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

Nikola Todorovic always wanted to make films, but encountered a familiar problem: the sci-fi screenplays he wrote would require $200 million budgets. Aiming to reduce this cost, Nikola co-founded Wonder Dynamics with Ready Player One actor Tye Sheridan to develop Wonder Studio, a platform that simplifies the time-consuming tasks involved in adding CG characters to live-action plates.

Nikola breaks down the creation of Wonder Studio, how it ingests and analyses scenes to allow for easy export to software, including Unreal and Maya, and how it generates 3D characters. He also talks through the process of setting up Wonder Dynamics, from its beginnings as a startup company to its acquisition by Autodesk — and what this means for its user base.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_479_NikolaTodorovic.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:58am PDT

Andy Fowler’s career has combined his creative eye with his incredible production skills. Beginning in London’s burgeoning VFX scene with titles such as Lost in Space, 300, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Andy picked up an Emmy for his work on The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Then he moved to LA to work on Tron: Legacy, Noah, and The Revenant, before moving to Netflix and becoming Vice President of Production Innovation, overseeing an astounding 10,000 shots per year.

In this podcast, Andy reflects on his career and how it’s evolved alongside the technology that makes VFX shots happen. He talks about live-action at Disney, making convincing digital humans for Scorsese’s The Irishman, and how virtual production emerged from the pandemic. Andy also gives his thoughts on AI and how it’s going to affect production.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_478_Andy_Fowler.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am PDT

Kathryn Brillhart has always been ahead of her time. As a teen, she assisted her father in shooting documentaries; then she combined her sharp eye as a cinematographer with her passion for VFX to become a virtual production and volume capture expert. Projects she’s worked on include Las Vegas’ ginormous MSG Sphere, pioneering virtual production short “Ripple Effect,” and the movie Black Adam. Most recently, Kathryn has helped create the stunning, desolate world of the Fallout TV series.

Kathryn shares her unique perspective on the way digital technology has transformed the industry, from her early days shooting on celluloid to DV tapes, as well as the rapid evolution of virtual production technology and how it was fuelled by restrictions created by the pandemic. She also gives her thoughts on artificial intelligence and its potential to democratize the industry by making advanced tools accessible to indie filmmakers.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_476_Kathryn_Brillhart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:22am PDT

Liz Hitt has worked across VFX departments on some very cool movies — and she’s not stopping there. Beginning at the legendary Dream Quest Images on Deep Rising and Mighty Joe Young, Liz built a name for herself as a talented production coordinator and producer via movies including Hollow Man, Spider-Man, Stealth (with Chris), The Golden Compass, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

In this podcast, Liz reflects on her career, the roles she’s taken and the crews she’s worked with, sharing how she manages people. She shares a rough guide to the “small-but-global” VFX industry, revealing how new technologies often present more challenges, and giving her thoughts on the effects of the pandemic on both the way we work and the films and series we make.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_475_LizHitt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am PDT

With V-Ray 6 for Maya and Houdini, update 2, Chaos adds an important feature to its powerful renderer: MaterialX support. With this addition, artists and studios can seamlessly use materials across different DCCs and get identical results, removing many of the pain points of increasingly complicated modern 3D pipelines.

In this podcast, V-Ray for Maya Product Manager Alex Yolov and V-Ray for Houdini Product Manager Gosho Genchev reveal how they’ve worked with studios to implement MaterialX in the latest software updates. They also tackle some frequently asked questions about MaterialX, such as how it works and whether it can be used with existing projects, and they reveal some of the additional features that have recently been added to V-Ray.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_468_Alex_Gosho.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:25am PDT

Over his 30-year career, Julian Levi has produced VFX for Hollywood movies, beginning with Braveheart, moving into O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Day After Tomorrow (with Chris), Speed Racer, X-Men: First Class, Prometheus, and many more. Most recently, he helped director Gareth Edwards bring the world of The Creator to life, earning four VES awards and a VFX Oscar nomination in the process.

Julian talks about how The Creator marks a return to the guerilla-style sci-fi Gareth pioneered with his debut, Monsters, utilizing cheaper cameras and preferring real-world locales over sets. Julian reveals how Gareth’s background as a VFX artist also means that he understands where corners can be cut while delivering awe-inspiring shots, and he shares his thoughts on how the industry is changing. 

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_467_Julian_Levi_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:03am PDT

Archviz artists love Chaos Corona. This renderer has become a go-to for visualizing everything from compact kitchens to sky-scraping towers, giving users stunning results straight out of the box. But what’s on the horizon for this popular renderer?

In this podcast, Product Manager Tom Grimes discusses what makes Chaos Corona a popular choice for the architecture industry and how its philosophy differs from other renderers such as V-Ray. He also talks about the software’s future and plans to make it an integral part of the Chaos ecosphere, as well as how it’s getting real-time functionality via Chaos Vantage.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_466_Tom_Grimes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23pm PDT

Robert Moggach has experienced the full arc of the VFX artist career, from being treated like a rockstar in the early days of CG to working on personal, small-scale indie projects today. Along the way, he’s racked up credits on movies including Harry Potter, I, Robot, and Stealth, created ads for the world’s biggest brands, bagged a VES award for the Halo ODST trailer, and helped make music videos for the likes of Moby, Muse, Garbage, and Tori Amos.

Rob and Chris discuss the dynamics of cloud versus local workflows, the nuances of small-scale creative projects such as the short film Go For Grandma, and the logistical challenges of collaboration across time zones. The conversation culminates in speculation about AI's potential to catalyze new creative forms in Hollywood and beyond.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_461_RobertMoggach.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:03am PDT

In this podcast, Vikkal breaks down his career so far, from his beginnings in architecture and on MTV series Room Raiders, to founding Ataboy Studios and making use of the latest VFX and motion graphics technology to create eye-catching ads in a variety of formats. Vikkal and Chris also discuss their common ground in architecture and talk about how Apple could potentially revive VR and the metaverse with its Vision Pro VR headset.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_460_VikkalParikh_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am PDT

Ben Hansford has his finger on the pulse of filmmaking — the prognosis is excellent. Beginning his career in VFX, Ben moved into directing short films and commercials for the likes of Old Spice, Starfield0, Call of Duty, Nike, and many more. He also teaches AI at the University of Southern California (USC), giving him unfettered access to the minds of a new generation of filmmakers.

