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.

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

At age 12, Vicki Dobbs Beck started her own business with her mom, selling flowers at Seattle market — and she’s been combining creativity with commerce ever since. After leaving Stanford University Graduate School of Business, she got a job at Industrial Light and Magic and became Executive in Charge of ILMxLAB in 2016.

In this podcast, recorded at THU, Vicki tells Chris about the incredible virtual reality projects she’s overseen at ILMxLAB, including Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar-winning Flesh and Sand (Carne y arena) and Oculus Quest launch title Vader Immortal. Through her role, Vicki has unprecedented insight into the business side of virtual experiences, and you’ll find out everything from how to secure funding for VR ideas to the practicalities of writing scripts for interactive experiences.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast256_VickiDobbsBeck.mp3
Category:VR -- posted at: 10:21am PDT

Hailing from Sao Paolo, Brazil, Pedro Conti has created some truly impressive work. As well as contributing to Disney’s Moana as a VFX artist, he created hilarious short “One More Beer,” and directed the touching music video for Ron Artis II’s song “In My Heart.” But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Pedro — this sensitive soul has faced some challenging moments.

In this podcast, recorded at THU 2019 earlier this year, Pedro tells Chris how he got into graphics with his dad and taught himself 3D techniques. He talks about the dramatic contrasts between living in Rio, with no hot water and plenty of rats, and Burbank, where he worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He also delves into the happy and sad moments he’s had since he moved back to Brazil as well as the big part music has played throughout his life.

Join Pedro, and many more incredible speakers, at Total Chaos 2020 in Sofia, Bulgaria, May 29 — 31.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast255_PedroConti.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:33am PDT

Over the past few years, the John Wick movies have breathed new life into action filmmaking, marrying balletic big-screen violence with the intricate world-building and compulsive storylines of a quality TV series. Joining Chris this week are returning podcast guests Alex Nice (concept artist) and Robert Nederhorst (VFX supervisor), who talk about their work on John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know that glass features heavily in two major scenes, and Alex and Rob talk about the difficulties of working with (and breaking) elaborate reflective surfaces. Alex reveals how technology such as V-Ray, Unreal and virtual reality helped him plan and preview sets, while Rob discusses some of the problems he ran into on-set — sometimes literally. You’ll also find out how they digitally recreated bridges, rooftops and alleys for the movie — and why they chose a black finger sock for Keanu over a traditional green one.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast254_RobNerderhorst_AlexNice.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:46am PDT

In light of the unexpected passing of our beloved colleague Jaroslav Křivánek on Sunday, today’s podcast is one from the archives. Episode #176 was recorded in Sofia, Bulgaria, in May 2018, as a discussion about the Corona and Chaos family. Talking alongside founding partner and main developer Ondřej Karlík, Jaroslav Křivánek talks in detail about the technology that makes Corona fast and efficient — machine learning with Bayesian inference, heterogeneous media, and GPU rendering — and shares personal insights into his own background in the industry. 

Jaroslav’s wit, energy, and passion are simply irreplaceable. He was instrumental in the creation of Corona Renderer and has been an exceptional leader and mentor to many throughout the Chaos family and beyond. 

Please join us in sending our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and loved ones.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast253_JaroslavKrivanek.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 3:08pm 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

Recorded at the American Society of Architectural Illustrators' “Architecture in Perspective” event, this week's podcast is a panel discussion on architecture and imagined environments. Taking part are The Lion King and AR Wall CG Art Director Joy Lea, 3Marks and KitBash3d's Mike Golden, Luxigon founder Eric de Broche des Combes, Star Wars: The Force Awakens concept artist Nick Hiatt, Architectural Visualization Artist Isabella Eckmann, and Gensler's Creative Media Leader Megan Lubaszka. And, of course, the whole thing is moderated by CG Labs' Chris Nichols.

Among the topics discussed are the representation of space and storytelling in new mediums, the business of visualization and what different CG industries, such as arch-viz, VFX and gaming, can learn from one another. This lively debate is full of insight into modern creative methods and you'll discover what still images can do that VR can't (and vice-versa), the vast differences in cost between architectural and marketing VR experiences — as well as the importance of minigolf.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast251_ASAIPanel.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 10:53am 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

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a critical and box office success on its release last year, garnering critical praise and even an Oscar for its vivid, touching and inventive take on Spidey’s origin story. In this podcast, co-director Peter Ramsey tells his own tale of going from a humble, blue-collar upbringing in South Los Angeles to co-creating one of the best-animated movies of all time.

