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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast419_ChrisEdwards_02.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:41am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast418_PhilippWolf.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:40am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast416_JamesBlevins.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:19am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast414_AlexWang.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:50am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast413_MikeSeymour.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:45am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast412_JonathanEgstad.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:06am PDT
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?
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast411_MeatsMeier.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:32am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast410_YuvalLevy.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:06am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast409_AndrewBardusk.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:21am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast408_Prototype.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:12am PDT
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast407_EvanJacobs.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:58am PDT
Mon, 21 November 2022
Crafty Apes’ Sean M. Ritchie and Chris Cook have seen changes in the VFX industry first-hand. The CG Supervisors both began their careers in architectural visualization before moving into VFX for movies and TV including The Walking Dead, Gravity, Once Upon a Time, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, and Dune.
Now, Sean and Chris work at Crafty Apes, the prolific VFX studio that’s delivered effects for Spirited, The Orville, Star Trek: Discovery, and many more. Sean and Chris shed light on what separates Crafty Apes from other effects houses, the effects of the pandemic and streaming on the industry, and how they nurture young talent. They also discuss the pros and cons of new technology such as real-time engines and AI-driven art generators.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast402_CraftyApes_02.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:13am PDT
Mon, 7 November 2022
Break out the Martini, the CG Garage Podcast is 400 episodes old! To celebrate its quatercentenary, Chris has attracted a very special guest star: director Scott Leberecht, whose new documentary, Jurassic Punk, explores the impact VFX pioneer Steve Williams had on the movie industry via films including The Abyss, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, and Spawn.
In doing so, Scott sheds light on the turbulent history of VFX, including how studios present themselves and their work, the knock-on effect of Jurassic Park on movies, and how Williams’ creative genius and outspoken personality caused friction with the corporate world.
What’s impressive is that even after 400 episodes, Chris is still uncovering fascinating new stories and exciting perspectives on VFX — and there are sure to be plenty more.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast400_ScottLeberecht.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:24am PDT
Mon, 31 October 2022
Could Muse’s “You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween” become the soundtrack for the spooky season? The legendary rock band’s song is packed with references to classic horror tales, and the music video brings the lyrics to life (or should that be death?) with a spooktacular trip into a deeply haunted house.
In this podcast the video’s director, Tom Teller discusses the creative process behind the promo, from collaborating with the band and coming up with ideas, to its final execution with V-Ray rendering. Tom also talks about founding his company, Frame 48, finding clients, AI and art, and his exciting upcoming projects with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast399_TomTeller.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:34am PDT
Mon, 3 October 2022
Taking part in a CG Garage podcast has been on Oliver Markowski’s bucket list for some time — and with good reason. The self-proclaimed VFX geek has a lot to talk about in this lively and honest conversation with Chris, from his work on movies including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Spectre, and Black Panther, to how new file formats and pipelines are making it easy for vendors to collaborate on visual effects.
Oliver reminisces about his early days in computing and VFX, when 3D Studio came on 40 floppy disks and you needed a whole book to learn how to use it. He also discusses the pros and cons of a career in VFX, from SIGGRAPH 2007’s infamous Autodesk party to the importance of taking occasional breaks. Finally, Oliver discusses the incredible neural rendering technology he’s looking forward to.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast395_OliverMarkowski.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:53am PDT
Mon, 19 September 2022
An epic career deserves an epic podcast. During Garman Herigstad's 35-year journey in CG, the Houdini wizard has traveled to over 30 countries and worked on everything from real estate commercials in Bangkok to Disney videogames and Hollywood movies. At the same time, he’s taught at prestigious institutions, including Savannah College of Art and Design and Gnomon, and he even completed his most recent degree in his 60s.
Garman recounts his humble beginnings in greetings cards, through to economic highs and lows in Asia. He talks about his VFX work, including researching global weather patterns for a time-lapse sequence in The Time Machine, immersing George Clooney in Houdini-generated water for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and working on Black Adam. Garman also shares valuable lessons on managing time and the importance of keeping notes. The episode ends with a particularly touching story of what inspired 52½ Feet, his autobiographical screenplay.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast393_GarmanHarigstad.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:13am PDT
Mon, 29 August 2022
VFX supervising Stranger Things is the latest in a series of remarkable achievements for Justin Mitchell. After trying his hand at acting and lighting, Justin moved into animation and VFX, scoring credits on Charmed and Final Destination 2. In 2008, Justin joined Scanline VFX, where he’s worked on a succession of incredible projects, including 2012, Super 8, Iron Man 3, Tomb Raider, Cosmos, and The Nevers.
Justin talks about how he’s seen the industry shift since he started working in it, with Scanline expanding from 10 to 1,300 people, and the emergence of streaming platforms, virtual production, and artificial intelligence. He also reveals how he’s learned to lead a team and explains how he uses Scanline’s proprietary software to create and revise shots according to directors’ wishes.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast390_JustinMitchell.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:35am PDT
Mon, 15 August 2022
Isaac Irvin’s incredible VFX industry adventures have taken him across countries and over oceans. From enthusiastic beginnings at Texan TV stations, he moved to Scotland to work on TV series and game cinematics, before returning to the States to flit between studios including Digital Domain, Method, Marauder, and Psyop on projects such as Speed Racer, Iron Man 3, Robocop, and more.
Today, Isaac has taken his big-screen VFX experience to the fast-paced, tech-heavy world of commercials. He talks about evolving from the limitations of software in the early days of VFX, to Real Steel’s perfect pipeline, up to the seemingly limitless possibilities of real-time rendering. He also talks about a nerve-wracking meeting at DD, and how he joined a particular VFX house at exactly the wrong time. Isaac is open and funny, and it’s clear that he’s lost none of his initial enthusiasm for all things VFX.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast388_IsaacIrvin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:56am PDT
Mon, 1 August 2022
Sean Devereaux has fulfilled his childhood dream of making movies, and he started and sold a software company along the way. After being inspired by a viewing of The Wizard of Oz, Sean got a break at Digital Domain thanks to fellow alumni Jonathan Egstad. After working on movies including How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Vanilla Sky, he returned to Boston to found Zero VFX, which has created shots for American Hustle, The Equalizer, and Patriots Day.
Sean also discovered the financial and practical benefits of cloud computing, leading to the development of Zync, which was subsequently bought by Google. Sean reflects on his incredible career with contagious enthusiasm and a knack for storytelling. He recounts some great stories involving directors Peter Berg and Antoine Fuqua, and reveals how his work ethic helped him get hired by Digital Domain. He also reveals some of the important life lessons he’s learned, from how to balance creativity and finances, to how to deal with directors.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast386_SeanDevereaux.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:44am PDT
Mon, 25 July 2022
After getting on-set experience for a Canadian TV series, Mathew Giampa picked up compositing roles on White Noise 2, Sucker Punch, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Green Lantern, and more. He then moved up to progressively more challenging VFX supervision work on The Joker (yes, there were visual effects in that movie!), Black Widow, The Suicide Squad, and the Cowboy Bebop TV series.