Ben shares his thoughts on how converging pipelines and creative innovations like AI will create a new kind of filmmaking, in the same way that lightweight cameras enabled the French New Wave and, in turn, New Hollywood. He also talks about the legal and quality issues that surround AI technology, and he finishes with an upbeat vision for the future of filmmaking and telling stories.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_459_Ben_Hansford.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:25am PDT

Here’s the perfect start to 2024: Kat Dawes and NOWism’s particular blend of positivity for creative people. From busking in her native Brisbane to traveling through Africa, Kat has combined her love of performance art and spirituality to create NOWism, a playful philosophy that embraces the present moment and focuses on becoming the hero of your own story.

In this podcast, Kat tells Chris how artists struggling in a modern, ever-changing world can overcome anxieties related to AI and financial woes. She also talks about how to find joy in a world that seems to be fuelled by negativity and conflict, and reveals how storytelling can help us understand our predicaments. If you feel that you’re stuck in a creative rut, then Kat’s infectious enthusiasm might just help you turn 2024 into your year.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_458_Kat_Dawes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19am PDT

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.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_456_Faruk_Heplevent.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:27am PDT

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.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_452_Joaquim_Dos_Santos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_448_RyanWoodward.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:46am PDT

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.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_447_MoraiSadayuki.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:36pm PDT

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.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_446_ClaudiaCristovao.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:52am PDT

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.

Direct download: Podcast_AmyAniobi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:53am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_444_KevinReste.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_439_HalseyBurbund.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19am PDT

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.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_434_Michelle_Munson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47pm PDT

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.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast432_MarcSimonetti.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_431_Linden_Vennard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:42am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_425_Adam_Martin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast_424_Chris_Browne.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast417_MartiniGiant2023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am PDT

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.


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast415_AndrewSchmied.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28am PDT

Visitors to this year’s Trojan Horse was a Unicorn digital arts festival in Troia Portugal were wowed by Aoi Yamaguchi’s opening performance, in which the artist created beautiful large-scale calligraphic figures in response to pieces of music.

Chris caught up with Aoi and discovered more about the ancient art of calligraphy, including its range of 2,000-plus characters, the importance of the tools she uses to create them, and its role in the digital world. This isn’t just about writing, though — Aoi talks about overcoming her fears, following her dreams, mastering an art form, and expressing herself. There are lessons for everyone here.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast405_AoiYamaguchi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:19am PDT

How do you make a modern theme park ride? Framestore’s Eugénie von Tunzelmann has the answers. As the Head of VFX for the studio’s rides department, Eugénie has contributed to some incredible rides, including the Jurassic World VelociCoaster at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure.

Eugénie talks about how her experience on movies including Interstellar and Batman Begins has fed into attractions, which sit somewhere between VFX, animatronics, engineering, and theater. She talks about some of her favorite rides, including Avatar Flight of Passage and Revenge of the Mummy, and offers her thoughts on the more interactive and personalized experiences we’ll have at the theme parks of tomorrow.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast404_EugnievonTunzelmann.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

Opening or closing credits have become a key part of the cinematic or televisual experience. In just a few minutes, these mini masterpieces have to convey the essence of the film or TV show in terms of its vision, music, and characters, and they serve a legal requirement in listing its cast and crew.

Joining Chris this week is Karin Fong, who tells the story of how she became title designer for an array of productions including Spider-Man: No Way Home, Cowboy Bebop, Boardwalk Empire, and many more. She delves into how titles fit into the production of a film, how she makes artistic choices, and reveals how credits have become a powerful marketing tool in the age of the internet.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast403_KarinFong.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am PDT

How has rendering evolved, and what does its future hold? In this podcast, Pixar’s Dylan Sisson answers these burning questions, covering everything from Toy Story’s and Renderman’s beginnings in the mid-80s to the way Disney is now using AI to generate visuals, and even hone scripts and analyze audience reactions.

Dylan also discusses his background in Macromedia Director and CD-Roms, how Moore’s Law and Blinn’s Law have both proven to be true, and Pixar’s championing of the USD format. It’s an interesting episode and one which poses another question: What role will human beings play in the creation of future art and entertainment?

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast401_DylanSisson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am PDT

What does it take to produce an animated movie? In this podcast, Chris meets talented and ambitious producer Jinko Gotoh, who has been a driving force behind pioneering, Oscar-nominated films including Space Jam, Dinosaur, Finding Nemo, The Illusionist, Klaus, and The LEGO Movie 2.

Jinko discusses her journey into movie-making, from being inspired by Lady and The Tramp and Astroboy to learning computer programming, starting a production company, and then shifting into the film industry. She talks about how technology has changed, and how her immigrant background and coding knowledge have helped her prolific career.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast398_JinkoGotoh.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am PDT

Strap in for a tour de force podcast episode. Mikal Vega’s inspirational story begins in small-town Ohio, where he played Dungeons and Dragons and made movies with his grandma. After serving in the military, he received a break into movies via a role in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. From here, Mikal’s combat experience and creative skills landed him directorial roles on mocap for games, including Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Call of Duty: Vanguard, and Diablo 4.

Mikal talks about how spiritual awakenings have helped him through tough times, his discovery that destruction and creativity can achieve the same end goal, and how he’s passing what he’s learned on to others via his Vital Warrior project. Listen for advice on how to get ahead in the creative field — as well as how to deal with whatever life throws at you.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast397_MikalVega.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:16am PDT

This week’s podcast guest is truly inspirational. By the age of 20, Zhang Jingna had won bronze for air rifle shooting at the Commonwealth Games and broken records in the sport. After moving into photography, she immediately picked up clients including Mercedes Benz, Canon, and Wacom, and produced fashion editorials for magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle.

In this podcast, Zhang talks about her passion for Manga and how it influences her photographic style, as well as the techniques she uses to create her distinctive aesthetic. She also discusses respect in the industry, revealing how models can have a tough time, as well as how she’s learned to deal with criticism, and her feelings about having her work copied by other artists and emerging AI algorithms.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast396_JingnaZhang.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:21am PDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top of this year's Chaos Christmas wishlist is A Portrait of the Digital Age, Ian Spriggs’ book on creating his meticulous character studies. In this week’s podcast, the digital portrait artist returns to talk to Chris (who features in the book) about some of the subjects the publication tackles.

