefers to work in camera and on location over bluescreen or virtual production sets. They reveal the feats of stamina and endurance performed by star Keanu Reeves, share how to hit someone with a car or set them on fire without hurting him, and discuss the creative decisions behind the film’s incredible 1,500 invisible VFX shots.
Mon, 17 April 2023
Over the course of his career, Sean Looper has gone from humble beginnings as an architectural draftsman to chief technology officer at VFX studio Crafty Apes. Along the way, the pipelines he’s built have provided seamless effects for movies including Zathura: A Space Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Edge of Tomorrow.
In this podcast, Sean talks about his career and reveals a natural inclination toward the technical nuts and bolts that help a VFX pipeline run smoothly. He shares some of the important lessons he’s learned from being in the industry and gives his thoughts on how machine learning, cloud, and gaming technology will reshape the way movies are made.
Mon, 10 April 2023
This week, Chris takes a trip to Pandora to delve into the design of Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron’s latest jaw-dropping cinematic epic. His guide is Ben Procter, the super-talented production designer who specializes in creating vehicles and environments for Avatar antagonists the RDA — to the extent that he thinks of himself as the “bad guy” of the art department.
Ben goes into a fascinating deep-dive into the design and construction of the S-76 SeaDragon, the formidable whaling ship that becomes the setting for the film’s final act. Ben talks about how the design process works between the writers, other artists, VFX studios, and James Cameron himself. Ben also gives his thoughts on artificial intelligence and how it’s going to change a generation.
Mon, 3 April 2023
Inspired by scary movies to pursue a career in the film industry, Molly Pabian has worked her way up to head of studio at VFX company Crafty Apes. Along the way, she’s worked on over 100 movies and TV shows, including Avatar, Real Steel, Star Trek: Picard, The Last of Us, 1923, John Wick: Chapter 4, and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Molly talks about her roles and responsibilities as she’s risen up the ranks. She also discusses the differences between working at big and small companies on 2D and 3D shots, how the bidding and budgeting processes work, and the effects of the pandemic and AI on the VFX industry. If you’re about to start in VFX, this podcast is an essential primer on its inner workings.
Mon, 27 March 2023
Almost every major recent and upcoming film and TV series has had THE THIRD FLOOR involved in the visualization stage — and beyond. Recent productions include Avatar: The Way of Water, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and The Mandalorian season 3.
This week, Co-founder and CEO of THE THIRD FLOOR, Chris Edwards, reflects on his 20-plus years of experience in the VFX industry. He also discusses how crucial visualization has become in the movie-making process and reveals how his colleagues Casey Schatz and Ryan Champney developed the Eyeline system, which enabled Avatar actors to convincingly interact with one another even if their performances were separated by time and space. This episode is an unprecedented insight into what goes on behind the scenes of movies — and you’ll even learn how THE THIRD FLOOR got its name.
Mon, 20 March 2023
Philipp Wolf has always had a passion for storytelling. He began his career in journalism, then helped shape stories for the reality TV show Big Brother before moving into visual effects production on movies and TV series, including Game of Thrones, Ghost in the Shell, and The Predator. Today, Philipp works at DNEG in Montreal, where his credits include Dune, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Altered Carbon, and The Battle at Lake Changjin.
As well as discussing his incredible career, Philipp details his role in the RealTime Society and how he’s helping the industry tap into more diverse pools of talent. He also talks about the effects of the pandemic on the industry, and he offers some interesting thoughts on virtual production, AI, and what’s needed to take the metaverse to the next level.
Mon, 13 March 2023
The Martini Giant is back! It’s been almost five years since Chris and fellow VFX artists and frequent CG Garage guests Daniel Thron and Erick Schiele created the Martini Giant podcast to indulge in their love of all things cinematic and argue about Star Wars. This week, Dan and Erick return to their roots and talk about what they’ve been up to since they last visited the CG Garage.
Which turns out to be a lot of stuff! Dan is back in the videogames industry, while Erick is using AI to help realize his childhood experiences with rock star Alice Cooper. Both discuss their experiences with AI and share thoughts on how it’s changing the industry, but also reveal how important it is to keep doing the things you love. As ever, this is a hugely entertaining discussion, and it’s great to hear Dan and Erick’s voices again.
Mon, 6 March 2023
James Blevins has been involved in pretty much every step of the filmmaking process, from driving vehicles to virtual production. Films he’s contributed to include Waterworld, Armageddon, Pleasantville, and, most impressive of all, Space Jam. He’s also worked at some of Hollywood’s biggest studios, including Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and LucasFilm for virtual production on The Mandalorian.
In this podcast, James delves into some funny stories from behind the scenes of movies, including Crimson Tide, Armageddon, and Pleasantville. He also gives an interesting perspective on the emergence of AI and talks about MESH, the virtual production consultancy company he set up. He also goes into detail about the Hollywood Professional Association and its Tech Retreat — which is where Chris recorded this podcast.
Mon, 27 February 2023
Andrew Schmied has established himself as an authority on all things related to computer graphics. He’s helped companies, including Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft, explore technology and drive innovation. He’s also a counselor and AI special interest group leader for the RealTime Society, which hosts a community and conference dedicated to the future of CG.