Peter tells Chris about the movies which inspired his career, including Star Wars, The Seven Samurai and ET. He also discusses how early experiences working with Francis Ford Coppola on Bram Stoker’s Dracula and second-unit-directing Tank Girl came in handy in the world of animation, and the happy accidents which led to his directorial roles on Rise of the Guardians and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

It’s one of the most inspirational podcasts you’ll ever hear; Peter’s free of ego and still looking at cinema with wide-eyed wonder.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast249_PeterRamsey.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:48am PDT

To say John Chalfant could turn his hand to anything would be an understatement. Over the past 20 years, this multi-talented creative has served as a 3D artist, director of photography, game developer, VFX supervisor and art director on movies and games including The Day After Tomorrow, Diablo II, Warcraft III, Nosgoth, Batman: Arkham City, Wolfenstein, Hellgate: London and Final Fantasy

Recorded over some rye whiskey, John tells Chris his origin story, from finding inspiration in animated TV series Robotech and Neo Geo video games, setting up a studio with some friends and convincing producers to let them work on a TV series, to partying at Blur Studio and working with filmmaking legend David Lynch on animations, nightclubs and immersive experiences.

Despite his incredible career, John is a laid-back guest and he offers some of the secrets of his success, his future plans — and thoughts on which franchise director Tim Miller will tackle next.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast248_JohnChalfont.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:42am PDT

After dabbling with acting and music, Greg Downing found his true calling in all things photography related — and the world is a better place for it. His passion for the medium took him from home experiments with plaster casts and turntables to create panoramas of European landmarks to building a new HDRI camera for effects house Rhythm & Hues.

At the same time, Greg has indulged his passion for documenting the wonders of the world with cutting-edge technology. He’s used gigapixel photography, photogrammetry, VR, HDRI, dome theaters and the Google Maps API to capture and display Yosemite’s El Capitan rock formation, Everest’s base camp and historic paintings in Chinese caves. In this podcast, Greg talks about these projects as well as his work with Björk in Iceland on her immersive VR album “Vulnicura” and his collaborations in the world of lightfields with technology pioneer Paul Debevec at Google.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast247_GregDowning.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 12:21pm PDT

A lot has changed in Joy Lea’s life since she last appeared on the CG Garage podcast in 2016. The former games environment designer was hired by MPC LA as an artist on Disney’s The Lion King, which broke new ground in terms of virtual production pipelines. Continuing the trend, Joy has taken on another game-changing role: CG Art Director at augmented reality virtual production company ARwall.

As someone who has switched between games and films, Joy has a unique perspective on the similarities and differences between the industries, as well as their working cultures and attitudes to women. She also talks about the more fun aspects of her job, such as watching The Lion King’s creative team play in virtual reality environments she created and the greenscreen-replacing potential of ARwall.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast246_JoyLea.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:50am PDT

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

Chris’s guest this week is Neil Huxley, a director whose story is worthy of its own movie. Early exposure to The Terminator inspired Neil to follow a career in the film industry but fighting back against bullies at his South London school almost lead him off the rails, until his bouncer-artist dad intervened. In a spectacular comeback, Neil studied multimedia at university and graduated with a first-class honors degree thanks to his short film.

Recorded ahead of his talk at THU, Neil recounts how his career has taken him through title design for movies such as Watchmen and Gamer, creating holographic displays for Avatar and on to Digital Domain offshoot Mothership and then production company Ruffian to direct spectacular and well-received videogame cinematics, including an epic interactive trailer for Middle-earth: Shadow of War. Now, Neil plans to make a feature film that will take him back to the South London locales where his tale began.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast244_NeilHuxley.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:26pm PDT

Over the past 25 years, NVIDIA has gone from gaming hardware specialist to a major player in CGI, automotive technology and even healthcare. In this podcast, Director Ankit Patel joins Chris to reveal how huge innovations in GPUs and AI have helped the company become ubiquitous with fast, smart computing.