Mathew talks about the joy of invisible VFX, moving between studios and countries to further his career, and some of the incredible projects he’s worked on. He also dispels some of the myths about the importance of color accuracy and security when working on Hollywood productions, and offers a compositor’s perspective on virtual production and real-time.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast385_MatthewGiampa.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:31pm PDT
Mon, 11 July 2022
Thinking about starting your own VFX company? This week’s podcast guest, Marc Morissette, has done just that. After gaining experience and friendships at Digital Domain on projects including Peter Pan and Ghost Racer, Marc returned to his native Canada to form his own studio, Cluster. The company has taken on a variety of CG work, from a VR version of the Universal Studios globe for The Mummy to product shots and digital de-aging.
Marc explains the reasons behind starting Cluster and his vision for the company. He also talks about how the VFX industry changed when multiple vendors started working on the same shows, and the effects of the pandemic on smaller studios. Finally, Marc discusses how real-time technology will transform the future of filmmaking, and its advantages for smaller studios.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast383_MarcMorissette.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:31am PDT
Mon, 27 June 2022
Eddie Smith is a MacGyver of the VFX industry. Over his career, he’s figured out how to unveil the president as the bad guy for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, explode characters into cubes for Tron: Legacy, destroy planets in Ender’s Game, all the way up to some spoiler-ific effects for Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Eddie’s weapon of choice for VFX is Houdini, SideFX’s versatile node-based effects software. Eddie breaks down some of his favorite work and reveals how he’s often charged with figuring out the best way to tackle complex scenes. He also talks about how effects software has changed in his 14 years at Digital Domain, and the future for the industrious effects studio.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast381_EddieSmith.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:57pm PDT
Mon, 25 April 2022
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
Mon, 11 April 2022
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.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast370_AndrewOrloff.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:45am PDT
Mon, 21 March 2022
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
Mon, 7 March 2022
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
Tue, 22 February 2022
Episode 363 - Mariana Acuña Acosta — Senior Vice President, Global Virtual Production and On-Set Services, Technicolor
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
Mon, 24 January 2022
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
Mon, 3 January 2022
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
Mon, 13 December 2021
This week, Chris meets Nathan Millsap, a humble but hugely enthusiastic CG generalist. Nathan’s career began as a “render monkey” for Chris at Sway, and since then he’s gone on to work at 19 effects studios on movies including 2012, Avatar, and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Today, Nathan is working on TV series for prestigious LA studio, GhostVFX.
In this podcast, Nathan talks through his life and career so far, from how Toy Story inspired him to pursue VFX, to his early days at Sway, moving to Singapore to fix shots on Transformers: Age of Extinction, and then returning to LA to raise his family. He gives his thoughts on why TV is taking over from theaters, talks about his favorite projects, and shares tales of working with directors including Roland Emmerich and Joe Kosinski.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast354_NathanMillsap.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:07pm PDT
Mon, 6 December 2021
Jelmer Boskma is livin’ the VFX dream. Originally hailing from the Netherlands, he moved to Vancouver to go to film school and became interested in character modeling. Jelmer then picked up work as a modeler on movies including Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and District 9. With Tron: Legacy, he became a matte painter, then moved up to art direction on Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and VFX supervision on Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Eternals.
Jelmer tells Chris about his career highlights, from early encouragement from practical effects wizard Rick Baker to working alongside directors including Robert Rodriguez and Tim Burton. He also talks about how love blossomed in the VFX industry, discusses the pros and cons of working remotely, and shares some of the important life lessons he’s learned.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast353_JelmerBoskma.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:56am PDT
Mon, 8 November 2021
Kofi Opoku-Ansah and Daniel Mark Miller have both found interesting routes to becoming successful VFX artists. Kofi was inspired by Final Fantasy to pursue a career in gaming, but working at The Mill ignited his passion for VFX. Daniel, meanwhile, toyed with becoming an editor before getting into compositing via the advertising industry.
Together, Kofi and Daniel host The VFX Artists Podcast, which uses their wide range of industry contacts to record engaging, funny, and advice-packed podcasts. In this conversation with Chris, they give lots of valuable ideas about starting in VFX and how the industry works. Kofi also reveals how his three-year-old inspired him to set up the podcast, while Daniel details “Broken Toy,” his Black Mirror-esque short film.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast349_TheVFXArtistsPodcast.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:23am PDT
Mon, 25 October 2021
Steve Griffith’s impressive IMDb page includes The Matrix sequels, Captain America: The First Avenger, Ant-Man, the Watchmen TV series, Jungle Cruise, and many more blockbusters. Over the course of 20 years, he’s gone from intern to VP of Production at Legend, taking in stints at major VFX studios including Rodeo FX, MPC, Luma Pictures, Atomic Fiction, and Digital Domain.
In this podcast, Chris and Steve reminisce about some of the projects they worked on together, including I, Robot and Stealth, before tackling the current state of the visual effects industry. They track the evolution of virtual production from Gravity and Oblivion to Murder on the Orient Express and The Mandalorian and discuss how real-time and AI are changing the way studios
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast347_SteveGriffith.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:31am PDT
Mon, 18 October 2021
Jack Evans’ illustrious VFX career has taken him to some of the biggest studios in LA and Vancouver, including Digital Domain, ILM, Disney, and Image Engine Design. His impressive roster of credits includes lighting on Speed Racer, TRON: Legacy, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fast & Furious 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Mandalorian, and Aquaman.
In this entertaining podcast, Jack talks about his career so far, from his early days of creating TV graphics with Photoshop and 3ds Max to learning Nuke, V-Ray, and Gaffer. He also discusses working from home in the pandemic, goes into depth on shots for TRON: Legacy and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and gives insight into different cultures at visual effects houses.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast346_JackEvans.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:23am PDT
Mon, 11 October 2021
V-Ray won an Emmy! And joining Chris this week is Craig Weiss, a committee member on the board for the Engineering Emmy Awards. Craig explains how Chaos’ rendering engine has changed the way TV VFX are made and why the board chose it to win this prestigious award.
Craig also delves into his role as CBS VFX’s executive creative director, from his humble beginnings in stop-motion animation to the high-resolution, cinema-quality CG home audiences have come to expect. It’s a fascinating journey into the past, present, and future of the technology that helps bring stories to life.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast345_CraigWeiss.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:47am PDT
Mon, 20 September 2021
Real-time CG is quickly taking over the film industry — but learning about its virtual cameras, lenses, and sets can be tricky. Tackling this is “Becoming a CG Pro,” an online virtual production course aimed at filmmakers and CG artists hosted by Edward Dawson-Taylor and Jacqueline Cooper, a pair of VFX industry pros with credits on Jurassic World, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King.
In this podcast, Edd and (returning guest) Jackie talk to Chris about what he learned through taking the course, and how virtual filmmaking brings back on-set collaboration and puts CG tools in the hands of traditional filmmakers. They also discuss the history of filmmaking, from Eadweard Muybridge to The Matrix, and the applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the real world.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast342_EddAndJackie.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:11am PDT
Tue, 7 September 2021
Ruairidh “Roo” MacNeill’s love for 3D modeling began with sandcastles in Lightwave—and now, he’s working in London on blockbusters including Thor: Ragnarok, Alita: Battle Angel, and Wonder Woman 1984. In this podcast, Roo brings fresh insight into the trends reshaping the way VFX are produced, with procedural tools such as Houdini removing the industry’s reliance on hard-surface modelers.
