Ever wondered how a star is made? Sky Creative and The Mill take
us through the how to steps, as they assemble Robbie Williams out
of light and particle effects.
Mill Art Director Ross Urien worked with Sky Director Rose James
to develop the overall look and concept of how Robbie transitions
and forms. Ross explains, "One of the biggest challenges was
finding the right balance between the particle & 3D effects and
keeping it recognisably Robbie, especially in the early stages when
he just begins to form."
Next, Robbie was shot on a studio turntable, giving The Mill's
artists all of the necessary lighting passes and references. Lead
by Andy Nicholas, our 3D team then built a CG double of Robbie and
stadium environment using Maya and XSI. The complex particle
simulation work was developed in Houdini. It took a number of weeks
of R&D to get the look right - with multiple different
approaches on Robbie's formation and disintegration. "The decision
to use Robbie's tattoo for one of the shots was instrumental in
defining the graphical language for the whole piece", explains The
Mill's 3D Artist and Shoot Supervisor, Andy Nicholas. " The trails
were animated to grow like a plant with branches splitting off, and
the timing was crucial to get the composition working in
conjunction with what we filmed." Finally, The Mill's 2D Lead, Andy
Dill, worked for a number of weeks in Flame to composite the
various 3D elements, as well as adding some additional atmospheric
elements and lighting effects.
"I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about working with
such a famous celebrity," confesses Nicholas, "But Robbie seemed to
be very used to the sort of processes one needs to go through
during an effects heavy shoot. He was an absolute pro and was very
accommodating with helping us get everything we needed."
With Robbie's help The Mill was able developed a number of
versions - everything from an ident to a teaser and promo. That
means more Robbie to go around!