It serves as a great little explainer on the world of GPUs, how they have to be configured to work with numerous APIs and processor architectures, and the bottleneck whack-a-mole developers have to play as hardware and software advances. Ankit also goes into detail on NVIDIA's OptiX and CUDA APIs, how the company balances performance and power consumption on notebooks, and its groundbreaking research in machine learning.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast243_AnkitPatel.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:04am PDT

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Cobus Bothma has gone from industrial designer to architectural visualization artist to one of the most important players at Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). Having helped create the international architecture firm’s mile-long Abu Dhabi airport — and managed its enormous data set — Cobus now serves as director of applied research.

In this podcast, Cobus tells Chris how the company seamlessly manages data and projects across its nine global offices — and a tenth virtual one. Other topics include how Chaos Group’s Lavina real-time rendering engine represents a paradigm shift in the way architects create imagery, why Hololens has become the tool of choice for visualizing designs at KPF, and computational design, machine learning and sustainability.

Cobus is a visionary with an ear to the ground, and his insight into the future of technology and architecture is unparalleled.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast242_CobusBothma.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 11:22am PDT

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

One year after his lively appearance on Episode #190, Shader Wizard Zap Andersson is back — and this time he’s talking all things Open Shader Language (OSL). Now a fully integrated part of 3ds Max’s viewport, this open-source language makes it quick and easy to use shaders across multiple rendering platforms, and tweak and develop your own. Zap discusses the development of OSL and how he put it to use via a 3D fractal, as well as revealing some neat 3ds Max tricks.

That’s not all. Zap also tells Chris about his experiences at this year’s SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles, including his thoughts on facial animation and how machine learning could help us cross the uncanny valley. He also discusses his meetings with renowned VFX YouTubers Corridor Digital, how he’s developing his Android app Slightly Annoyed Rodents — and even arm wrestling Chaos Group’s Co-founder, Vlado Koylazov.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast240_ZapAnderson_2019.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:08am PDT

Back in 1999, a short film called “Pepe” introduced the ray-tracing renderer that would become Arnold. Joining Chris for this podcast is Marcos Fajardo, the guy who built the software and helped make the short film after studying SIGGRAPH papers and shareware software. 

Chris shares some questions from Vlado, and gets a fascinating history of Arnold, as Marcos breaks down the renderer’s development, how it got its name, Sony’s investment in the software for animated feature film Monster House, the role it played in bringing Gravity to the big screen, and its recent acquisition by Autodesk.

Marcos comes across as humble but focused, and he’s happy to discuss his strengths and weaknesses, as well as the debt he racked up through developing Arnold. He also discusses the ray tracing of tomorrow and the promises of quantum computing.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast239_MarcosFajardo.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:16am PDT

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

Caustics are everywhere. Defined as concentrations of light refracted or reflected off a specular surface, common examples include the patterns you see on the bottom of a pool and the bright curves of light in a wine glass’s shadow. But they also affect the way you see through windows and the reflections cast by any shiny surface. Turning on caustics in ray traced renders can add subtle levels of realism, but their high computational expense means they are usually omitted.

That is until now. The latest release of the Corona Renderer includes a vastly improved caustics solver — which minimizes resource-intensive overheads. In this podcast, Corona’s Founding Partner and Main Developer Ondřej Karlik, and R&D Partner Jaroslav Křivánek tell Chris why caustics are so hard to compute. They also discuss the approach they took to make them work, their vision for the future of caustics — and whether the new solver will make its way to V-Ray.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast237_Ondrej_Jaroslav_Caustics.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:40am PDT

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.

Creating presidential palaces isn’t all Andre does. His career in VFX has taken him from flipbook animations to working as a senior generalist for companies such as Uncharted Territory and Scanline on movies including Independence Day: Resurgence, Justice League and Tomb Raider. Andre reflects on how hardware, software and the industry have developed and looks to his upcoming project: a model of Russia’s formidable Mi-24 helicopter gunship.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast236_AndreCantarel.mp3
Category:VFX -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

Craig “Xray” Halperin has worked on everything. His career began at the tender age of 13 when he contributed graphics to the TV show The Fall Guy, and as he grew up he became accustomed to projection mapping, motion graphics and non-linear video editing techniques. His big break in VFX came courtesy of a desperate Stan Winston who needed him to digitally improve Brad Pitt’s face for Interview with the Vampire, and he went on to work on Apollo 13, Hollow Man and Kung Fu Panda.