Roo gives some candid tips about working in VFX, including his thoughts on getting a VFX-related degree, the importance of attending dailies, and why he’s on a race to the bottom of Rotten Tomatoes scores. He also dives into why he loves Modo—and talks about taking a rabbit across European borders.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast341_RuairidhMacNeill.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:04pm PDT
Mon, 23 August 2021
Liz Montes bumped into someone at an LA party—and landed a job at Digital Domain. Here, she worked alongside Chris on movies including Real Steel and Oblivion. Then she moved to visualization specialist The Third Floor, where she worked as a production manager and producer on blockbusters including Edge of Tomorrow, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Avengers: Endgame.
In this podcast, Liz talks about how The Third Floor’s expertise in previs has made it a perfect fit for the emerging world of virtual production. She delves into how The Mandalorian’s immersive set, Volume, helped the cast and crew create incredible worlds in real-time. She also discusses The Third Floor’s work on Loki, how gaming graduates are taking over VFX, and how working from home has changed the industry.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast339_LizMontes.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:53am PDT
Mon, 16 August 2021
Chris Harvey’s brief encounters in biology and theater set him up perfectly for a thriving career in VFX. After taking an animation course, he went on to work on movies such as Chappie, TRON: Legacy, and Zero Dark Thirty. Then, he helped Neill Blomkamp launch independent production company Oats Studios and now he works as a freelance VFX supervisor.
In this podcast, Chris talks about striking a balance between working hard and raising a family. He shares the lessons he learned from working at the ahead-of-its-time Oats Studios, covers how easy it is to tighten pipelines and make filmmaking more efficient—and reveals why Neill Blomkamp’s new production house is called Stability.
You’ll also find out about Chris’ upcoming sci-fi film projects, including Neill Blomkamp’s Demonic, and 65, from the team behind A Quiet Place.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast338_ChrisHarvey.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:02am PDT
Tue, 6 July 2021
After making stop-motion videos as a kid and studying furniture design, Ross Denner found his way into VFX via stints at Bermuda Shorts and The Mill. He then moved from London to Los Angeles to work for MPC and now lives in New York, where he helped set up boutique studio ArtJail.
Ross talks about how SideFX’s versatile Houdini software is usurping Maya in traditional pipelines and empowering smaller VFX houses. He also gives invaluable advice on getting hired by VFX studios and what to do when you start, and he and Chris talk about working with dyslexia.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast333_RossDenner.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:54am PDT
Tue, 1 June 2021
Originally hailing from Russia, Dmitry Vinnik's love for CG computer game cutscenes inspired him to learn 3D Studio and study at Vancouver Film School. He’s gone on to work on VFX projects big and small, including Battlestar Galactica, Tron: Legacy, Final Destination 5, and Game of Thrones.
Throughout his career, Dmitry has embraced technology and encouraged studios to use V-Ray—with spectacular results. This podcast serves as a deep dive into the past, present, and future of rendering technology, covering everything from 286s in the mid-90s to the versatile, superpowered hardware that powers today's CGI.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast328_DmitryVinnik.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:49am PDT
Mon, 12 April 2021
This week’s podcast tells the fascinating story of Doug Wilkinson, who worked with Chris on Tron: Legacy and is now head of CG at global creative company Buck. Inspired by Jurassic Park, Doug helped create cutscenes for video games before moving from Boston to LA to join effects companies including Digital Domain, Sway and Buck.
Doug recounts his numerous adventures in visual effects, including creating a David Fincher-directed Heineken ad starring Brad Pitt, working with Joe Kosinski on car commercials, and his latest work, including Apple’s “Share Your Gifts” spot. Doug also shares his thoughts on the CG industry's future, talks about how Buck balances creative freedom with technical innovation and reveals surprising connections to Chris’ friends and co-workers.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast322_DougWilkinson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:28am PDT
Tue, 6 April 2021
Over the past 15 years, Matan Abel has worked on lots of cutting-edge VFX projects, including the game Call of Duty, numerous car commercials and movies such as 2012, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last Airbender, Red Tails and Fast & Furious 5. Now, Matan’s getting into real-time via John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum’s virtual pre-production and The Mandalorian’s virtual sets.
In this podcast, Matan tells former boss Chris how his laid-back approach and honesty have helped his career trajectory. He talks about how he loves lighting tail lights despite knowing nothing about cars; overcoming cultural, linguistic and time barriers when he worked in China; and the practical and financial reasons behind the rise of real-time in movies.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast321_MatanAbel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:48am PDT
Mon, 22 March 2021
Joining Chris for this week’s podcast are old pals and seasoned professionals Leighton Greer and Paul Ghezzo. Having met Chris at VFX studio Sway, Leighton and Paul have worked for Rhythm and Hues, Zoic and Scanline. Today, they’ve been reunited at Technicolor, which produces visual effects alongside traditional post-production fixes for shows including Star Trek: Picard, Westworld, Snowfall and Bridgerton.
Leighton, Paul and Chris reminisce about work they’ve done in the past, including Scion ads for demanding directors and the physics of power sliding minivans. More importantly, the trio shares the important lessons they’ve learned from one another. Leighton and Paul also discuss some of their upcoming projects, including Firefly Lane, Reservation Dogs and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as well as Technicolor’s acquisition by the increasingly large Streamland Media.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast319_TechnicolorPost.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:26pm PDT
Tue, 16 February 2021
Christian Debney’s incredible career began awesomely and has only become more awesome: his first job was building lightsaber props for Star Wars: Episodes I and II. After learning 3D for his own short films, he created VFX for Farscape, directed music videos, made animations for the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, set up a VFX firm and second-unit-directed little-known but much-loved Australian comedy Swinging Safari. Phew!
Now, Christian is putting his 20-plus years of experience in the movie industry to good use as VFX supervisor on sci-fi thriller Ascendant and as director of three films (one in VR) and a documentary. In this podcast, Christian talks about his career so far and shares tips and anecdotes about how he’s learned to create great work within budgetary and time constraints.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast314_ChristianDebney.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:41am PDT
Mon, 1 February 2021
Over the past 30 years, Habib Zargarpour has helped create some of the most innovative and iconic VFX shots in cinema and pioneered virtual production. Beginning with The Mask’s eye-popping protagonist, Habib went on to instigate Twister and The Perfect Storm’s freak weather conditions, race pods for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and use game-engine technology to build The Jungle Book and Blade Runner 2049’s captivating worlds.
Today, Habib works as head of film development at Digital Monarch Media, a division of Unity Technologies. He deep-dives into how he helped director Denis Villeneuve and DoP Roger Deakins explore LA 2049’s wastelands, and details the physics of pod racers. For VFX fans, this podcast is a treat from start to finish.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast312_HabibZargarpour.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:11am 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, 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, 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
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, 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, 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.
