Brief

Create a highly-stylized cinematic campaign filled with action-packed trailers to announce the consecutive seasons of the successful game ‘Apex Legends’.

Approach

Mill Co-Directors David Lawson and Lisha Tan set out to create a vivid and unique immersive world. They set the 'Moving Concept Art' look with a huge deck of references and close collaboration with Respawn on their archive gaming concepts and existing universe. The pairing of two directors from different disciplines; Lisha with a background in illustration and design and David with his CG-led perspective, proved key to crafting the distinctive hand-painted aesthetic.

Impact

Four bold, iconic and distinctive films that were viewed by millions across the world. Apex Legends Season 3 'Meltdown Launch' received 7.5 million views, Apex Legends Season 2 'Battle Charge' received over 2.4 million views, Apex Legends 'Reveal Trailer' received over 5.4 million views and Apex Legends 'Assimilation Launch' has gained 1.4 million views so far.

Client

Respawn Entertainment

Brand

Respawn Entertainment

Production Company

The Mill

Director

Mill Co-Directors David Lawson and Lisha Tan

Capabilities

Direction / Animation / Design / Colour / VFX / Editorial

“The constant communication with Respawn on the dialogue and tone of the script ensured we honored the complex personalities of the game’s characters. We added another layer of authenticity with the opportunity to have a multi-day shoot with performances by Roger Craig Smith and Shantel VanSanten, the actors who bring Mirage and Wraith to life in the game. Every scene was worked through using motion-capture technology including stunt work such as rope work and zip lining. Then, throughout the project, we were constantly iterating and interrogating each shot, to ensure we found the middle ground between the look being too cartoony or too realistic. ”
David Lawson, Mill Director
“It was a privilege to immerse myself in a world that I already found creatively inspiring, to showcase the backstory and personality of these characters for this huge launch. The seamless creative collaboration with an extraordinary team, my background in design and illustration, and David’s award-winning CG experience enabled us to create a new way of telling the complex characters’ stories, whilst honoring the legacy of the Titanfall universe. ”
Lisha Tan, Mill Director
“Due to the style of the trailer, traditional photographic 2D methods for integration and depth creation had to be approached in a different way. Texture was added to anything that would typically become soft and out of focus to retain the feeling of painted brush strokes. The edges of characters were enhanced and made more visible to give them a cel shaded / cartoon aesthetic.”
Timothy Crabtree, 2D Lead Artist
“Finding a way to make the iconic characters look painted but not feel flat. We brought them to life through a fine balance of texture, interactive lighting / shading and contouring. ”
Chris Bayol, 3D Lead Artist / Lighting Supervisor

Credits

Client
Client Respawn Entertainment
Executive Producer Drew McCoy
Creative Director Drew Stauffer
Writers Manny Hagopian, Thomas Casiello
Producer Jon Judelson
Production Company
Directors David Lawson, Lisha Tan
Executive Producer Elizabeth Newman
Senior Producer Gabriel Blanco
Associate Producer James Morse
Shoot Supervisors: Chris Bayol, Jacob Bergman
Creative Development Robert Lewis
Line Producer Alicia Haldenwang
Production Coordinator Hector Carranza
Production Assistant Karina Gonzalez
VFX
VFX The Mill
Senior Producer Ben Foster
Producer Daniel Beldy
Production Coordinator Estelle Matranga
Creative Director David Lawson, Lisha Tan
VFX Supervisor Chris Bayol
Art Director/Lead Matte Painting Ed Laag
Shoot Supervisors Chris Bayol, Jacob Bergman
2D Lead Evan Langley
Deputy Head Of CG Chris Bayol
Animation Supervisor Jacob Bergman
CG Lighting Lead Ziming Liu
FX Supervisor Daniel Stern
CG Asset Leads Samantha Pedregon, Joel Kittle, Melanie Okamura
Rigging Supervisor Nole Murphy
2D Artists Evan Langley, Franz Kol, Lenz Kol, Dag Ivarsoy, Dylan Streiff, Roman Ivarsoy, Stephen Holbrook, Stephen Paragone
3D Artists Chris Bayol, Ziming Liu, Dustin Leon, Samantha Pedregon, Yarin Manes, Jeremy Ramirez, Derrick Sesson, Victor Duncan, Matthew Choy, Chin Tin, Melanie Okamura, Joel Kittle, Michael Kash, Noah Schnapp, Sharlene Yin, Chris Goodrich, Robert Vignone, Anthony Thomas, Daniel Stern, Charles Storniolo, Hiroshi Tsubokawa, Jae Jun Yi, James Robinson, Jason Jansky, Lamarcus Harvey, Malcom Moseley, Matt Bohnert, James Ellis
Matte Paintings Ed Laag, Kevin Moran, Bill Lu, Gary Inloes, Itai Muller, Andy Wheater
Animation Jacob Bergman, Randy Link, Justin Tirado, John Field, Joshua Delaney, Katie Yancey, Gustavo Gonzales, Dan Warom, Matt Sackley, Riyad Hassan
Design Taehoon Park
Motion Graphics William Mendoza
Art Department Hakob Minasian, Wendy Yoon
Pipeline TD Phil Mayer
Production Coordinator Dylan Ptak
Storyboard Artist Mark Alan Yates
Colour
Colourist Matthew Osbourne
Executive Producer, Colour Linda Jackson
Senior Colour Producer Liza Kerlin
Production Coordinator Jessica Amburgey
Colour Assist Gemma Parr, Nate Seymour