Today, Xray helps create immersive gaming experiences for Insomniac Games. In this podcast, he discusses how the company managed to create a living, breathing interactive Manhattan with 60fps 4K HDR globally illuminated graphics for Marvel’s Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. He also tells Chris about his occasional work in education, including helping Paul Debevec with his Parthenon project. The podcast concludes with Xray’s vision of the future in real-time and new game engines.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast235_AgentXray.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:30pm PDT

The uber-talented Sonja Christoph’s career path has been a twisty one. After graduating from film school in Miami, she worked as an assistant director on-set on Hollywood movies and TV shows. During the 2008 writer’s strike, she was inspired to take a VFX course at Gnomon School in Hollywood, where she discovered a knack for matte paintings. She went on to create environments at ILM for Tomorrowland, Doctor Strange, Agent Carter and even the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run ride at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland.

Now, Sonja has crossed the Atlantic to work for Swedish Ubisoft subsidiary Massive Entertainment on video games including Tom Clancy’s The Division 2. In this podcast, recorded at Total Chaos 2019 ahead of her inspiring main-stage presentation, Sonja talks about the differences between working in VFX and video games in terms of timelines, teamwork and tools. She also discusses how games subtly direct the player, and why they’ve become such a lucrative part of modern culture.

If you’ve ever thought about making the jump from movies to games — or vice-versa — this podcast is for you.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast234_SonjaChristoph.mp3
Category:Games -- posted at: 11:33am PDT

This year’s Total Chaos conference brought together three of the biggest names in the art and science of CG: 3D portrait artist Ian Spriggs, lighting pioneer turned light field specialist Paul Debevec, and anatomy expert and AI exploratory artist Scott Eaton. Each presented compelling talks on the Total Chaos stages, before heading to Chris's mobile booth to record this podcast.

What emerges is a thorough examination of how rapid technological changes are revolutionizing the way CG and digital humans are created. Ian talks about his meticulous portrait of Scott and how GPU technology has sped up his workflows, Paul goes into detail on bringing Scott's giant head into VR via light field technology, and Scott himself discusses his experiments with machine learning to create surreal imagery based on his anatomical database.

The trio offers their thoughts on how the convergence of this technology may change the role of the artist — and how this isn't necessarily anything new. Ian also gives some insight into his upcoming portrait of Chris himself.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast233_PaulDebevec_ScottEaton_IanSpriggs.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:14am PDT

WeWork has become one of this decade’s biggest success stories. This New York-based firm offers flexible shared workspaces for anyone from freelancers to large enterprises, complete with health insurance, an internal social network and events. Its approach has helped businesses thrive, and its model has rolled out to 738 locations in 39 countries with more than 13,000 employees.

Two of those employees are Jake Williams (Creative Manager) and Greg Rogers (Head of Visualization), who are responsible for visualizing the company’s upcoming workspaces. In this podcast, recorded at the Total Chaos conference, Jake and Greg tell Chris how their team has grown exponentially alongside WeWork and The We Company; how working in-house compares to working for an external architectural visualization agency; and they discuss the technology they use to turn around beautiful images in astonishingly short periods of time.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast232_WeWork.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 12:13pm PDT

Mike Hill’s enviable career has seen him wear many hats on big projects in film, TV and games. He designed the formidable Retribution spaceship for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, helped conceptualize some of Game of Thrones’ most iconic sets and scenes, created the intricate Memory Orb device for Blade Runner 2049, and worked out how to unite 18 disparate episodes of Netflix series Love, Death & Robots.

But that’s not all this multifaceted film fanatic does — he’s also becoming renowned for his in-depth lectures on storytelling and visual language in films. In this podcast, he gives a concise version of his theories on Jurassic Park and its theme of parental responsibility, explains how these seep into Spielberg’s other films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Hook, and even talks about what makes Jurassic World so morally bankrupt.

This is a fascinating podcast for anyone who looks for a deeper meaning in movies, and you’ll also find out which big-budget movie Mike’s working on next.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast231_MikeHill.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:48am PDT

Victor and Chris first met at the THU festival a few years ago, and at Chaos Group’s Total Chaos event earlier this year they were finally able to sit down and record this podcast. What follows is a retelling of Victor’s journey from humble 3ds Max user to one of the most revered and distinctive 3D character artists on the planet.