CTA: Experience tomorrow’s technology today with a 30-day V-Ray for Unreal trial.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast266_JuanGomez.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:28pm 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, 7 October 2019
Despite an original desire to be an architect, Arutyun Artur “Art” Sayan has pursued a career in VFX — and the industry’s all the better for it. Art has contributed incredible work to movies including Oblivion, Tomorrowland, as well as the TV series Supergirl and Love, Death and Robots.
In this podcast, Art talks about some of the shots he’s helped create — including a complex 417-frame, all-CG drone sequence for Oblivion (with Chris), a sci-fi cityscape for Tomorrowland and a 10-square-mile urban environment for Supergirl. Art discusses how he organizes his work on these epic shots and how he collaborates with other people.
Art is a humble and laid-back guest, and he offers some great tips on how to balance working on complex, stressful projects with looking after yourself.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast245_ArtSayan.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:53am PDT
Mon, 9 September 2019
This week’s podcast features a true pioneer of modern cinema: Robert Legato. He’s worked with directors such as Martin Scorsese, Neil Jordan and John Favreau as a second unit director and VFX supervisor, but he’s also helped bring traditional techniques and technology into CG filmmaking. Crucially, he did it in a way that directors and cinematographers can understand, and his hard work has been rewarded with Oscar wins for Titanic, Hugo and The Jungle Book.
Robert also has a wealth of on-set experience, and he tells Chris about everything from shooting miniatures at his house for Star Trek: The Next Generation to helping renowned cinematographer Caleb Deschanel lens the all-CG world of The Lion King. He reveals the qualities you need to be a good director, how to shoot and edit to evoke styles and emotions — and the difference garlic can make to a film shoot.
Rob is a humble, professional character who is happy to talk about his flaws and how overcoming them has benefited the industry. It’s pretty much a complete film school degree delivered in 76-minutes.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast241_RobLegato.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:58am PDT
Mon, 19 August 2019
If you listen to fxguide’s VFXShow podcasts you’ll recognize Matt Wallin’s voice — and now, you can hear his story.
Recorded at SIGGRAPH, this podcast Matt reveals how Star Wars inspired him to pursue a career in the movies and why his first VFX job involved driving a backhoe. He talks about his work on films including The American President, The Matrix sequels and King Kong, as well as his collaborations with artist Matthew Barney on The Cremaster Cycle and Drawing Restraint 9.
Today, Matt teaches his trade as Associate Professor of Communication Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University, and he tells Chris about the vast differences between frantic production schedules and the more sedate pace of academia.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast238_MattWallin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:35pm PDT
Mon, 5 August 2019
Last month, Andre Cantarel’s CG model of the White House caught the attention of the CG industry thanks to its meticulous attention to detail. In this podcast, Andre tells Chris how this passion project came to fruition, the secrets he discovered in researching the building and what he plans to do with the construction.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast236_AndreCantarel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:41am PDT
Mon, 3 June 2019
A lot has changed since Darin Grant last appeared on the CG Garage podcast back in September 2016. The VFX industry has overcome its cloud-computing fears and embraced it wholesale, making it faster and cheaper to create imagery for Hollywood movies. Darin, meanwhile, left Solid Angle to consult for various companies and is now CTO for creative digital studio Animal Logic, the company behind The Lego Movie 2, The Matrix and Happy Feet.
In this podcast, Darin offers an overview of the recent history and near future of CG, including why acquisitions of small companies by big ones aren’t necessarily bad, and the pros and cons of software subscription models. He also talks about his ongoing work for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and ACM SIGGRAPH.
Few people have such comprehensive knowledge and foresight of the VFX industry as Darin, making this vital listening for everyone from junior VFX artists to head honchos at major studios.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast227_DarinGrant.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 2:52pm PDT
Mon, 6 May 2019
Game of Thrones’ opening credits sequence has become one of the most iconic in the history of TV. Every week, millions of people around the world have their appetites whetted and spines tingled by the famous theme music and an exploration of an animated 3D map of Westeros, complete with the themes and locations of the forthcoming episode.
In this (spoiler-free!) podcast, Art Director and Head of 3D Kirk Shintani offers a complete breakdown how Elastic crafted this incredible intro, from the trial-by-fire process of the first season to the darker, edgier and more detailed version for the final series — and a special edition made from Oreos. Kirk discusses the fascinating technical aspects of shooting an animated digital miniature with virtual cameras, some of its clever design choices, as well as the crucial roles V-Ray and Chaos Group’s support have played in bringing the sequences to life.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast223_KirkShintani.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:32am PDT
Mon, 8 April 2019
Through his globe-trotting career, softly-spoken Cris Blyth has helped give the world Worms, flashed James Cameron and jumpstarted Kenya’s visual effects industry. In this frequently hilarious podcast, he tells Chris his fascinating story.
After spending his childhood programming Commodore computers, and a surprisingly fruitful excursion to the Philippines, Cris worked on then-cutting-edge FMV sequences for games such as Alien Breed: Tower Assault and Worms at developer Team 17. He joined Digital Domain as a VFX artist, turning car engines into dogs for the famous Pennzoil ad, and then moved up to become a fully fledged director of commercials and music videos. He also contributed effects to movies including We Were Soldiers, Adaptation and Daredevil.
Cris’s next move was to Africa, to create documentaries on charity work and, in an unconventional sidestep, he’s remained there since. He talks about how Nairobi, Kenya is on the verge of a computing revolution, why the country’s restrictions have created amazing athletes and e-athletes, and the ways in which he’s bringing his Hollywood skills to a new generation of Kenyans.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast219_CrisBlyth.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:53am PDT
Mon, 25 March 2019
As a child, Andy Wilkoff spent his childhood pulling technology apart and reading comic books — and he’s been lucky enough to follow these obsessions into his career. He picked up his first VFX gigs on the TV series Star Trek: Voyager and Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, then worked at Digital Domain on commercials and movies including X-Men; I, Robot; The Day After Tomorrow and Stealth. Now, Andy works as CG Lead and Technical Director at creative visual effects studio A52 in Santa Monica, California.
In this epic G&T-fuelled podcast, Andy talks Chris through his professional career in visual effects, and how it’s been affected by the twists and turns of his personal life. Andy is full of sound industry advice, and you’ll find out why he hung from the side of buildings in New York, the reason he was accosted in a Costco parking lot — and how “the smelly room” got its name. He also talks about his passion for 3D printing and the businesses it’s inspired.
The film and visual effects industries are often characterized by dramatic clashes of enormous egos, but this podcast reveals a tender and more caring side of the silver screen.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast217_AndyWilkoff.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:10am PDT
Mon, 21 January 2019
When Kurt Lawson isn’t assembling effects for some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, he’s in backcountry California creating astonishing long-exposure shots of the natural landscape. In this engaging podcast, he tells Chris how teenage experiments in visual effects and Olympus cameras inspired his successful career and awe-inspiring hobby.
