From the get-go, the concept of building a fully CG anthropomorphized snail that was delivering a bit of bad news had The Mill creative team excited. 3D lead Christian Nielsen worked closely with The Martin Agency creatives to figure out the snail's personality, quirks and mannerisms. Made to be slightly cuter and rounder than the average snail, much attention was given to how it would actually wear glasses.
Producer Colin Blaney adds "This was The Mill's first fully CG photoreal snail. Building completely from scratch always takes a good amount of research and many hours of referencing footage, pictures and anatomy to get the right look and feel for the character."
The snail ended up being sculpted, then textured by hand in the CG environment. A proprietary tool was built by the R&D team specifically to animate his amorphous shape. The trail of slime was particularly tricky to get right. After experimenting with various slimy substances, rubber cement won out as being the most like a snail trail's goo.
The question of how the snail actually puts on the glasses and tie each morning was a topic of much discussion among the CG team. But some things need to stay a mystery!