There’s lots of sound advice for artists here, including how Victor has overcome his fears of talking on stage and being interviewed by big companies, how he’s learned from criticism, and taking the first bold steps to become a freelance artist full-time. He also talks about how his dream job didn’t quite meet his expectations and his most recent work on Love, Death & Robots.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast230_VictorHugo.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:22am PDT

Zaha Hadid Architects has always embraced technology to stay ahead of the game — even the late Zaha Hadid was herself using computers to design buildings back in the 90s. Today, the company makes use of software including Revit, Maya, V-Ray, Rhino and Grasshopper to create its iconic parametric designs, as well as lots of bespoke tools to create VR experiences and model human interactions.

In this podcast, recorded at Total Chaos, Lead Designer/VR Developer Jose Pareja Gomez and Designer Marko Margeta offer a comprehensive breakdown of what happens behind-the-scenes at ZHA and how they get many different pieces of technology to play together nicely. They also talk about how they use scripts to make their lives easier and the ways in which real-time ray tracing promises to change workflows in the near future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast229_Jose_Marko_ZHA.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 12:03pm PDT

The CG industry is on the cusp of a dramatic shift. While ray tracing has always been the best way to achieve lifelike CG visuals, hardware and software advances are making it feasible for architects, arch viz artists and designers to use real-time engines to create astonishing imagery and VR experiences.

In this podcast, Chris is joined by Chaos Group’s Vice President of Product Management Phil Miller and V-Ray for Unreal Product Manager Simeon Balabanov. The pair discuss the history of rasterized graphics, how they compare with ray-traced imagery and some of the myths around real-time. You’ll also learn how Chaos Group is making it easier to take ray-traced workflows into real-time with products such as V-Ray for Unreal and Project Lavina.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast228_Simeon_Phil.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 7:18am PDT

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

Gray Marshall has always wanted to tell stories. In his youth, he was inspired to pursue CG by Tron and Pixar’s Luxo Jr., but when he studied film at USC he fell in love with the physical process of filmmaking. After dabbling in motion control cameras, he joined Digital Domain as a VFX supervisor and then founded his own company, Gray Matter FX.

Today, Gray has brought all his industry experience together in his role as a colorist at the Deluxe-owned Company 3. As Gray explains, this oft-overlooked but fascinating job adds a crucial finishing touch to films, uniting scenes provided by different VFX vendors or film crews, correcting visual continuity mistakes and providing a bridge between the editor, director of photography and director.

Using examples from Ant-Man and The Wasp, Roma and Avengers: Endgame, Gray goes into a deeper technical level on the current standards of film production and distribution, and tells Chris how colorists make sure their work looks good on everything from your home TV to a state-of-the-art laser projector.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast226_GrayMarshall.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:13am 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

Homelessness is a growing issue in Los Angeles. The number of people without anywhere to live increases every year, but at the same time, the city is building conspicuous billion-dollar high rises. Architectural illustrator, filmmaker and returning podcast guest Craig Shimahara believes he’s found a way to help solve this complex and oft-overlooked problem.

Craig’s mission begins with Architecture of Hope, an upcoming feature-length documentary which explains the root causes of homelessness, tackles common misconceptions about the homeless and reveals how architects can help create attractive and practical housing to help people off the streets.

This altruistic, optimistic podcast is sure to open your eyes — and your heart — to an unseen crisis.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast224_CraigShimahara.mp3
Category:Archviz -- posted at: 9:30pm PDT

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

This week, Chris is joined by energetic and super smart developer Kat Harris. Kat studied Computer Science Engineering at the University of Virginia, where she also went from pixel artist to vice president of the Student Game Developers club. She integrated numerous technologies into the Unity game engine in her role as Technical and Gaming Evangelist at Microsoft and became the world’s first female Unity Certified Developer. Now, Kat works at pioneering visual development company Magnopus, where she now focuses on mixed reality inside the entertainment world of virtual production.