Kurt and Chris reminisce about working together at Digital Domain with director Joe Kosinski on a jaw-dropping effects shot for Oblivion, and Kurt talks about his more recent work on 300: Rise of an Empire and The Spy Who Dumped Me. He also discusses the current state of the visual effects industry in Los Angeles and the work which goes into setting up his photography projects.
Listen to find out how certain VFX artists are presented with pineapples, why rocks in Death Valley seem to have a life of their own, and some of the tricks compositors use to make the audience believe CG is real.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast208_KurtLawson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:14am PDT
Mon, 14 January 2019
From a young age, Joe Farrell knew he was destined for a career in entertainment. After helping interview musical superstars, he ‘tweened for Disney and Warner Brothers animations, moved into commercials at their hedonistic peak, and then traveled to Vancouver and Los Angeles to work as a concept artist, VFX supervisor and compositor on films including Star Trek, The Wolf of Wall Street and Hereafter — the latter of which earned him an Academy Award nomination.
Today, Joe runs Tangerine Apps, an innovative studio which brings his experience into the worlds of AR and VR for experiences based on The Jungle Book, Los Angeles’ Olympic bid and an enticing upcoming opera project.
Joe is a fascinating podcast guest with some funny, insightful stories about the visual effects of Aeon Flux and I, Robot. He also reveals the more rewarding aspects of VR experiences and the advantages of being a small and agile company in Los Angeles.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast207_JoeFarrell.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:17am PDT
Mon, 10 December 2018
Few people have seen the rise of VFX like Kelly Port and Matt Butler. Over the course of 25 years, they’ve risen from digital artists to VFX supervisors at effects powerhouse Digital Domain. The watershed moment for both was their work on Titanic, and they discuss the million-dollar computers used to generate the 2TB of effects in the film.
Of course, software and hardware have moved on a great deal since Jack and Rose's perilous adventure. Kelly talks about the groundbreaking technology and performance capture which made Avengers: Infinity War’s CG supervillain Thanos a reality, and Matt discusses his input on Ender’s Game and Ready Player One. They also muse about what makes Digital Domain a great place to work and their tactics for avoiding conflict and nurturing talent.
Kelly and Matt have great chemistry with one another and Chris, and you’ll hear about their experiences of working with actors Dan Stevens and Josh Brolin, and directors Steven Spielberg and Gavin Hood. Plus, there’s a bonus pearl of wisdom from none other than Ron Howard.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast202_MatthewButler_KellyPort_DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:47am PDT
Mon, 5 November 2018
Recorded at THU, this week’s podcast guest is ILM Animation Director Hal Hickel. Inspired by Star Wars and Ray Harryhausen’s stop-motion work on King Kong, Hal became an animator on hugely successful California Raisins advertisements of the 1980s. Despite initial reservations, Hal switched clay for computers on Pixar’s breakthrough CG movie Toy Story, then moved to ILM for the Star Wars prequels, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Rango.
Thanks to his wealth of experience in character animation, Hal has become an expert on digital humans. He goes into detail on how ILM created a CG Grand Moff Tarkin for Rogue One and explains why, in this case, there were no ethical issues with digitally recreating the late Peter Cushing. He also talks about the tiny tweaks his team made to make the character look as real as possible and the dangers of getting stuck in the swamp of opinions at the bottom of the uncanny valley.
This podcast serves as a concise guide to how digital characters have evolved — and where they’re headed next.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast197_HalHickel_ILM.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:33am PDT
Mon, 15 October 2018
Geoffrey Baumann’s career has propelled him around the world on some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including his most recent role as VFX supervisor on Marvel’s record-breaking Black Panther.
Having spent time in Europe and America as a child, Geoffrey majored in public relations before becoming a PA at Digital Domain. His linguistic skills landed him a job in on-set survey and digital integration for the movie xXx — and he hasn’t stopped working on movies since.
In this podcast, recorded at THU festival, Geoffrey discusses how he’s gone from the bottom to the top of the VFX industry via movies such as The Time Machine, Real Steel, and Iron Man 3. He talks about how he’s seen projects go from film to digital, and from a few hundred effects shots to thousands.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast194_GeoffreyBaumann.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:31am PDT
Mon, 10 September 2018
Our host Chris Nichols is joined by his name twin Chris Nichols from Digital Domain. After reminiscing about working at DD at the same time (and accidently getting each other’s emails and phone calls), they dive into Chris’s role in the look development of Thanos on Avengers: Infinity Wars.
The Chris’ discuss the detail and thought that went into Thanos, and how Chris had to imagine so much of his backstory to add character to his face, skin and even the condition of his hands. At the same time, we find out more about Chris’s own backstory growing up in Perth, Australia, being inspired by the concept art of Lord of the Rings, and finally moving to Vancouver to work on one of the biggest movies of 2018.
Since both Chris’s have a passion for digital humans, they go into a deep discussion on which movies have been able to tackle the Uncanny Valley, leading to some very interesting conclusions along the way.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast189_ChrisNichols-DD.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT
Mon, 20 August 2018
V-Ray for Houdini made a spectacular debut last year — via the music video for Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do. Behind the visual effects of the video — and most of Swift’s promos — is Ingenuity Studios, and its Creative Director Grant Miller.
In this podcast, Grant talks with Lon and Chris about how Ingenuity has embraced V-Ray for Houdini, from its early days as a GitHub project to full commercial software. Grant discusses how it’s streamlined workflows and joined the dots of Ingenuity's pipeline, making it faster and easier to create content.
Grant also goes into detail on how V-Ray for Houdini fits in with Ingenuity’s agile approach to technology, and how the small but successful company makes use of V-Ray for Nuke and V-Ray for Unreal in many different mediums. You’ll find out how the Ingenuity’s gone from making five cheap music videos a week to five megabudget videos a year, what it’s like to work with Tay and James van der Beek, and the effects it contributed to Oscar-winning movie Get Out.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast186_GrantMiller.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:45am PDT
Sun, 12 August 2018
Softly-spoken VFX supervisor Bill Spradlin currently works at Zoic Studios on TV shows such as Arrow, Iron Fist, and Legends of Tomorrow, and his previous credits include Oblivion (with Chris), Transformers, and Iron Man 3.
In this podcast, he talks about how his childhood fascination with Star Trek helped him choose his career path, as well as his early ventures in computing and MMOs. He highlights the many differences between working in TV and film, how both are seeping into gaming and VR, and what it’s like to work with industry personalities such as Joe Kosinski, Eric Barba, and Jeff Baksinski.
It evolves into a deeper discussion of the relevance of working in VFX today, and why the industry is about so much more than getting your name in the credits of a big movie. An essential listen if you’re considering a career in VFX.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast185_BillSpradlin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:25pm PDT
Sun, 1 July 2018
On the verge of his 50th birthday, Chris’s former colleague Ken Ibrahim looks back at an incredible career in which his childhood dreams came spectacularly true.
Ken’s interest in visual effects began at the age of nine, when he and his brother were inspired by Star Wars and Star Trek to create Super 8 films, complete with hand-drawn visual effects. He was introduced to computers at high school, and shortly afterwards he made the leap to Japan where he ended up as a programmer – and occasional voice artist – at SEGA.
