Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Thinking about entering your showreel into this year's CG Whiz competition for a
chance to win a host of top prizes including a twelve-week work
placement here at The Mill, but struggling for inspiration?
Lee Danskin, Escape Studios' Training
Director and one of the competition's judges, offers his top tips
and insights into what he and the judges will be looking for in the
What will we be looking for from amateur
Originality will be the main driver here. People need to get away
from the usual cars and aliens approach and show us something that
really stays front of mind. What matters most is good attention to
base artistic skills, good proportions on models, accuracy and
attention to detail. An entry that includes all this will catch the
In previous years a lot of entries have been generalist,
rather than specialised VFX or compositing, for example. What would
you say to someone who isn't sure what their specialism should
If you're unsure of what your specialism is then the best thing to
do is enter work that shows off your skills in the best light.
We're more interested at this stage in the amateur entries that
show a person's artistic take on the subject. If you win, we can
help finesse your skills and find your niche!
What's the most common mistake CG Whiz entries
People seem to think quantity is more important than quality. We
get quite a few long pieces of dubious quality, that don't have any
real attention to detail or show off very artistic skills. It's
much better to concentrate your efforts in a shorter piece:
remember, we want to see your talents as a CG artist, not a
Do you expect the standard of entries to be higher than
As the competition keeps growing in size and people become more
aware of it, the more diverse the entry pool becomes. This will
only drive the quality up as each person tries to improve on what
they've seen before.
Are amateurs getting better as the technology available
becomes more accessible?
Technology does not make an artist! The fact that you can hit 3
buttons and you get a generic image does not make you an artist.
This is the mistake a lot of people starting out CG believe.
Knowing the technology, the software, is important, but what's more
important is having the vision and the talent to visualise an
image, be able to recreate it and make it believable. That's the
real skill behind CG, and what we're really looking for.
Click here to visit Escape
Studios' Facebook page and enter CG Whiz now!
Friday, October 14, 2011
We are delighted to have been named number one in Televisual
magazine's Facilities 50 for the third consecutive
As well as topping the overall list, we also came first in the 'Ad
Producer Favourite' poll and were voted number one in the 'Peer
London MD Darren O'Kelly, said: "To have achieved the top spot
in the Facilities 50 three years in a row is absolutely fantastic
and we are incredibly proud of all the hard work everyone at The
Mill has put in to make this possible.
"We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our clients and
partners for their continuing support in making 2011 such a great
See the full Facilities 50 list here:
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
We are delighted to be supporting the search for the new wave of
3D talent as a key partner of Escape Studios' annual CG Whiz competition, which officially
kicks off today!
As part of the impressive prize package worth over £20,000, the
winner of the 'Amateurs category' will be able to do a 12 week work
placement at The Mill at either our London or one of our US
studios, where they will be able to work alongside our
award-winning 3D team on a range of creative projects.
Alongside partners 3D Artist, Digital Artist, CGSociety, Autodesk and Hewlett Packard (HP),
we hope to uncover the future stars of the CG industry!
Tom Bussell, our Head of 3D, is one of the judges of this year's
competition. "At The Mill, our work is driven by our artists so we
are always looking to develop and attract the best new talent to
enable us to create the very best visual effects. CG Whiz is
a fantastic chance for budding CG artists to have their work seen
by the professionals and could open the door for even further
Since the competition launched in 2009, we have welcomed a
number of CG Whiz entrants to The Mill. Adam Droy, who won
the 2009 competition, is now a full-time member of our London 3D
team and has worked on commercials including Axe/Lynx 'Even Angels Will Fall', Heineken
Date' and the new Audi A6 spot 'Hummingbird'. The Mill
LA is looking forward to welcoming Stu Schwartz who won last year's
competition for his placement prize in the next few weeks.
New to this year's competition is the addition of a 'Young Pros
category' for young professionals already working in the
industry. You will also have to opportunity to cast your vote
for your favourite entries in the new 'Users Choice Awards'.
To enter CG Whiz 2011, all you need to do is submit a showreel
or set of stills combined into a video via Escape Studios' Facebook
The competition closes on November 12th 2012 and winners will be
revealed in December, so get cracking with your entry and best of
Monday, October 10, 2011
Where can you see our favourite Mr. Men, lovable picnic moocher
Yogi Bear, 'sniggering hound' Muttley, and KITT, the talking car
from the Knight Rider TV series, all in one place?
This ultimate collection of nostalgic pop-culture icons have
been brought together for the first time by Müller, Britain's most
popular yogurt and chilled pot dessert brand, to celebrate its new
campaign, on which we collaborated alongside TBWA\London, Partizan
and director Antoine Bardou-Jacquet.
Central to the company's biggest ever marketing push is a
£20million integrated advertising campaign, which launched on
Saturday night during the first round of this year's The X Factor
live finals on ITV1. The epic, 90-second commercial aired
simultaneously across 50 channels, including the coveted slot
during Britain's biggest entertainment show. Central to the
campaign is the idea of "stirring a little bit of Wünder" into
The commercial features a host of much-loved famous characters
transforming a dull, grey cityscape into a vibrant world of bright
colours, rainbows and unicorns.