Ian shares valuable insights into the process of making his portraits, including his Renaissance influences, the roles clothing, lights, and pose play in his images, and he's embraced improvements in technology and technique. He talks about some of the major shifts in the art world in the past few years, including the emergence of real-time digital humans and the rapid rise of NFTs. You’ll also get to hear about Ian’s next portrait — and find out why it's his most challenging yet.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast350_IanSpriggs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36am PDT

The big wide world can be a scary place for neurodiverse people — but Exceptional Minds can help them find their place. Founded in 2011, this remarkable non-profit training academy trains individuals on the autism spectrum to become visual effects and animation professionals. It also runs its own studio, which has put graduates to work on Black Widow, Loki, and a whole animated segment for Sesame Street.

In this podcast, Exceptional Minds’ Executive Director David Siegel explains how his six-year-old son inspired him to join the academy. He also describes how he works with studios and software companies to give students the knowledge they need for a career. Joining him is VFX Studio Supervisor David Wolgemuth, who discusses finding common ground with students and helping them make the most of their skillsets.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast344_ExceptionalMinds.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am PDT

In this week’s podcast, Chris digs into the relationship between CG and archaeology with world-renowned archaeologist Bernard Frischer. Having studied Classics, Bernie discovered a passion for the past and led excavations of Horace’s Villa in Licenza, Italy. At the same time, he maintained a keen interest in the evolution of computing technology and used it to reconstruct Rome for his Rome Reborn project.

Bernie reveals his vast knowledge of ancient history, explaining what made ancient Roman and modern American societies similar, how chariot racing was the spectator sport of its time, and why he prefers Rome to Athens. He also tells Chris how he founded Flyover Zone and reveals his plans to bring history to the world of videogames.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast340_BernieFrischer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am PDT

Want to know the secrets of a successful VFX career? In this week's podcast, Andy Boyd tells Chris how he worked his way up from VFX artist to head of 3D at MPC and then became co-founder of his own company, Jamm VFX, moving from Johannesburg to London and Los Angeles in the process.

Andy gives useful insights on getting noticed and securing promotions. He also talks through the nerve-wracking process of founding a company and taking it from desperately seeking clients to being in a position where it can turn down work. Andy finishes with his thoughts on how AI will change the future of VFX and sheds a little light on Jamm’s upcoming projects.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast337_AndyBoyd.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:18am PDT

Hard-hitting documentaries and cutting-edge VFX rarely go together, but for David France’s Welcome to Chechnya, it was necessary to marry the two. The film captures the flight of LGBTQ citizens from the Russian republic of Chechnya, where being gay can lead to beatings and murders. To preserve his subjects’ anonymity while allowing the audience to connect with them emotionally, David turned to VFX expert Ryan Laney to digitally swap faces with willing “donors” from around the world.

Ryan explains how he developed new techniques to replace faces without the limitations of traditional methods such as blurring and pixelation. He also discusses his 20-plus-years in movie VFX, including The Matrix, The Aviator, The Day After Tomorrow, and many more. It’s proof that VFX’s role in filmmaking now extends far beyond Hollywood blockbusters— and it’s had a surprising effect on Ryan’s outlook, too.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast329_RyanLaney.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06am PDT

What do NFTs mean for professional artists? That’s the question Chris explores this week with returning podcast guest David Levy, whose concept art has helped define the look of big sci-fi movies, including Tron: Legacy, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the upcoming Avatar sequels.

In this thought-provoking discussion, David talks about the potential NFTs have to revolutionize digital art and how this new way of attaching value to content changes the industry for well-known artists and absolute beginners. Chris and David talk about how NFT galleries are more like Las Vegas than The Louvre, discuss some of the ethical and environmental concerns surrounding NFTs and explain what cryptocurrencies mean on a larger scale.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast327_DavidLevy_NFTs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am PDT

Chris’ exploration of NFTs continues with returning guest and virtual architecture expert Alex Coulombe and podcast newbie Samuel Arsenault-Brassard. Samuel has set up the Museum of Other Realities to display virtual works of art but lacked a convenient way to monetize and distribute them. Enter NFTs, virtual worlds such as Somnium Space and marketplaces including SuperRare and Foundation.

In this in-depth discussion, Samuel and Alex cover the good, bad and ugly of NFTs. They break down what makes them so ideal for selling virtual art, how you could steal an NFT, what happens when an owner posts offensive content in virtual space and the potential for forging 3D artwork. They also cover potential solutions to the high energy demands of cryptocurrencies.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast325_SamuelAB_AlexCoulombe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46am PDT

Our exploration of how NFTs apply to CG artists continues with esteemed NYU Stern professor, David Yermack, an expert in cryptocurrency.

But don’t worry, you don’t need a finance background to understand this. David breaks down key concepts behind NFTs in the most accessible way possible, so you can figure out how they factor in your world. We get into issues of ownership, the value of digital copies and how NFTs are enabling CG artists to finally become part of the gallery system.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast323_DavidYermack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:35am PDT

NFTs — or Non-Fungible Tokens — have hit the headlines recently after digital artist Beeple sold a JPEG for $69 million. But there are many questions about this new way of selling art: Is it a scam? How easy is it for artists to make millions with NFTs? What does “fungible” even mean?

In this podcast, digital artist and returning guest Sally Slade tells Chris everything she’s learned about NFTs in seven days. She talks him through turning one of her artworks into an NFT, beginning with buying cryptocurrency Ethereum to “minting” her artwork and listing it online. Sally digs into some of the ethical and environmental concerns about the NFT process and discusses what it could mean for the future of art and filmmaking.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast320_SallySlade_NFTs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am PDT

Chaos’ Key Account Group are unsung heroes of the CG industry. They understand the trends of the VFX, arch-viz and design industries; they’re happy to be woken up at 3AM on Christmas morning to help customers solve problems—and they help gather feedback to help shape Chaos products.

Heading up the Key Account Group is the dynamic and energetic “Mother of Dragons,” Albena Ivanova. After studying business at university, Albena honed her skills in film production before joining Chaos. Albena discusses the unusual ways customers use Chaos software, reminisces about epic parties for clients and talks about her newest recruit—Chris Nichols himself.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast317_AlbenaIvanova.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:16am PDT

Chaos Group is no more; long live Chaos! In this week’s podcast, Richard Pay from design agency Uniform and Chaos’ own Melissa Knight talk us through the year-long process of reinvigorating the computer graphics company’s presence to reflect the increasing diversity of its products and customers. 

