Chris Nichols rounds up the must-listen-to podcasts of last year, featuring Hollywood directors, pioneering architects, VFX wizards — and esports matriarchs.
The CG Garage podcast went from strength to strength in 2019. It expanded in new directions, with characters from the worlds of esports, VR development and exciting AI-powered software joining the people behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; The Lion King; Love, Death & Robots; John Wick 3: Parabellum and Avatar.
Once again, we asked host Chris Nichols to select his top 10 favorite podcasts of 2019, and you’ll also find the 5 most-listened-to podcasts below.
Also new for 2020 are podcast transcripts, so you can read and listen to the interviews! You'll find them on the CG Garage homepage.
1. Peter Ramsey
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s fresh and vibrant take on a familiar origin story connected with audiences and won an Oscar. In his podcast, the film’s co-director, Peter Ramsey, discusses a varied career that has taken in Francis Ford Coppolla’s Dracula, Rise of the Guardians and Spidey’s animated outing.
2. Robert Legato
The Lion King’s VFX supervisor Robert Legato is a key player in the world of effects, mixing traditional filmmaking techniques with cutting-edge digital technology and nabbing Oscars for Titanic, Hugo and The Jungle Book. This is a potted history of VFX, a guide to the practicalities of filmmaking and a whos-who of Hollywood directors in one concise podcast.
3. Greg Lynn
Greg Lynn has reshaped architecture — literally. His experiments with non-architectural software such as Alias and Maya created organic designs that sent shockwaves through the industry. He talks about the role technology continues to play in architecture, as well as Gita, an autonomous robotic companion which can carry shopping.
4. Jerome Denjean
Tim Miller and David Fincher’s Netflix series Love, Death & Robots resurrected the idea of adult storytelling in animation — and the behind-the-scenes story is as interesting as the ones contained in the show. Blur’s Jerome “Jed” Denjean, the series’ VFX supervisor, discusses how the project came together, working with competing studios to craft the VFX and what it means for the future of the industry.
5. Marcos Fajardo
At SIGGRAPH, Chris had the chance to catch up with Marcos Fajardo, the creator of the Arnold ray-traced renderer. Marcos reveals how he built the software from scratch using shareware software and SIGGRAPH papers, its acquisition by Autodesk — and the Austrian actor who inspired its name.
In Memoriam: Jaroslav Křivánek
2019 ended on a sad note for Chaos Group with the unexpected passing of Corona R&D Partner, Jaroslav “Jarda” Křivánek. In this podcast, recorded at SIGGRAPH in August, Jarda and Corona’s Founder Ondřej Karlík discuss the implementation of caustics in their render engine.
We miss you, Jarda.
6. Darin Grant
For his second podcast, Darin Grant delivers more invaluable insight into the trends and tech of the VFX industry, including recent mergers and acquisitions, and the emergence of cloud computing. He also talks about his new role at Animal Logic, the company behind effects for The Lego Movie 2, The Matrix and Happy Feet.
6. Kim Meltzer
Young professional gamers can go from living off their parents’ allowance to being millionaires overnight. Overseeing these cyber athletes is Kim Meltzer — aka CoD Mom — who keeps them in check and reassures parents that this lucrative industry is legit. This is a fascinating insight into a very modern phenomenon.
8. Neil Huxley
Prodigiously talented and totally charming director Neil Huxley’s life has taken him from down-and-out to mega movies including Avatar, Watchmen and Gamer, and onto spectacular game cinematics for titles including Middle-earth: Shadow of War. He tells Chris his incredible story.
9. Kat Harris
Kat Harris’ wide-eyed enthusiasm for all things tech is contagious. She’s the first-ever female Unity Certified Developer, she served as a tech evangelist at Microsoft and, on the side, she’s a huge fan of videogames, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons. Kat currently serves as VR/AR developer at innovative tech company Magnopus, and this podcast is a fascinating view from a new generation of technology professionals.
10. Alex Nice and Robert Nederhorst
In typical John Wick style, the most recent entry of the franchise includes horse/motorbike chases, people falling off buildings, truly disgusting alleyways and broken glass. Lots of broken glass. In this podcast, Alex Nice (Concept Artist) and Robert Nederhorst (VFX Supervisor) tell Chris how it was all done.