The Mill's team of VFX artists, led by Richard de Carteret (2D)
and Dave Fleet (3D), were responsible for not only ensuring the
iconic stars and all the other CG elements were seamlessly
integrated into the spot, but also for creating all other CG
elements. These including everything from the colourful
rainbows and swirling clouds, to the set extensions, unicorns,
wrecking ball and crane, flying fruit pieces as well as the
mechanical Müller robot and the transforming van.
Richard de Carteret, our lead 2D explains: "As the narrative of
the spot called for KITT and the robot / Yogi bear scene to appear
overcast and grey we had to re-light each plate before any CG or
cartoon characters could be composited. This meant painting out all
strong shadows and flattening and / or grading any strong source of
light. There was also extensive clean-up of fire escapes and
signage followed by the integration of matte paintings which were
used to augment the skyline and re-shape the city. Every single
shot had been re-worked and some, like the demolition sequence, had
been created from only a few stills taken on location. Once all
plates were created, extensive compositing of the CG elements took
place. We introduced a lot of animated detail and atmospherics as
well as creating the graphic dash-board of KITT."
The biggest challenge faced by our VFX team was the integration
of the cartoon characters into each scene, especially the "splat"
sequence. Richard continues, "Each character had to still
feel cartoon and graphic-like, whilst actually be part of the
shot. The splat shots consisted of a live action plate, real
fruit shot at high speed against blue screen and of course, the 2D
cell animation. The animators, after taking our timings and
position of each character, created a very clever morph which
literally unfolded each figure into the shot. This helped us create
a seamless transition from bureaucrat to Mr Man."
The 'Wünderful Stuff' multi-media campaign will air from
8th October and incorporates television, video
on-demand, outdoor, online, print, cinema, social media and
point-of-sale advertising. Creative build billboards will see the
characters come to life across prime locations such as London's
Cromwell Road, the busiest road in Europe, and the full 90-second
commercial will be rolled out across some of the biggest films of
"The aim of the 'Wünderful Stuff' campaign is to get
consumers to sit up and take notice", says Lee Rolston, Marketing
Director at Müller Dairy. "Over the years we have continued to stir
in an imaginative mix of ingredients to turn a product which was
seen as plain and ordinary into something which is fun and
"That's exactly what the 'Wünderful Stuff' campaign
sets out to do. It captures the essence of the Müller brand which
is essentially all about the enjoyment and fun of a great-tasting
Dedé Laurentino, Executive Creative Director at TBWA\London,
added: "I think it's great that a brand should remind us to stir a
bit of wonder in our days, and beat the mundane out of our lives.
Such a mission needs to reach as many people as we can -- and talk
to their heart. It's a rallying cry. It has to be truly
Thursday, October 06, 2011
We're always keen to find the next generation of VFX talent, so
we've teamed up with RedBull to launch Canimation - a competition
to find the animation stars of the future!
Using a can of RedBull as inspiration, the competition
encourages you to… "give your creativity wings", by creating an
animation for one of three categories - Stop-motion, CGI and
Drawn. Entries will then be judged by five top industry
judges - including Mill TV & Film's very own James Farrington -
and the winners will get the opportunity to win a host of
prizes. The lucky winner of the CGI Student category will get
a two month work placement at The Mill, where they can join our
BAFTA-winning Mill Film & TV team.
The deadline for entries is 15th November 2011, so
you have plenty of time to work on your ideas. Full
competition rules and details can be found on the official
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
In this Photo: Mario, Mario and Mario
The Mill NY is happy to announce that Mario
Stipinovich has joined our Mill Design division as
creative director. Stipinovich had been
freelancing at The Mill prior to his fulltime appointment, working
closely with Design Director Jeff Stevens on projects for brands
such as Bose, Pantech, State Farm, DirecTV and Verizon, to note
just a few.
"I have had Mario's website bookmarked for a very long time," says
Stevens. "He has been highly regarded in the New York scene for
quite a while. With the draw of Mill Design, Mario finally showed
up on our doorstep and I knew he was the future Creative Director
for our department. His broad view of creative storytelling
allows him to see any creative task from many angles.
"His expansive capabilities from design and motion graphics to
visual effects and digital represent exactly what we are doing here
at The Mill," Stevens continues. "We have found in Mario, the
glue which has begun to marry and unify our efforts. "
Prior to joining The Mill, Stipinovich was a director at Brand New
School London. After two years in the company's New York office as
a director, where he worked on the 2010 Silver Lion and AICP
honoree, ESPN Monday Night Football "Interactive Storefront," he
moved to London to establish their first overseas office. In
addition to directing, he was also responsible for scouting and
recruiting local talent as well as pursuing new business
opportunities with London-based agencies.