30 Years of The Mill | Real-Time VFX Creative Director, Russell Tickner

To celebrate ‘30 Years Of The Mill’ we are turning our focus to the extraordinary people behind our creativity. We asked a snapshot of 30 Makers from across The Mill to share their most inspiring projects from the past, alongside their future-facing insights on the advertising industry and evolution of creative technology. Next up we have Real-Time VFX Creative Director, Russell Tickner who delves into the fearless nature of Levi's 'Drug Store' and how technology will change the way we work over the next decade.
Community December 16, 2020

What piece of work inspired you to get into a career at The Mill & why? 

Levi’s ‘Drug Store’ is an outstanding commercial from The Mill’s thirty-year legacy. It stands testament to the brave commissioning and bold creativity that epitomised the advertising industry at the time and despite it being over twenty-five years old it has lost none of its charm. The concept, narrative twist, photography, direction, casting and music are all incredible.

Advertising should be a space where art meets commerce. You can clearly see here the influence of O. Winston Link’s photography on the visual style of this commercial, if you’re unaware of his story and you’re interested in photography you’re in for a treat.

What will be the most defining change in the creative industry over the next decade?

New technologies will allow creatives to work far more intuitively and collaboratively. Global incentives like medicine, finance and the automotive industry are driving forward (no pun intended) the rapid development and huge investment in AI software and hardware. 

These new technologies are built to handle huge data sets and therefore are applicable to computer graphic tasks. We are already reaping the benefits with NVidia’s RTX Turing chips breaking through the real-time raytracing barrier, and AI being used to upscale footage to 8K. New cloud-based collaborative tools will allow global teams to work together, agnostic tools will connect different software seamlessly, real-time tools will offer greater opportunity to experiment and boldly go where no one has gone before.


Discover more about 30 Years of The Mill here. We would like to thank everyone who has been part of our history – our clients, our partners, our collaborators and our staff past and present. All of you have been central to making our first 30 years so extraordinary.

You can also view Russell’s work via his Creator Profile.

Real-Time VFX Creative Director | Russell Tickner