Kat discusses what it’s like to work and play in male-dominated fields, from experiences with Magic: The Gathering at middle school to the offices of big tech firms. There are also numerous side-tracks into the fields of the internet of things, how sci-fi ideas are shaping the tech and gaming industries, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One and her newfound love of Dungeons and Dragons.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast222_KatHarris.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:09am 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

Since the mid-90s, Greg Lynn has pioneered the use of technology in architecture. When the rest of the industry was using formZ, Greg was experimenting with non-architectural software such as Alias and Maya, using nurbs and fluid sims to create radically different, organic designs. He’s seen masters of the set square become mouse-and-keyboard amateurs and happy accidents become established techniques.

Now, Greg is turning his computer-aided expertise to robotics via Gita, an autonomous robotic companion which can follow its owner on foot journeys and transport up to 45 pounds of shopping or burritos. Greg tells Chris and Lon about the process of designing this lovable bot and ensuring it can track individuals through complex urban environments.

This must-listen podcast also takes in many other facets of the architecture and design industries, including how its business model could be improved and made less resource-intensive, and the role new technology such as Hololens is playing in designs of the future.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast220_GregLynn.mp3
Category:Architecture -- posted at: 11:32am PDT

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

This week, Chris goes behind the scenes at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects. Founded in 1997, this Hollywood-based establishment has grown to a thriving and crucial part of the effects industry, with over 400 students picking up the skills which will land them hot jobs on games and movies.

In this podcast, Chris is joined by Eric Miller, the school’s Chief Technology Officer. His job is to ensure Gnomon is always ahead of industry trends in both hardware and software, managing a vast array of technology and 135 different software packages. Eric also talks about some of the teaching methods Gnomon employs to get students ready for the tough world of visual effects or games, and he offers some great advice on how to prepare for a course at Gnomon.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast218_EricMiller.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:12am PDT

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

The Animatrix, Liquid Television, Ren & Stimpy - there have always been blips of mature content on the animation spectrum, but never anything like Love, Death & Robots. This new anthology kicks open the doors for adult storytelling in the medium, taking Tim Miller and David Fincher’s unique influences, and letting over 14 studios run wild through topics like racism, war, free will and human nature, as they collectively produced 18 jaw-dropping shorts.

This week, series’ VFX supervisor Jerome “Jed” Denjean stops by the podcast to talk about his own history, as well as explain how this project came together, from Tim’s initial ideas to how Blur brought in competing studios to join in on the fun. As the discussion continues, they get into bigger topics like what Love, Death & Robots means for the entertainment industry as a whole, why we could be moving away from longer-form storytelling and into bite-size chunks, and the chances of a second season.

Love, Death and Robots is streaming now.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast216_JeromeDenjean.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 10:16pm PDT

Film and art have fascinated Loic Zimmermann from a young age: he drew all the time and built rocket ship sets in his back garden during his childhood in rural France. His fascination drew him towards studying CG at university, then onto work for innovative game studio Quantic Dream, and his clever method of getting the perfect tattoo won him a job at Luma Pictures in Los Angeles.

As well as working on visual effects for Marvel movies and many more, Loic has directed fascinating documentaries on modern art masters William Wray (Gamma Wray) and Jeremy Mann (A Solitary Mann). He tells Chris how he gets under the skin of these characters without getting in their way, geeks out about video cameras, and gives a little insight into his upcoming documentary Larry.

It’s a fascinating podcast which dives deep into the way artists and filmmakers work, and reveals the numerous connections and passions Chris and Loic have in common.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast215_LoicZimmermann.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:48am PDT

Known as “eSports Mom” — or “CoD Mom” — Kim Meltzer, the CEO of KidKesty Productions, is an unsung heroine of the professional gaming industry. This competitive and lucrative business can whisk kids from their bedrooms to stadiums and make them millions in a short space of time, and in this podcast, Kim tells Chris how she reassures parents that their children are in safe hands — while helping upcoming pro gamers keep their lives and careers on track.

Chris and Kim both have kids who are into video games, and they also talk about some of the benefits of the medium, from building friendships in Fortnite, to just plain building in Minecraft, to the surprising benefits of Call of Duty's simulated war. Kim also highlights some of the ways the industry is likely to change in the future, including her role in advocating gaming scholarships, and latest phenomenon Apex Legends.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast214_KimMeltzer.mp3
Category:Games -- posted at: 10:47am PDT

Digital Giant is using new technology to make it easier and faster to create photorealistic digital content. Joining Chris this week are the company’s Operative Dallas Carroll and VFX Supervisor/Partner Felix Urquiza, who go in depth on the way the company has been set up, and how it’s doing things differently.

