Saying Goodbye to Brick and Mortar

A 10lb laptop, iMac and a coffee maker. When I first started CG Cookie 10 years ago, this was our studio below, which has evolved into a much loved company HQ. But now, it’s time to say goodbye.

Having a brick-and-mortar location used to feel necessary

What you don’t see in the 2008 picture above is the Skype chat with my now good friend and partner Jonathan Williamson, probably feverishly debating why the CG Cookie servers crashed and how to add a “Blog” feature to the website. We were collaborating on CG Cookie remotely - which is now a buzz term but back then, it was still a mildly suspect way to run a business.

2 years of collaborating without meeting face to face

Jonathan and I were as remote as it gets. Nearly two years would pass before we’d even meet in person when we met in Illinois to look for our first studio space

Why get a studio? 

It was 2010: YouTube was 4 years old, streaming video hadn’t yet gone mainstream, digital artists were learning how to build their own audiences online. It was an exciting time and it seemed like the natural order of things; create a startup, gain traction and get a physical space to be taken seriously as a business.

Setting Camp in Illinois

Geneva, Il is a wonderful small town filled with pubs (important), good food (even more important) and paths along the river (to look at through the window). It was here that we found the perfect space for CG Cookie HQ in 2010. 

Over the years, it has housed many company retreats, with the growing Cookie crew (now 15 humans scattered over this pale blue dot) sleeping here, brainstorming and playing Settlers of Catan for a few days each year. The walls boast artwork from CG Cookie history: Piero, Swamp Creature, Clown Sculpture, Eat Sheep characters and, of course, CG Cookie mascot, Baker.  

Rethinking the whole Studio thing

Through challenges and obsessive iterating to build a company we are all proud to work for, CG Cookie has grown. A lot. And while it’s nice to have our own studio and bask in the blue light and electromagnetic radiation, our need for a physical space has shrunk. 

For the majority of the year, I am the main one to use the space. During the summer months when my kiddos are at home, it is a nice place for me to go focus (aka escape). Occasionally, we’ll host an event or bring on a contractor to help us with a project. 

But the reality of CG Cookie culture lives on through the ever widening internet tubes: our Slack and Basecamp never stop buzzing, but the studio is quiet. 

Which is why, at the 10 year anniversary of CG Cookie, we’ve decided to say goodbye to the studio. It’s bittersweet because of the emotional connection; so many cool projects, people and experiences! But not being tied down to a physical location feels right. More organic, more nimble, more fitting to what we are: a fast-changing business, always adapting, always improving, fueled by the same passion that first got us started.

Our next company retreat could be anywhere (Suggestions welcome. Must have good coffee.). ☕️

And maybe, in another 10 years we’ll be freezing our physical bodies and uploading our consciousness to a cloud, who knows? We’re here for it. 

Let the next chapter of CG Cookie begin! 🍪

Newsletter Signup

Get fresh Blender content, training and offers straight to your inbox. Change your mind, unsubscribe at any time.

  • Omar Domenech (dostovel)

    Next company retreat has to be in a cookie factory in Switzerland, because no matter what, you can't CGI the sweet smell of freshly baked cookies.

  • Zsolt Cseh (csehz)

    Very interesting to see the history with a physical company space, thanks Wes for sharing and finding as a good idea to show more insight kind of things

  • David Frazier (pointoflife14)

    Think I felt a tear as well guys, wow! Come do a retreat in Louisville!

  • smurfmier1985

    Wow, already 10 years? Congrats guys! Be proud of all the awesome things you've accomplished, it's an amazing community and learning hub you've build here. I second dostovel suggestion for a cookie factory, it's a no brainer! We bake good cookies here in the Netherlands too ;-)

  • Paulo Alves (tr4zodone)

    You guys do a wonderful job, regardless of where you're working from. Keep it up!

  • purplekaleidoscope77

    dostovel OMG COOKIES!

  • Matt Dickun (az93)

    I am sorry to hear that.

  • clintcay

    Hey Wes, I've been working remotely for four years now. I really like working using a tool called Sococo -- it is a virtual office where you can share your screen, etc. It is so much better than trying to arrange meetings with Skype.

  • Mark Smith (me1958424)

    been following along mostly (maybe) from the beginning... has been a good run so I'll keep following... makes sense if it's mostly one person for the year that it's not really needed anymore... good luck!!

  • Simon Hart (simonwildcat)

    CG Cookie played a BIG role in helping me to reinvent my career after the games industry collapsed in Australia post-GFC. Thanks people, good luck with the new chapter!

  • anarchymedes

    So, it was Geneva, Illinois! Until I saw the sub-title and the pictures, I thought it was the Switzerland Geneva, and all these 'Jonathan and I were as remote as it gets' only seemed to confirm it... The time zone difference is one of the biggest problems with the remote collaboration (and I mean, really remote): for example, for me (UTC +10) to watch a live streaming of a tutorial from UTC - 6 required 'chucking in a sickie' as we call it.

  • eknightger

    You are not alone, the mobile workforce is a real trend now and many companies have their employees work remote or home based to save cost and carbon footprint. Working this way now for more than a decade, important is that you keep a schedule to limit the time, arrange for sync (online meetings, preferably with a high quality video) and get one of the remote working suites (Webex teams, MS Teams, or a smaller solution that does the same). Also recommend you check out TeamSpeak (it is from gaming, but low cost and really does your instant comms trick).

  • Bob Klassen (kingstonbob)

    You guys are smart and agile. You'll find a way.

  • Pavel Denisjuk (pavel910)

    In my small web agency we work 100% remote for the last 5+ years and we only meet like 1-2 times a year to have a dinner and just hang out all together. We even live in different countries, so I am sure you will not feel the impact of not having an office.

    Best of luck, and as long as this site is up and running, the world of 3D is in good hands :)
    Keep the great stuff coming!

  • Ryan Sweeney (sweenist)

    Gotta do what makes sense. Love what you guys have been doing over the years! Keeping iterating and experimenting!

  • Keith (keithc)

    Kind of sad, but probably a good move. Best of luck in the future, and I can't (personally) wait till I can get the time to get back into things here.

  • Paul Haynes (paulhaynes1955)

    Worked from home for many years. If you expect to get anything done ... turn off email notifications :)

  • Alan Anderson (awa)

    Born too late to soak in the skills y'all have. But love the sweetness of success, and wish you all (and those yet to come), the very best wishes for the future. Never give up. AA.

  • Sean Lake (srlake31470)

    Such awesome folks. Keep educating, sharing and encouraging the Blender world.

  • jmckee

    I am new to CG Cookie and amazed to see so much progress! I had no idea there was so much going on with technology, and I have a new respect for all you guys behind the progress! Keep on shining guys!!!

CG Cookie

Learn Art. Make Dough.

Enroll in to our digital arts program and choose from four different disciplines; each with quick paths to measured success baked just for you.

Get StartedorLearn More