Then Ken returned to the US to work at companies such as PDI, Cinesite, Square and Digital Domain on movies like Shrek, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, X-Men 2 and 2012. He landed in nerd heaven, and met some of the universe’s heroes, when he joined JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot studio, to work on the franchises which inspired his career.
Ken’s an entertaining podcast guest, and he and Chris discuss everything from digital humans to Isomorphic web design. You’ll also find out how he enjoys free beer, ball games and concerts in San Francisco.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast180_KenIbrahim.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:46pm PDT
Sun, 13 May 2018
Steve Blakey has been in visual effects since 1989, beginning with animated logos and commercials in New York, and then moving to Los Angeles to work on movies. He and Chris first met at Digital Domain, where they worked on disaster movie The Day After Tomorrow.
Recorded over a bottle of whisky, this podcast covers everything from the megabucks contracts digital artists could command in the early days of CG, to the beginning and end of Digital Domain’s infamous Martini Nights, to the rapid evolution of CG software features starting with grouped objects in Wavefront.
Chris and Steve offer some important words of wisdom to young people working in the field, and Steve sets up an intriguing story involving DD co-founder Scott Ross. Hopefully we’ll hear more on this in coming episodes...
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast173_SteveBlakey.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:57pm PDT
Sun, 4 February 2018
On-set data integration people fill a crucial role in the modern movie making process. They capture reference materials such as HDR images, camera data, and reference photography so effects artists can ensure their CG creations fit perfectly into the shot.
As data integration lead Viki Chan explains, the job combines the glamor of traveling the world to work with a-list actors and directors, with 17-hour days and having to stay away from home for months at a time. She breaks down what her job involves, whether it’s placing tracking markers on the set, negotiating with ADs and gaffers, or minimizing the amount of CG involved on a production.
Viki comes across as friendly and professional – exactly the sort of person you’d want to work with on a chaotic movie set. And she’s got some great anecdotes about Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast160_VikiChan.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:57pm PDT
Sun, 14 January 2018
Greg Teegarden’s first role in Hollywood was suitably iconic: he designed the famous gates for Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. From here, Greg worked as a modeler on Spielberg’s ambitious seaQuest DSV TV project, then helped create effects for Titanic and cars for The Fifth Element.
In this podcast, Greg talks about his career, and how his dad and uncle’s collaboration on TV series Supertrain helped set it up. He and Chris reminisce about the late nights they had at Digital Domain, and the huge cast of characters who made up the team there, including Eric Barba, Victoria Alonso, Ed Ulbrich, and Steve Worley, the software genius who’d write entire LightWave plugins on the plane.
Greg finishes with a discussion of his current work at Digital Domain on piractical TV series Black Sails — and reminds Chris of the time they hung out with dozens of bikini-clad models at his pool during the making of a short film.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast157_GregTeagarden.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:06pm PDT
Fri, 15 September 2017
Johnny Gibson has created ballistic missile detection software, worked on stealth bombers, and covertly filmed on the Russia/China border. These might sound like missions assigned to a secret agent, but Johnny’s actually a VFX artist and supervisor, and in this podcast he discusses his incredible career with Chris.
Having worked on over 30 feature films, including Fight Club, Transformers and three X-Men movies, Johnny has a unique insight into the effects industry. He talks about what a technical director does, why the best people aren’t necessarily on the biggest movies, and how rotoscoping is a great fundamental skill to have.
It’s a gripping episode, full of amusing anecdotes, and revelations of when Johnny and Chris’s career paths met.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast140_JohnnyGibson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:04pm PDT
Sun, 3 September 2017
Originally from South Africa, Darren Hendler has worked on movies such as The Grinch, I Robot, and Maleficent. At the same time he’s become a key figure in the research and development of virtual humans at Digital Domain.
Darren has a lot in common with the similarly digital human obsessed Chris, and this podcast poses many questions around digital humans, such as why is it easier to make an old Brad Pitt, but harder to make a young Jeff Bridges? What are the ethics of reanimating deceased actors, or manipulating news footage? And, how can deep learning help us create more believable digital humans?
It’s fascinating to hear experts in the field pick each other’s brains about this cutting-edge tech. It’s also, as Darren puts it, “a huge amount of fun.”
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast138_DarrenHendler.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:11pm PDT
Mon, 31 July 2017
Established in London in 1990, visual effects and post-production company the Mill has grown with offices in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, with over 200 employees in the later. Among those who made the jump to the LA office are Head of 2D/Creative Director Chris Knight, and Executive Creative Director Phil Crowe.
As becomes apparent in this podcast, neither has lost their accent — or their cheeky British sense of humour. The BFFs talk about their first meeting at the prestigious Ravensbourne College in the mid-90s, then delve into the early days of VFX, when crazy characters at The Mill taught them how to use Flame and Henry. Chris and Phil come across as passionate and knowledgeable professionals who are as well-versed in episodes of Columbo as they are in visual effects tools.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast133_ChrisKnightPhilCrowe.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 12:02am PDT
Sun, 16 July 2017
Multitalented VFX artist Alex Nice’s career began in the very early days of 3D Studio on a 386 computer — complete with vigorous turbo button action. After a rebellious phase as an amateur tattoo artist, he settled into a role as a 3D generalist at Sway Studio via a stint in courtroom animations.
Alex recently served as art director for innovative effects studio Magnopus, alongside previous podcast guests Sally Slade and Ben Grossmann. He’s also worked on matte paintings for movies such as 2012, Hugo, Elysium, Pacific Rim and a tantalizing upcoming sci-fi project.
He recently joined the Art Director's guild doing concept art and tells Chris how astounding it is to see his concept art come to life as a million-dollar film set, how VR has dramatically changed the way he works with directors, and they discuss future of the VFX industry in Hollywood and beyond.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast131_AlexNice.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:07pm PDT
Mon, 3 July 2017
For visual effects supervisor Jay Barton, a chance to work on the Fate of the Furious was a dream come true. As well as having over 18 years experience in visual effects, he’s a car fanatic who knows high-performance autos inside-out — literally.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast129_JayBarton.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:29am PDT
Sun, 4 June 2017
If you’ve seen Chaos Group’s showreel, you’ll be familiar with Unit Image’s work. The Parisian visual effects studio has created entertaining and witty commercials for Peugeot, Cartier, and Canal Plus. As it was founded by gamers, it’s also produced gritty trailers for AAA titles such as The Crew, The Division, and For Honor.
Fresh from their presentation at FMX, Unit Image’s slightly hungover Johanne Beaupied (Business Development and Production Management) and Dorian Marchesin (CG Supervisor) join Chris for this engaging podcast. Johanne’s background lies in games, from playing Doom at age six to working at Ubisoft, which has given her a unique perspective on the industry. Dorian, meanwhile, studied engineering but became drawn in to the world of 3ds Max. His love of cars - and V-Ray - meant that working on some of Unit Image’s productions has been a dream come true.
