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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!




  • Agency: Sky
  • Producer: Lynn Avser
  • Creative Director: Rose James
  • Creatives: Kenny Reynolds


  • Production Company: Sky
  • Director: Rose James
  • Producer: Lynn Avser


  • Editing Company: Sky
  • Editor: Simon Hughes

Post-Production / VFX

  • Post-Production / VFX Company: The Mill
  • VFX Producer: Andrew Sommerville
  • Shoot Supervisor: Andy Nicholas
  • 2D Lead Artists: Andy Dill
  • 3D Lead Artists: Andy Nicholas
  • 2D Artists: Al Ford
  • 3D Artists: Paul Donnellan, Adrian Russell, Ciaran Moloney, Monica Taddei, Jake Flint, Natalie Rocks, Allyn Lawson, Kwai Ip, Chris McDonald, Stuart Turnbull
  • Art Director - Ross Urien
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