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Don’t miss the 7 greatest CG Garage podcasts from 2020

This year, Chris has welcomed industry legends Doug Trumbull, Gary Yost, Tim Miller - and more - to the CG Garage podcast. Discover the highlights in his top 7.

As with most people, 2020 was a disruptive year. When I started the podcast 6 years ago, one of my rules was to always do the podcasts in person, usually at our Culver City office. But, since I was also traveling to conferences, I always brought my gear with me to record podcasts all over the world. Podcasting was always a one-on-one event, where I could bond with guests — and I stuck to my guns on this.

Then March 2020 rolled around, and I had to make a choice: I could stop recording until the pandemic went away or find a solution to allow for a high-quality one-on-one experience. Luckily, several online solutions appeared, and I was up and running again.

This opened up the doors to a much wider variety of guests. I could meet with people all over the world, and those with tight schedules found that they could spare an hour of their time. So while the podcast has changed, I am grateful that this situation forced me to be more flexible with my rules. On top of that, it opened up the doors to us doing videos of each episode, something that we had considered for a long time.

With that being said, here are my top seven favorite episodes of 2020. 

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Close Encounters with VFX star Doug Trumbull

This year, I finally got Doug Trumbull as a guest. Having worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Doug knows more about how optics work on film than anyone. I was always hoping to do a podcast with him, but his remote location and busy schedule made it hard to do it in person. Thanks to switching to remote recording, we were finally able to do an episode with him — and it’s as epic as the films he’s worked on.

Episode 300 celebrates 3ds Max’s 30th anniversary with creator Gary Yost

If you had told me 27 years ago, when I first started using 3D Studio, that I would be doing a podcast with Gary Yost, I would have asked: “What’s a podcast?” But I also would have been amazed as his software changed everything that I have done. We celebrated the 300th episode of CG Garage and the 30th Anniversary of 3D Studio with this amazing episode.

Tim Miller on going from “Deadpool” to “Terminator: Dark Fate”

Tim has been a frequent guest on the podcast and has always been generous with his time and his candor. Picking up where we left off after the 100th episode, Tim talks about the challenges of directing a $200 million movie such as Terminator: Dark Fate. He also tells us how he finally realized the dream he mentioned in 2015, in episode 39, and created the animated anthology he always wanted: Love, Death and Robots. I can’t wait for season two!

Podcasting from home 

Want to know what it takes to create a great-quality podcast when your guest is on the other side of the planet?

In this article, Chris guides you through the hardware, software and teddy bears that have helped him set up a home recording studio.

Foundry’s CEO Jody Madden teaches me leadership

I have always been impressed with Jody’s management style and first experienced it during her time at Digital Domain. Through the highs and lows, she always gave me confidence that there was a solid plan that we could stand by. She is an excellent communicator who facilitates innovation in the tech world. As the CEO of Foundry, she leads a lot of technology that the world of VFX is dependent on.

She was a fantastic boss — and an even better podcast guest.

Sally Slade, Kat Harris, and Emily van Belleghem of Magnopus take over CG Garage

These three talented, funny and smart employees of cutting-edge experience studio Magnopus did an amazing job taking over the podcast for this episode. They offered some unique views of diversity in the tech industry and put forward ideas of basic attitudes and expectations that we should all live by.

It is no secret that being a woman in the tech world has many challenges, but Sally Slade, Kat Harris and Emily Van Belleghem tell us how we can overcome them. And, hopefully, we can convince them to take over the podcast again one day.

Digital humans, deep fakes — and the Screen Actors’ Guild

Many of you know of my interest in digital humans in the world of computer graphics. Before this pandemic forced us into a lockdown, I had the opportunity to be on a panel in Las Vegas hosted by the SAG-AFTRA, where I met two very interesting people that offered unique perspectives on the roles of digital humans. So while these are two separate episodes, they are very much related.

Wael Abd-Almageed talks about the need to detect real from fake. Using the same technology used to make deep fakes, Wael is developing tools that give images a score of whether it is real. We then go into an in-depth discussion on the ethics of digital humans.

It gets even more interesting when you follow this up with the conversation I had with Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, COO and General Council of SAG-AFTRA. We talk about the rights of actors and their own representation and protection. If you want to have a movie with Tom Cruise, can you just deep fake him into your movie because you can’t afford him? Some of the answers might surprise you.

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