Johanne and Dorian talk to Chris about how they get lose themselves in game universes both professionally and in their spare time, Unit Image’s Scan Engine tech, and the French film industry.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast125_UnitImage.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:20pm PDT
Mon, 8 May 2017
Sweden’s long, harsh winters compelled Johan Thorngren to pursue creative endeavours, and after a stint in advertising he accepted an enviable position with ILM in San Francisco.
As a generalist, Johan’s job is to pick up VFX shots which don’t fit into the typical pipeline. His workload has increased from a handful of shots on movies such as Star Wars: Episode III, to thousands for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In this podcast, Johan talks about changes he’s seen in the visual effects industry over the past decade, creating the almost full-CG Leipzig airport battle for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the wide range of software ILM has at its disposal to create stunning VFX shots. Chris and Johan also discuss the popular press’s opinion on CGI in movies, and invisible effects.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast121_JohanThorngren.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:17pm PDT
Sun, 23 April 2017
Technical artist, designer and Nick Offerman lookalike Dave Carlson is Chris’ guest for this week’s podcast. Dave spent his youth perfecting his skills with airbrushes and Amigas, before a demo on an SGI supercomputer, and a fascination with “Babylon 5’s” VFX, lit a fire on a career in visual effects.
Dave has worked on music videos, commercials and feature films, joining Chris at Digital Domain for “TRON: Legacy” and “Oblivion.” Now, Dave serves as a CGI generalist, creates mobile games, and he’s currently investigating the worlds of AR and VR. It’s a thoroughly entertaining podcast which alternates between laugh-out-loud hilarious, and heartbreakingly poignant.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast119_DaveCarlson.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:15am PDT
Mon, 27 March 2017
Iconic monster with a heart of gold Kong is back on the big screens in “Kong: Skull Island”—and this time he’s bigger than ever. For this podcast, Chris managed to tempt Jeff White, the movie’s visual effects supervisor, away from wrangling enormous creatures and into talking about how exactly his team brought Kong to life.
Jeff goes into great detail about the elements which sell the character to the audience: those expressive eyes, the matted fur, and even its pungent aroma. Jeff also talks about Kong’s gargantuan co-stars, including the elegant Sker Buffalo, and the formidable Skull Crushers. It’s a comprehensive guide to the character-based techniques and software ILM has perfected through movies such as “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “The Revenant,” and “WarCraft: The Beginning.”
Jeff White at IMDb [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1578635/]
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast115_JeffWhite.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:30am PDT
Sun, 19 March 2017
Eric Durst’s career path has gone hand-in-hand with the evolution of visual effects from the early 80s to the present day. This CalArts animation graduate’s first job was in commercials in New York, which proved to be a hotbed of early visual effects techniques. He moved to Los Angeles, where he animated the disc battle for landmark 1982 movie “Tron,” and became a key employee at Dream Quest, one of the very first visual effects houses.
In this thought-provoking interview, Eric talks about the pain and pleasure of the early days of visual effects, through to his supervision work on “Spider-Man 2,” “Snowpiercer,” and “Gods of Egypt.” If you’ve ever wondered why some effects shots use green screens and some use blue, Eric has your answer, and he discusses how vain actors can create a lot of headaches for visual effects artists.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast114_EricDurst.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:08pm PDT
Sun, 5 March 2017
Chris Wells has worked on some of the biggest films of the past 20 years, including “300,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Although Chris wanted to be a park ranger, he was drawn to computing in the most 80s way possible: a nerd friend, Sigue Sigue Sputnik albums, and software pirated via BBS and five-and-a-quarter floppies. A chance encounter with SGI machines, and a love for early CGI videos on TV show “Night Flight,” gave Chris the impetus to follow his dreams.
In this podcast, Chris offers some amazing insight into the best practices for working on movies. He explains why it’s best to talk directors and producers out of relying on CGI, and how crucial it is to thoroughly prepare for post-production when you’re in the pre-production phase. He finishes with an exclusive behind-the-scenes discussion of his upcoming movie “Vague City.”
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast112_ChrisWells.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:33pm PDT
Sun, 26 February 2017
This candid, illuminating podcast is two hours of pure heaven for anyone interested in the history of special and visual effects. Michael Fink’s career began almost 40 years ago, when he created the computers for nuclear thriller “The China Syndrome.” Over the next few years, he’d sit in a darkened room with a tesla coil for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” raid components store Apex Electronics to build “Blade Runner’s” Voight-Kampff machine, and sync multiple projectors, monitors and cameras for “WarGames.”
In the digital era, Mike talks about how “Batman Returns’” effects are an underappreciated milestone in the history of CG, tight post-production periods on the first two “X-Men” movies, and the trials and tribulations of “The Golden Compass’” effects.
Mike currently serves as a professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where he’s passing on his years of experience to a new generation of filmmakers. His thoughts on digital humans are an invaluable end to an interview with a true legend of the visual effects industry.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast111-MikeFink.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:02pm PDT
Sun, 29 January 2017
Steven Lisberger’s 1982 movie Tron was way ahead of its time. As the first film to have major CG set replacement and full CG shots, it paved the way for the likes of “Jurassic Park,” “Toy Story,” “Avatar,” and many more. Its story investigated ideas of cyberspace and simulated worlds a long time before the internet and virtual reality became part of popular culture.
One of the men behind “Tron” was its computer effects supervisor Richard Taylor. Aptly, Chris joined Richard for a drink at the real-world location which served as Flynn’s bar in “Tron” before recording this illuminating podcast.
Richard is a fascinating character with a sly sense of humor and a vast catalog of stories from the early days of CGI in Hollywood. He tells Chris about how a piece of stationery proved to be key to his career, arguments with “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry about the practicality of the Starship Enterprise’s doors, and utterly baffling the Academy with “Tron’s” CG effects.
The podcast finishes with Richard talking about Eymerce, a headset free immersive reality system which sounds well suited to some “Tron”-like experiences.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast107_RichardTaylor.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:31pm PDT
Fri, 13 January 2017
Inspired by effects magazine Cinefex and repeated viewings of “Star Wars,” Dutch compositor and environments artist Justin van der Lek used professional breakdancing to fund a degree in graphic design. Then he jetted to LA to follow his dreams.
As Justin discusses with Chris, his first role was in the mysterious world of integration, which receives a comprehensive explanation. As his career progressed, he discovered an affinity for NUKE, using it to develop a facial projection rig for Jet Li’s face in “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.” From here, he went on to create groundbreaking environments for “Real Steel” and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," as well as compositing on "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies" and much more.
This is an essential listen if you want to know more about the technical aspects of compositing, and how it’s shifted from a 2D to a 3D tool. But, more than this, the podcast tells Justin’s story, which wraps ups nicely with his “Star Wars” fandom and breakdancing skills both coming into play.
Justin van der Lek on IMDb
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast105_JustinvanderLek.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:05pm PDT
Sun, 8 January 2017
Chris’ guest for this episode is Ed Ulbrich, President and General Manager, Deluxe VFX and VR. He’s Digital Domain’s former CCO and CEO, and when the effects company faced financial difficulties a few years ago, Ed did a heroic job of reassuring staff and providing transparent answers to difficult questions.