Rich explains why a brand is far more than just a logo, and how Uniform has united Chaos’ previously fragmented elements into a more cohesive and colorful whole. Melissa also talks about the advantages of simply being called Chaos, the huge amount of work that went into the rebrand—and reveals a planetary secret hidden in the new logo.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast316_Richard_Melissa.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am PDT

This week’s podcast guest is a true visionary in the CG world. Ash Thorp came from a humble background and perfected his artistic skills via a year-long stint at film title specialist Prologue. Since then, he's contributed to Ghost in the Shell, Ender’s Game and Captain Marvel, while pursuing his love for cinema via personal projects including Ghost in the Shell homage “Project 2501,” electric Ferrari concept “Evinetta” and short film “NONE.”

Ash offers invaluable advice on avoiding creative blocks, the importance of collaboration, getting great performances out of actors, and dealing with criticism and social media. It’s an honest and inspirational discussion and, touchingly, Ash hasn’t lost any of the humility he had at the start of his career.

Direct download: 315_AshThorp_finalmixdown_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18am PDT

This week’s podcast guest is Robert Durnin, a talented and agile technical director who can turn his hand to just about anything. He’s perfected pipelines for movies including Pan’s Labyrinth, The Mist, The Amazing Spider-Man and Tron: Legacy, and polished in-engine cinematics for Batman: Arkham Origins and Crysis 3. He's also helped build content for the Leia 3D holographic display and worked out how to create a theme park-size XR experience.

Robert talks about his career so far, the numerous companies he’s worked for, including Digital Domain, The Mill and Magnopus, and how he’s wrangled multiple content creation platforms into working with one another. He also discusses some of the fun challenges he’s faced, and the computer-vision AI training he’d like to tackle in future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast311_RobertDurnin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:13pm PDT

Bilali Mack has always wanted to tell stories. Originally hailing from West Africa, Bilali was at Emerson College in Boston when he realized it was easier to make movies with computers instead of cameras. After graduating, he worked on Coca-Cola and BMW commercials, where he developed an affinity for Flame, Autodesk’s VFX and finishing software.

Today, Bilali is taking his experience to the next level as a VFX supervisor on feature films and TV series, including Let Him Go and Power Book II: Ghost. In this insightful and animated discussion, Bilali talks about the pros and cons of working with Flame, the creative differences between VFX for commercials and features, and how he directs smoke and blood to enhance the narrative. This podcast is a perfect upbeat start to 2021.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast308_BilaliMack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31am PDT

CGI obviously has a big role in post-production, but in this podcast, Chris talks to concept artist Dwayne Burgess about how it’s used before filming. Dwayne was inspired by theatrical design to pursue his career path, and after a fortuitous meeting on a B-movie, he worked his way up to art director at NBC Universal.

Today, Dwayne is a freelance concept artist, creating renders for TV shows including Fargo and American Ninja Warrior. He explains what his role is in a production, how he interacts with set designers and directors of photography, plus how V-Ray for SketchUp has improved his workflow.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast305_DwayneBurgess.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:47am PDT

With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Shannon Wiggins knows how to get employed at the biggest VFX and games studios. Shannon’s early brushes with behind-the-scenes effects from Star Wars influenced her to learn Softimage and Nuke, and work in roto and paint for companies including Digital Domain, ILM and Dreamworks. Today, she heads up placement and alumni relations at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects.

In this podcast, Shannon shares how Gnomon achieves an incredible 97% employment rate for its students, and offers indispensable advice on preparing a winning reel and being ready for the interview process. She also talks about some of the big changes she’s seen over her 10 years at Gnomon — and the skills students need for the VFX of the future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast304_ShannonWiggins.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:01am PDT

Al Quattrocchi is a man of passion and talent. From a young age, he’s honed his artistic skills via typesetting, movie posters and Grammy-winning album packaging. Along the way, he’s been taught by Jim Blinn of Blinn-Phong shading fame, worked with poster artist Drew Struzan and shaken hands with musical legend Art Garfunkel.

At the same time, Al has indulged his love for fly fishing, which grew from exploring the waters near New York. He tells Chris about what makes fly fishing so attractive to artists, his book about catching the elusive California corbina and how he gets involved with the fly-fishing community. Al’s Italian-American inflection and gift for storytelling make for an engrossing podcast.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast303_AlQuattrocchi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:26am PDT

You’ve probably seen Mike Campau’s work without realizing it. Over the past 20 years, this digital artist has honed his style and techniques to produce eye-catching imagery for brands including Under Armour, Chevy and Specialized, and characterful portraits of Tracy Morgan, John C. Reilly and Dave Grohl. He also creates personal work to experiment with new techniques or skewer social media and politics.

In this podcast, Mike tells Chris how he’s grown from usual inspiration as a three-year-old, to learning from car campaigns, to the tools and collaborations that make his work possible today. If you’ve ever wanted to make the jump to becoming a successful freelance artist, Mike has solid advice on how to get established and manage your work-life balance.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast301_MikeCampau.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:57am PDT

Want to be a more successful CG artist? In this podcast, returning guest Allan McKay shares crucial tips on how to market yourself, sell your products and boost your income. He takes down the myth of the starving artist, highlights the big mistakes people make on their showreels and even delves into the psychology of pricing strategies.

That's not all: Allan also predicts the VFX areas to focus on for future success, explains why struggling can be a good thing and talks about his recent CG work. Just like Allan's last podcast, this one is packed with great advice and essential tips for the VFX industry and beyond.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast295_AllanMcKay.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:40am PDT

With his latest Disney project on hold due to COVID-19, lighting artist Afonso Salcedo seized the opportunity to explore his other passion: Photography. Equipped with his trusty camera, he took to Los Angeles’ streets to capture their emptiness during lockdown then documented the surge of crowds for the BLM protests.

In his second CG Garage podcast, Afonso explains how these unusual circumstances have allowed him to explore the streets of Los Angeles — a city he’s still new to. He also talks about how animation and photography complement one another, how to take great shots in hostile environments, and the diversity of LA’s neighborhoods and nature.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast285_AfonsoSalcedo_returns.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:27am PDT

Warning: This podcast contains explicit language.