In this conversation with Chris, Andrew shares his expertise on artificial intelligence, which is dramatically changing the world of computer graphics and beyond. Andrew reveals how AI works and what we need to do to make it fairer for artists whose work it may be taking influence from. He also answers some of the more ethical questions surrounding AI, such as whether we can trust it and if it’s safe enough to drive our cars.
Tue, 21 February 2023
Becoming VFX supervisor on HBO’s The Last of Us has fulfilled a lifelong dream for movie and game fan Alex Wang. In this podcast, Alex tells Chris about his journey to this hugely prestigious position via his work on movies including The Day After Tomorrow, Sin City, Tron: Legacy, Deadpool, Fast & Furious 8, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Dominion, and Terminator: Dark Fate.
Alex also shares some of the key lessons he’s learned throughout his career, including whether it’s better to work on animation or VFX, how working in-house compares to being employed by a studio, and the benefits of technical versus artistic knowledge. Chris and Alex also discuss the growing prevalence of AI in the VFX industry.
Mon, 13 February 2023
Much has changed since Mike Seymour last guested on the CG Garage podcast almost six years ago. Not only has the VFX sage and digital humans expert become Dr. Mike, thanks to his doctorate from the University of Sydney, but the entire industry is facing a seismic shift thanks to neural networks and artificial intelligence.
Or is it? In this podcast, Chris and Mike consider the idea that the latest changes in VFX, art, and technology could just be the next step in a continuous evolutionary process. Mike also talks about his work on The Champion, a Netflix film that used neural rendering to seamlessly put English words in the mouths of Polish actors, which sparks a related conversation about the relationship between technology and acting.
Mon, 6 February 2023
Jonathan Egstad knows Nuke like few others. He started working with the compositing software at Digital Domain, where he developed a 3D subsystem and bagged an Academy Award, before moving to the pioneering animation studio Image Movers. Subsequently, he joined Dreamworks Animation (formerly PDI) to help integrate Nuke into its compositing pipeline.
In this podcast, Jonathan demonstrates the rare combination of artistic and technical talents that have made him one of the most respected names in the CG industry. He discusses his first jobs at DD on Apollo 13, how the company upgraded Nuke to handle Titanic’s epic shots, and he reminisces with Chris about faking ray tracing for I, Robot. He wraps up with details on his new role at Foundry and what’s in store for Nuke.
Mon, 30 January 2023
Meats Meier is a unique combination of artist and technical director. Not only does he create incredible biomechanical pieces with ZBrush, but he’s also advanced VFX via projects including Hellboy and The Day After Tomorrow. More recently, Meats has art-directed virtual production for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
In this balanced conversation, recorded in person at Meats’ Yucca Valley residence, the artist discusses his background in computer graphics and then delves into some of the questions rapid advances in AI art pose: Is it ethical? Will it steal artists’ jobs? And what does it mean for the future?
Mon, 23 January 2023
Chris has interviewed many VFX supervisors and directors on the podcast, but it’s rare to meet someone who does both. Not only does Yuval Levy direct (and creative direct) commercials for the likes of BMW, Ford, and Microsoft, but he’s also VFX supervised a wide variety of Hollywood films, including The Adjustment Bureau, Smile, and Tower Heist.
Yuval and Chris dive deep into the world of car commercials, discussing the benefits of shooting in the real world versus using CG. You’ll learn what makes Nascar vehicles unusual, the secrets of Emily Blunt’s dancing in The Adjustment Bureau, plus what a U-Crane is (and was). Yuval finishes with a little insight on upcoming movies Beau is Afraid and The Nickel Boys, plus his thoughts on advances in AI.
Tue, 17 January 2023
Andrew Bardusk is a humble legend of the VFX industry. He started as a dustbuster on movies, then moved to compositing for Medium and Once Upon a Time and effects supervision on Arrow. Today, Andrew serves as visual effects supervisor on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Andrew talks about how streaming services have revolutionized Zoic’s wheelhouse of episodic work and how demands for 4K HDR content have made small-screen effects more cinematic. Andrew also discusses working from home and going on-set, and he breaks down creating an octopus attack for Legends of Tomorrow.
Mon, 9 January 2023
Digital humans are back on the podcast! This week, Chris is joined by (real humans) Culley Bunker and Richard Kidd, a pair of VFX veterans who have given stars the beauty treatment and worked on dozens of movies. They’re part of the team that formed Prototype, a new company that specializes in creating digital humans, using machine learning to perfect them for cutting-edge projects.
Chris, Culley, and Richard discuss the latest in digital humans, including advancements in facial capture, avoiding the uncanny valley, and how digidoubles can be used for everything from entertainment (such as Abba’s Voyage show) to personal assistants. It’s still a hugely exciting and innovative field within VFX, and we can’t wait to see what Prototype comes up with.
Tue, 3 January 2023
2023 gets off to a flying start with this podcast guest: Evan Jacobs, who has become a critical part of Marvel Studios’ VFX pipeline. Before joining Marvel, Evan created miniature submarines for The Hunt for Red October, herded digital cockroaches in Silent Hill, extended sets for Olympus has Fallen, and converted Alice in Wonderland and Conan the Barbarian to 3D.
Evan talks about creating visual effects on low budgets and how he found his niche role at Marvel. He discusses the advantages of working with HDR technology, what makes some films suitable for stereoscopic conversion, whether 3D is still important to global audiences, and taking notes from Sam Raimi on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.