CG car work is notoriously finicky. The challenge of making vehicles look real — as well as keeping up with every detail of the car design — increases year on year. Digital Giant has taken years of experience and found new ways to keep their process accurate and efficient, combining both real-time technologies along with offline rendering and making sure everything is synced up.

It’s a fascinating discussion of an area of CG which is at the forefront of the industry, and one which is experiencing sweeping changes thanks to social media and new technology.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast213_DigitalGiant.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:15am PDT

Robh Ruppel has been on Chris’s most-wanted podcast guest list for a long time — and it’s not hard to see why. This talented designer, concept and visual development artist has a wealth of knowledge and experience, which makes this podcast utterly enthralling from start to finish.

Robh tells Chris about his adventurous career so far. From his early movie experience at effects shop Boss Film Studios to a sojourn to Wisconsin for Dungeons and Dragons; his tenure at Disney and his work at Uncharted games studio Naughty Dog; the roles he played on masterful comic-book movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and David Fincher and Tim Miller’s upcoming Love, Death, and Robot.

It’s Robh’s insight into the creative process that truly makes this podcast stand out. Referencing everyone from Sergei Eisenstein to Sergio Leone to Alfonso Cuaron, Robh delves into the technical and artistic choices which produce iconic cinematic imagery. He also talks about how big TVs and streaming services have changed the way entertainment is created and consumed and offers plenty of solid advice to up-and-coming artists.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast212_RobhRuppel.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 9:15am PDT

Andrew Maximov has a vision for how to change the gaming and CG industries from the ground up. His Promethean AI is a super-smart piece of software which allows designers, developers and artists to create and populate environments simply by asking for them via voice or text. It neatly cuts out the fiddly, time-consuming parts of the CG creative process, and allows users to get straight to the fun and interesting parts of decorating virtual sets.

In his chat with Chris, Andrew reveals how his work at Wargaming (World of Tanks) and Naughty Dog (Uncharted and Last of Us) led to the creation of Promethean AI. He and Chris also debate the creative industry's fears about AI's potential to replace jobs en masse, and Promethean AI’s potential applications in other areas such as e-commerce and storytelling.

Want to know more about Andrew and Promethean AI? Come to Total Chaos and see his presentation, as well as many more fascinating and inspiring talks.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast211_AndrewMaximov.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 11:40am PDT

This week, Chris is joined by the versatile talent of John Hewitt. As a child, John was addicted to sketching and drafting everything he saw on TV, and this drove him into automobile design. After helping out on Schwarzenegger movie Eraser, John moved into visual effects and his impressive IMDb page includes credits on Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Star Trek Beyond and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

John’s career has taken him from visual effects in post-production to the movie-planning stages in previz. He discusses the differences between the two: the time-consuming and intricate crafting of beautiful FX shots versus the fast and furious timelines of previz. He also talks about his infamous shader networks for movies such as I, Robot and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, as well as how great previz can help directors make confident decisions and the future of film production.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast210_JohnHewitt.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 11:05am PDT

From the age of two, Colin Aguiar has been fascinated by music. It’s an obsession which has paid off: over the past 20 years he’s scored numerous projects and worked with mentor Mychael Danna on films including Life of Pi. His talent caught the attention of Construct director Kevin Margo who called on his abilities to create an experimental score for his groundbreaking short film.

In this podcast, Colin joins Construct producer Chris Nichols for a chat about the process of creating its score, including some of the challenges of adding dubstep elements, creating themes for specific characters, and working from a temp score. The discussion opens up into a wider discussion of music in general where Colin reveals how he loves everything from North African to German experimental to US industrial styles, and talks about some of his all-time favorite composers.

Scores are an oft-overlooked part of cinema, and Colin gives a huge amount of insight into the most important elements of movie music.

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast209_ColinAguiar.mp3
Category:Movies -- posted at: 4:27pm PDT

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

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

Direct download: CGGarage_Podcast206_MattFairclough.mp3
Category:CGI -- posted at: 10:29am PDT