Among the many pleasures of Love, Death & Robots, “The Witness” was a particular standout: Its mind-bending story and vivid art style combined to create a unique and challenging short film. In this inspirational podcast, director Alberto Mielgo breaks down the making of the project.

You’ll find out Alberto’s influences, from Tintin to Disney to Blade Runner and the films of Éric Rohmer. He also talks about blending simple 2D and advanced cloth techniques to achieve “The Witness’” distinctive look, the inspiration behind its story — and his ambition to make animated movies that are regarded in the same light as live-action features.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast273_AlbertoMielgo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39am PDT

Lauren Mayer-Beug has come a long way since working at Sway Studio with Chris. This multi-talented artist cut her teeth in compositing and VFX supervision for movies and music videos before moving into motion graphics, animation and social media features. She’s created pieces for Apple, Google, Facebook and Beats, and her clientele include Dr. Dre, Ron Howard, Barack Obama and George Lucas.

In this podcast, Lauren gives Chris a rundown of how she’s worked up to the position of creative director at Chapeau Studios, a brand think-tank with roots in the world of VFX. She imparts vital advice on how women can make their voices heard in a traditionally male-dominated industry and reveals the techniques she uses to make smart, innovative creative decisions.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast269_LaurenMayerBeug.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04am PDT

It’s been five years since VR director Justin Denton last joined Chris on the CG Garage Podcast, and in that time he has truly pushed the boundaries of the medium. He’s produced jaw-dropping tie-in experiences for Ghost in the Shell, Mr. Robot and Legion. And he’s indulged his passion for Dickens’ A Christmas Carol via Chained: A Victorian Nightmare, which uses techniques from games and immersive theater to deliver a unique, personalized experience.

Justin is an authority on how the VR industry has shifted and settled, and its uses as a tool and a medium. Meanwhile, in his new role as Staff Director at Blur Studio, he’s taking VR techniques into filmmaking with his exhilarating PUBG trailer. He also details his contribution to DD and Time Magazine’s project, The March, which takes participants into a VR recreation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic rally.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast261_JustinDenton.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:32am PDT

Much has changed in the three years since director Tim Miller recorded a the 100th episode of the CG Garage podcast. After the runaway success of Deadpool, he returned to the big screen with Terminator: Dark Fate. At the same time, his Heavy Metal-inspired anthology series Love, Death & Robots busted boundaries via Netflix.

In this podcast, he reveals the pressure of directing the $200-million-budget Terminator: Dark Fate, the storytelling and technical decisions behind that beach scene — and why he wound up hugging two audience members. In contrast, he talks about creative freedom and collaboration he enjoyed for Love, Death & Robots and offers some sneak peeks for season 2.

Regular listeners will be pleased to hear that Hollywood stardom hasn’t gone to Tim’s head, and this podcast offers a truly fascinating insight into the movie industry.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast258_TimMiller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:55am PDT

At Total Chaos 2019, we launched a competition with an amazing prize for one budding CG artist: A “Golden Ticket” to the THU conference in Malta. All the entrants had to do was impress our judges with their story, via text, imagery or video. After poring over the entries there was one clear winner: Ivona Alexandrova, whose positive outlook and artistic skill shone through her work.

Part of the prize was a podcast with Chris Nichols and the result — recorded while THU was in full swing — is sweet and surprisingly inspirational. Ivona talks about teen experiences with CG in Bulgaria and her move to the UK to study the subject at university. She also shares the career tips she’s gleaned from Oscar-winning directors and Hollywood VFX artists at Total Chaos and THU.

Want to be in with a chance to win a THU Golden Ticket next year? Join us at Total Chaos!

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast257_IvonaAlexandrova.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01pm PDT

A passion for animation and computing landed Andrew Gordon a job at Pixar just after the release of Toy Story, the first of many mega-hits for the studio. From here, he helped bring some of the studio’s most famous characters to life: Toy Story 2’s Prospector, Mike from Monsters, Inc. and Edna Mode, The Incredibles’ fashion designer. Today, Andrew has taken his experience from Pixar to DNEG, where he heads up the London VFX studio’s feature animation team.

In this podcast, recorded at THU, Andrew tells Chris why Pixar movies are consistently brilliant. He talks about the playful office culture, mentorships and constructive criticism that bring out the best in employees, as well as its deft approach to storytelling, character development and filmmaking. It’s the sum of 20 years’ experience, with industry leaders such as Brad Bird, Ed Catmull and Pete Docter, packed into an hour-long podcast.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast252_AndrewGordon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:36am PDT

User experience is an under-appreciated but crucial aspect of modern technology and software — particularly in the field of video games, which have to introduce complex ideas without intimidating players. In this week’s podcast, Chris is joined by UX Director, Celia Hodent, who put her PhD in psychology, specialized in cognitive development, to good use in helping create Fortnite

Celia explains how user experience helped make military aircraft safer and how it’s been a fundamental part of gaming since the days of Super Mario Bros. Using examples from casual titles such as Candy Crush to the notoriously tricky Dark Souls, Celia explains how games teach skills and use interaction to build worlds and reward behavior. She also gives excellent reasons why kids shouldn’t play games outside of their age rating, and why culture is more important than gender when it comes to game design.

Whether you’re a gamer or not, you’ll undoubtedly come away from this podcast with a new perspective on the design of just about everything.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast250_CeliaHodent.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am PDT

Every Saturday, karate sensei Robert Christophe teaches kids (including Chris’s) to find their inner strength and the virtues of tolerance, discipline and accepting other people.

Now, Robert is taking his Mr Miyagi-like leadership skills to filmmaking via New Voices Academy, a summer camp for kids aged 11 to 14. Based out of his Burbank, California dojo, Robert will guide attendees through the process of writing, shooting and acting in short PG-13 horror films with help from industry professionals from Marvel Studios, Nickelodeon and Disney.

In this podcast, Robert talks about his previous experience as an acting tutor, what inspired him to set up the academy and his plans for its future — and the role Chris will play in it.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast225_RobertChristophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05am PDT

Every Saturday, karate sensei Robert Christophe teaches kids (including Chris’s) to find their inner strength and the virtues of tolerance, discipline and accepting other people.