Ed also spearheaded the VFX industry’s experiments with digital head replacements. Back in 1999 he helped transplant James Brown’s digital visage onto a younger dancer for Seattle’s Experience Music Project back in 1999. He led the team which reanimated Orville Redenbacher for the unintentionally creepy commercial, then perfected the tech with a digitally-aged Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and the late Tupac Shakur’s CG headline performance at Coachella in 2012.
Ed talks about his new role at Deluxe, which is arguably the biggest effects company in LA. He also discusses his role as VFX producer on “Suicide Squad,” and the potential of virtual reality in movie making
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast104_EdUlbrich.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:19pm PDT
Fri, 16 December 2016
Ever since the T-Rex stomped onto the screen in 1993, audiences have been captivated by “Jurassic Park.” Steven Spielberg’s film heralded a new era of family-oriented event movies, and Chris has already discussed the film’s groundbreaking effects with Matt Winston and Steve “Spaz” Williams and Mark Dippe.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast101_DanielThron_JurassicPark.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 5:07pm PDT
Sun, 23 October 2016
Steve “Spaz” Williams and Mark Dippe’s story is Hollywood material in itself. The pair found themselves working at ILM to create the watery creatures in James Cameron’s “The Abyss,” and they worked with the director again on the menacing liquid metal T-1000 in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”
But the crux of their story comes behind the scenes at Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.” The pair were met with scepticism when they said the dinosaurs could be rendered with CG technology, and had to work in secret to create test renders. But they ultimately won the team over with their realistic creatures, which stand up to scrutiny to this day.
It’s a hugely enjoyable podcast. Steve and Mark are tremendous characters who bonded over a love of Alice Cooper, and they come across as part rebellious teens, part buddy cop partners, and part bickering elderly couple. In the nicest possible way.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast93_SpazAndMark.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:58pm PDT
Sun, 11 September 2016
Darin Grant’s hugely important career in the visual effects industry has been one of choices. When he started at Digital Domain in the early 90s he had to choose between its gaming and visual effects departments. He discusses the differences between the Perl and Python programming languages. And, in his role on the committee of the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards, he has to jostle the merits of production ray-tracing renderers against life-size animatronic horses.
As one of the industry’s key players, and he’s happy to share the immense knowledge he’s gained from working at companies including Google, Method Studios, and Autodesk. Listen to find out how Darin’s grandmother understood his work on What Dreams May Come, his thoughts on the future of cloud-based rendering how it lowers the barriers to entry, and his fascination with video conferencing technology.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast88_DarinGrant.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:52pm PDT
Sun, 28 August 2016
Roland Emmerich has carved a career for himself in Hollywood as the guy who destroys cities and envisages the end of the world. In films such as “Independence Day,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “Godzilla,” he depicts aliens, climate change and giant lizards wreaking havoc around the world. He’s often overlooked as a major force who completely changed the sheer scale of Hollywood movies.
Fellow German Volker Engel has been behind Roland most of the way. He started out overseeing the practical effects in Roland’s early movies “Moon 44” and “Universal Soldier,” before providing the large-scale destruction for “Independence Day.” At the same time, Volker and fellow German effects guru Marc Weigert founded Uncharted Territory, an innovative pop-up visual effects studio which has even made its own movies.
Here, Volker talks to Chris about everything from his early days in Super 8 animation to realtime visual effects via ncam, and the challenges of scaling back production for Roland’s (comparatively) low-budget 2011 film “Anonymous.”
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast86_VolkerEngel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 9:16pm PDT
Sun, 17 July 2016
Two time VFX nominee and member of the Academy, Bryan Grill of Scanline VFX speaks to us about his impressive career working from the ground up to be one of the top people in the field. His long career at Digital Domain and Scanline have been blessed with many great stories. He recently finished supervising Independence Day: Resurgence.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast80_BryanGrill.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 6:33pm PDT
Sun, 10 July 2016
Regular listeners will recognize Executive Producer Lisa Beroud’s name - she served as producer on a number of movies with Chris at Digital Domain, including TRON: Legacy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Oblivion. But, more than that, she made the intense working environment a lot more pleasant by employing masseuses and laying on decent food.
Lisa’s career began as a freelance producer in the world of commercials and music videos in the 80s and 90s, before she migrated into feature films via A52 and Digital Domain. She’s picked up a VES award for her work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and she was nominated for her achievements on TRON: Legacy.
In this fascinating discussion with Chris, the quietly confident producer discusses what, exactly, her role involves (a lot!), the peculiar smell of the Digital Domain offices, and the fragmented future of the visual effects industry.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast79_Lisa_Beroud.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:34pm PDT
Sun, 29 May 2016
Of all the podcast guests thus far, Richard Edlund’s got to have the most amazing voice. He sounds so bassy and gravelly that he could certainly pick up a second job as a trailer voiceover guy.
Not that he’d need to. As he explains to Chris Nichols, his story includes throwing depth charges off battleships, designing Star Trek’s alphabet, driving San Francisco cable cars, making experimental movies, and even inventing the Pignose guitar amp.
Richard later turned his considerable talents to the visual effects industry, where he was nominated for 10 Visual Effects Oscars, winning 4 of them for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Return of the Jedi. He went on to set up Boss Studios, an effects house which successfully made the transition from practical to digital workflows through its work on Die Hard, Ghost, and Alien 3.
Richard is now chairman of the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and he talks about the challenges modern effects pose to board members. It’s an awesome and fascinating 80 minutes - and we recommend turning the bass up to feel the full thunderous effect of Richard’s magnificent vocal chords.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast75_Richard_Edlund.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 10:08pm PDT
Sun, 8 May 2016
Janelle Croshaw, an outstanding Visual Effects Supervisor at Digital Domain, talks to us about her career as a 3D artist, compositor, and supervisor. Her credits include Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, Tron Legacy, Her, and more. We speak about how career took many changes, and the challenges she found taking a leadership role in visual effects as a woman.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast72_JanelleCroshaw.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 11:01pm PDT
Mon, 2 May 2016
We speak to Blake Sweeney, the head of software at Method Studios. His long history at places like Industrial Light and Magic, Weta, MPC, and Digital Domain has given him a rich history in the world of Visual Effects. He speaks to us about what it took him to get to where he is, and what he thinks is important part in the future of VFX, including a lot about cloud rendering.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast71_BlakeSweeney.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Sun, 6 March 2016
Eric Barba sits down with Christopher Nichols and Stephen Parker to discuss his career that ultimately led him to his new position as Creative Director at ILM in Vancouver. We discuss his background at Art Center in transportation design, his nearly 20 years at Digital Domain, which included a longtime creative partnership with David Fincher and Joe Konsinksi, and an Oscar for his work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast63_EricBarba.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 4:41pm PDT
Sun, 31 January 2016
We chat with Hristo Velev and Martin Naydenski from Bottleship VFX about theyir company based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Coming with a history of visual effects work, they founded the company with an expertise in FX work. They have a strong understanding of fluid dynamics which we discuss along with starting a small VFX company in Eastern Europe.
Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast58_HristoandMartin.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 7:20pm PDT