Now, Robert is taking his Mr Miyagi-like leadership skills to filmmaking via New Voices Academy, a summer camp for kids aged 11 to 14. Based out of his Burbank, California dojo, Robert will guide attendees through the process of writing, shooting and acting in short PG-13 horror films with help from industry professionals from Marvel Studios, Nickelodeon and Disney.

In this podcast, Robert talks about his previous experience as an acting tutor, what inspired him to set up the academy and his plans for its future — and the role Chris will play in it.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast225_RobertChristophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05am PDT

Every Saturday, karate sensei Robert Christophe teaches kids (including Chris’s) to find their inner strength and the virtues of tolerance, discipline and accepting other people.

Now, Robert is taking his Mr Miyagi-like leadership skills to filmmaking via New Voices Academy, a summer camp for kids aged 11 to 14. Based out of his Burbank, California dojo, Robert will guide attendees through the process of writing, shooting and acting in short PG-13 horror films with help from industry professionals from Marvel Studios, Nickelodeon and Disney.

In this podcast, Robert talks about his previous experience as an acting tutor, what inspired him to set up the academy and his plans for its future — and the role Chris will play in it.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast225_RobertChristophe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:05am PDT

Afonso Salcedo had just stepped off the plane at LAX when Chris wrestled him into the CG Garage booth to record this podcast. Afonso’s arrival in Los Angeles is another giant leap in a daring transatlantic career which has taken him from the graveyard shift on the VFX of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to working with one of the world’s biggest movie stars.

In this podcast, Afonso tells his inspirational story, which takes in his education and early experiences working for Framestore in London, his experiences at Pixar on Ratatouille and Cars 2, and at Dreamworks for Rise of the Guardians and Madagascar 3. He also talks about his freelance work as a photographer, creative director and producer for premium online learning platform MasterClass.

As Afonso prepares to start work on Frozen 2 at Walt Disney Animation Studios he reflects on his approach to taking risks and learning from rejection, as well as the techniques and tricks he’s picked up from masters in the field.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast221_AfonsoSalcedo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23am PDT

You may not have heard of Donna Smith — but she’s one of the most important players behind the scenes in Hollywood. Over the course of almost 40 years, she’s been instrumental in the production of 157 movies, including Raging Bull, The Terminator, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and The Matrix. She’s also the first woman to serve as President of Physical Production and Post Production at Universal Pictures.

Despite her enviable career and powerful position, Donna is down-to-earth and affable in this podcast. She offers invaluable advice for anyone looking to get ahead in the film industry, including who you should get to know, the importance of the “business” in show business, and getting started in the seven-year process from script to screen.

This is a must-listen for movie fans, and Donna’s tales of working with Marty (Scorsese), Bobby (DeNiro) and Sly (Stallone) are every bit as inspirational as the films she’s helped bring to the silver screen.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast198_DonnaSmith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am PDT

This podcast features Aaron Kupferman, an expert on the intertwined fields of CGI and photography. He's served as compositor on movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, Alice in Wonderland, and upcoming Statham vs. Shark film The Meg. But he’s also an unbelievably talented photographer, effortlessly shifting between shiny automobiles, expansive land and cityscapes, and dwarfing time-lapse photos of the night sky.

Despite having a lot of photography equipment, Aaron highlights the importance of good technique over tech. He explains how imaginative photographers can compose and light great pictures with little more than a sheet of paper and a lamp, he delves into his dramatic shots of fast-moving cars, and describes his home-made time-lapse kit for capturing the night sky.

Aaron also gives insight into his life in technology and CG, from an early start in radio communications with a space shuttle, to how to render shots for action movies.

If you want to know what to do - and what not to do - to create amazing photographs and renders, this is the podcast for you.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast182_AaronKupferman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:22pm PDT

This week’s CG Garage is a special episode because I got a chance to sit down with Alex McDowell, the founder of World Building Institute and Experimental Design. You might have seen his name pop up in Fast Company and Wired from time to time, and it’s no mystery why they want to talk to him. On top of his current roles, which we’ll get into in a minute, this is a man who helped set up the Sex Pistols first gig, made music videos with Depeche Mode, led production designs on Fight Club, and designed the entire world, including all of its rules and attributes, for Minority Report. And it’s in that last point, world building, where he can really offer all of us - architects, filmmakers and general 3D artists- some serious food for thought.

Instead of thinking about stories and digital experiences like linear elements, Alex approaches his designs spherically, like you would a VR space. He asks questions like “What are the conditions of the world and what is going to drive it forward?” and then figures out how elements like different types of humans will define or navigate this environment. An elderly person, for instance, could live in the same world as a Olympian, but endure radically different challenges. And from what Alex has learned, as the challenges and context around your focal points change, so do the stories you can tell. With world building, storytellers are encouraged to consider more possibilities, which in turn, open up a greater understanding of the environments and characters they create.

At first glance, you may think this only works for feature films. But consider the 3D world’s most common thread: storytelling. Architects also tell visual stories full of context and character, only they do it through spaces. So imagine what happens when architects apply world building concepts to their art. Designs can be influenced by wider factors than form and function, including how different types of people will navigate the space. Using these concepts, architects can also consider how the mechanisms of the city, or even society at large, will change the experience they are offering, even if that change resides at a granular or subconscious level. As elements are defined, they compound, helping an artist (or your team) gain an elevated knowledge of any design that incorporates narrative.

It really can be quite powerful, and like I said, is not limited to a single field. I hope you’ll give it a shot.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast162_AlexMcDowell.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:50pm PDT

Mobile games are big business — bigger, in fact, than their console counterparts. They’re cheaper to make, require smaller teams, and they can generate huge amounts of money. In the first part of this podcast, Chris talks to John “Cip” Cipriani, senior artist at enormously successful mobile games company Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Boom Beach).

Of course, mobile games have their own complications — hundreds are released every day, and established titles continually add new features. John tells Chris how Supercell has succeeded with quick but gratifying gameplay, distinctive art styles, and games which cater to gamers of all ages, no matter what device they’re using.

The increasing power of phones and tablets, combined with easy access to cloud resources and intuitive interfaces, make them an ideal candidate for 3D modelling and rendering. This topic comes up in a Chris’ second conversation, with artists Carlos Ortega and Lip Comarella.

As well as discussing the future of 3D, animation director Lip and character artist Carlos talk about their experiences at THU. At last year’s event, Lip posed an interesting personal question about relationships and art, while Carlos has previously served as a “Knight” at the festival.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast155_JohnCipriani_CarlosOrtega_LipComarella.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:17pm PDT

For this THU double bill, Chris is joined by friends old and new.

In the first part, he chats with VFX artist turned arch viz expert Keely Colcleugh, and CG Architect founder Jeff Mottle — both of whom have previously featured on podcasts. They’re perfect examples of how this year's THU festival embraced architectural professionals and the crucial knowledge they can bring to concept art and character design.

Using films like Minority Report and Blade Runner as examples, they talk about how movies can blend architectural design and futurism to provide evocative backdrops for their characters. They also ponder the importance of IP in architectural visualization images.

User experience (UX) design doesn’t sound like something that would be tied to architectural visualization. But in the second part of this podcast, a discussion with designer Jessica Rudzewicz highlights many parallels.

In essence, UX design is about hiding technical aspects in a way which is aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand — which is quite a lot like architecture. But Jessica also talks about systems without a visual interface, like Siri or Alexa, or bridging the virtual and physical worlds on the HTC Vive. It’s interesting to hear how much hard work goes into making something as unnoticeable as possible.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast151_THU2017_04.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00pm PDT

Polymath Rudy Rucker is the author of some 40 books, including a many science-fiction novels, and he’s a computer scientist, a painter, and a mathematician. In the 1980s his novels dealt with issues of identity and reality in an age increasingly dominated by computers, and helped found the cyberpunk movement.

Rudy is also a relative of podcast host Chris. As well as blood ties they have a lot in common: a love of computing, of storytelling, and careers which have sat on the cutting edge of future tech. It’s interesting to hear the differences and similarities between Chris and Rudy’s generations, such as Rudy’s thoughts on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and quantum computing. He’s full of handy tips for writers, including the virtues of self-publishing, and how to get over that fear of the blank page.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast116_RudyRucker.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:25am PDT

Trojan Horse was a Unicorn - aka THU - isn’t like other digital arts gatherings. Rather than taking over a crowded convention center, it takes place in a luscious beach resort in Portugal. Headline speakers, or “Knights,” aren’t treated like VIPs, but instead mingle with crowds. And the emphasis for guests is on personal growth and development, as opposed to being wowed by technology or targeted by marketers.

One of the people behind this revolutionary festival is André Luís, and in this podcast he offers a peek behind the scenes at THU. He talks about his struggle to keep a globally-renowned festival small and intimate, and how it’s in competition with online information sources. Chris - who’s been Knighted for THU 2017 - also discusses how the festival and the architecture community could benefit immensely from one another.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast113_AndreLuis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52pm PDT

Chris’s guest for this ridiculously entertaining episode is Erick Schiele. Erick and Chris worked together at architectural studio Gensler, and then followed similar career paths into visual effects, with Erick working on “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Stealth,” and “Iron Man 2.”

Erick has an incredible array of stories from the worlds of visual effects and the music industry. He tells Chris how he almost incinerated Stephen Stills, chatted to Eric Clapton at a laundromat, and rearranged the Eagles’ Glenn Frey’s Internet Explorer bookmarks—for three days.

There’s some sound advice for creatives here, too, including how to avoid creative burnouts—and how not to make short films. There’s also a surreal but gruesome explanation of what it’s like to have cataract surgery under local anesthetic.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast103_ErickSchiele.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:55am PDT

Since November 2, 2014, Chris Nichols has interviewed 99 people for the CG Garage Podcast. Legendary photography Norman Seeff, architectural pioneer Art Gensler and director Wes Ball are among some of the big name guests who’ve graced the Chaos Group recording suite. But it’s also served as a platform to discuss the deeper and more esoteric nature of just about anything CG related, as well as Chaos Group’s new products.

For this extra special live episode, Chris’ guests are two of the hottest directors in Hollywood right now: Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) and Joseph Kosinski (“TRON: Legacy,” “Oblivion”). Both come from backgrounds in CGI and VFX, and they offer indispensable insights on how Hollywood works.

Tim talks about the casualties of Blur Studio’s Nerf battles, why he’s not involved in “Deadpool 2,” and the tantalizing animated sci-fi project he’s working on next. In his podcast debut, Joe tells us about his rise from architectural imagery to cutting-edge blockbusters, and “Granite Mountain,” his forthcoming feature film.

You should tune in whether it’s your first or your hundredth listen. And here’s to another 100 podcasts!


Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast100_TimMiller_JoeKosinski.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm PDT

David Lee Strasberg is the son of Lee Strasberg, the acting coach who introduced the method theory of acting to Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Marlon Brando. David has followed in his father’s footsteps, serving as an acting coach and actor in his own right.

But why was he at this year’s THU festival in Portugal, and why did Chris record this podcast with him? It turns out that digital and 3D art has a lot in common with acting: it’s all about faking things. And they’re both about embracing passion, and changing your approach to art so you get it right.

Strasberg’s knowledge of all things theatrical has a lot of relevance to digital humans, too—especially when it comes to avoiding a trip down the uncanny valley. It’s a blindsider of a podcast, and David’s thoughts on how we recognize and interact with fellow humans are literally mind-blowing.

The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute []

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast98_DavidLeeStrasberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:32pm PDT

The internet, and its content, has become as precision-tooled and refined as a jet fighter—or a rendering engine. In this illuminating podcast, VFX writer and editor Ian Failes talks about creating articles and videos for an audience which is bombarded with information from the moment they wake up.

He and Chris talk at great length about the success of the CG garage podcast, what it means to be Fireballed, and how press releases have reshaped journalism. For video producers among you, Ian and Chris also share some secrets to making amazing filmed content. Newman from Seinfeld even gets a mention, which surely doesn’t happen enough these days.

Vfxblog, Ian’s site []
Masters of FX, Ian’s book []

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast97_IanFailes.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm PDT

Mikki Willis joined Chris at THU festival for this surprisingly philosophical and anthropological podcast. Mikki had established himself as a music video director, with a career beckoning in feature films, when he found himself at the site of Ground Zero on September 11, 2001. The horrific events of that day caused him to completely re-evaluate his life and his career.

From that terrible experience, a deeply thoughtful man has emerged. He’s full of advice for artists, such as how to balance humankind’s innate desire to create with the 21st century’s demands of cashflow and celebrity status. He also talks to Chris about how to nurture talent in young children by destroying technology, and how ending up in a submarine – both metaphorically and literally – can be a good thing.
It’s a vital listen for CG artists who want to inject a little soul into their work.

Elevate, Mikki’s film festival []
Mikki’s official site []

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast96_MikkiWillis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am PDT

It’s hard to imagine what games would be like without “Half-Life 2.” Released in 2004, Valve’s sci-fi shooter set a new precedent in game design, marrying realistic characters with an involving story which propels the player through awe-inspiring environments.

As a concept artist and character designer at Valve, Moby Francke was a driving force behind the game’s groundbreaking look and feel. He found himself working at the company almost accidentally, and he had to adjust to a new world of digital art and gaming. But he became a key player on the company’s games, including “Team Fortress 2,” “Portal,” and “Left 4 Dead.”

In this podcast, Moby tells Chris about his unconventional career, and his early years in the hinterland of Washington DC and the lush tropics of the Virgin Islands. He also chats about his thoughts on character versus environment design, the influence of Eastern European architecture on “Half-Life 2,” and the joys of inspiring a new generation of talent at the THU festival.

Moby’s official site
Moby’s profile on THU

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast95_MobyFrancke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:06am PDT

Any film buff will know the name Stan Winston. The special effects legend created the titular monsters from “The Terminator,” “The Thing,” and “Predator.” He was a key player in Hollywood’s transition from practical to digital effects in the early 90s, and he constantly pushed the boundaries of his craft.

Sadly, Stan passed away in 2008, but his legacy lives on through a formidable collection of blockbuster films—and his son, Matt. In this podcast, recorded at THU, Matt reveals a more human side to the man who made monsters, describing him as a cross between Father Christmas and Dr Frankenstein. He also discusses the blend of art and technology in both practical and digital effects, how his father performed an autopsy on Chewbacca’s head, and why “Jurassic Park’s” T-Rex was even scarier on set.

As Matt mentions, Stan’s deep knowledge of effects has inspired the founding of the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, an online university with courses in everything from makeup to marionettes to miniature cities. It’s an awesome resource—even if all your sculpting is done digitally.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast92_MattWinston.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

Many people think of a Hollywood director as someone who’s egotistical, brash and shouty. That’s not the case with Brenda Chapman. The artist turned writer turned director comes across as humble, unassuming and honest in her conversation with Chris. And maybe her personality has had a big part in her success as a director of “The Prince of Egypt” and “Brave,” the latter of which made her the first female director to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

The idea of women working in such a notoriously male-dominated industry is something Brenda talks about a lot, and she shares some horrific tales of casual sexism in the Hollywood studios. But she also talks about learning from some of the industry’s unsung heroes, the differences between directing live action and animation, and how her relationship with her daughter inspired “Brave’s” storyline.

This episode is an absolute treat which is both informative and touching.

Brenda's official website
Brenda's IMDb page

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast91_BrendaChapman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45pm PDT

No podcast this week but I figured I would give people a preview of some of the amazing ones we have that will be coming up soon.


Direct download: Podcast_THU2016Preview.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:52pm PDT

In 1979, George Miller’s directorial debut Mad Max shocked cinema audiences around the world. It existed at a perfect intersection of blockbuster and Australian new wave cinema, knitted together with a punkish spirit and comic book aesthetic. Its sequel, 1981’s The Road Warrior, heightened the action and established Max as a true action hero, while 1986’s Beyond Thunderdome explored the fringes of the franchise’s crazy apocalyptic world. After an almost 30-year-hiatus Max returned to the big screen last year in the universally acclaimed Fury Road.

For this podcast, living movie database Daniel Thron discusses what works and what doesn’t in this hugely popular and influential series of movies, whether Tina Turner can ever play anyone other than Tina Turner, and how the films’ tight edits and dramatic scores create horror and excitement.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast81_DanThron2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:20pm PDT

Starting a new CG Garage series, Dan Thron and Christopher Nichols discuss movies. We start with an in depth look at the Star Wars saga. We discuss why we each think that Empire is the best of all present 7 movies. Daniel also tells us his version of that Episode 6 should have been and why they have been trying to correct from their "mistake" ever since. We hope to do many more of these.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast60_DanThron_02_2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm PDT

Last week we spoke to Norman Seeff about his response to our discussion on the Uncanny Valley. This week, we spoke to Oleg Alexander, a member of the Digital Human League about his work at the Institute of Creative Technology and his response and feelings on Norman's point of view of the subject. We are also joined by Stephen Parker who is also a member of the Digital Human League.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast47_OlegAlexander.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PDT

There are those moments in your life where you feel lucky to have met someone special. I got a chance to sit down with Norman Seeff one on one for over an hour which was was one of those moments for me. While many people may not know his name, everyone knows his work. He has made his fame through the most honest and real photographs he took of celebrities over the last several decades. He managed to capture so much life in each photograph that I felt compelled to ask him about the Uncanny Valley. His very diverse careers made him the perfect person to explore what is missing in the valley. The short answer is: consciousness.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast46_NormanSeeff.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:06pm PDT

Director Ruairi Robinson recently made the news when Fox picked up Leviathan, based on the teaser that he put out on the internet. Ruairi, a member of our Digital Film League, has a long history in filmmaking and CG. He was nominated for an Oscar for his short Fifty Percent Gray in 2002 and has produced several other great pieces such as his short Blinky.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast30_RuairiRonbinson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:14pm PDT

How often to you hear people say: "It was so much better in the old days of special effects, now it is just all done on computers." There is a perception that VFX is easy, and that we, the artists, simply push a few buttons and it is all done. One of the places I often hear this is a place I actually have a huge respect for: the Nerdist podcast. I'd like to call on our listeners to listen to this podcast, then help us let Nerdist know, as follow nerds, we need their help to teach the world to #RespectVFX.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast17_RespectVFX_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am PDT

There are several people at Chaos Group that have actual Architecture Degrees. We figured that since three of us happen to be in LA at the same time, lets have a chat about it. Corey Rubadue is the Director of our Baltimore Office, Lon Grohs is our Chief Commercial Officer, and Christopher Nichols is the Creative Director. We chat about our history, we chat about how the art of architectural illustration. We chat about how CG changed things and now has become the norm. We even chat about the future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast8_01.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm PDT