Extraordinary Entertainment | Mill 2D assist Alfie Vaughan on crafting content for YouTube and Advertising

Work September 26, 2022

What is your role at The Mill?
My role at The Mill is a 2D artist which means I work as a compositor, specifically using Nuke in my case.

Aside from being creative at The Mill you also have a YouTube channel. How does crafting VFX for advertising differ to creating content for YouTube?

There are a lot of similarities between what I do at work and what I do when making YouTube videos – and also a lot of differences as well. Generally speaking, all the techniques and approaches are the same. I use the same skills across both. The differences are mainly just in terms of scale, budget, time restraints etc. What I like about making my own videos is I have complete creative control. I can work on them as long as I like without a deadline. The subject matter can be anything that interests and inspires me to make something cool. And being the only artist involved, I get to be a part of the whole process, including the CG aspects which usually is done by other (far more competent) professionals when it’s a project within The Mill.

How has the likes of YouTube aided your VFX skills throughout the years?

Making my own YouTube videos has actually been incredible beneficial for my role at work. It involves me in parts of the process that I see less of in a professional setting. For example being on set and working as a VFX supervisor. When planning some of my more complicated projects I’ve had to think very carefully about how to approach them to make the post work as streamlined as possible. This could be thinking about what to try and do practically vs what to do with CG/compositing. Over the last few years as I’ve done more ambitious pieces of work outside of my day job, it’s given me the confidence and experience to approach going on set for much larger projects at The Mill without feeling out of my depth.

What video are you most proud of and why?

During lockdown when I was on furlough I had about several weeks where I wasn’t working. I saw this as a great opportunity to put my time and energy into something a bit bigger than my usual YouTube projects. I’d been thinking about remaking the suit up scene from the first Iron Man film for a year or so but was always too overwhelmed by the volume of work required to ever get going. So, when we went into lockdown and I found my self with all this time on my hands, I decided this was the perfect opportunity. I found a model of the suit online and retextured the whole thing with better materials. Created a fairly complicated rig for all the moving parts of the suit. And then storyboarded and filmed all of the background plates that would eventually need the suit tracking into and animating. This is one of the projects I referred to earlier that really grew my confidence and experience in shooting for quite complicated VFX shots.

In total I worked on it for about 3 weeks and by the end of that time I was incredibly proud of what I’d achieved. It turned out far better than I imagined. It gained some attention on YouTube in the VFX community and is currently sat on around 60,000 views. I made several tutorial videos documenting the process that have also collectively gained about 100,000 views. And one of the most rewarding parts is I often get tagged online in other people’s work who have used my tutorials to make their own versions of Iron Man videos. It was a great experience from start to finish and I still regard it as some of my best work.

You can check out Alfie’s YouTube channel here. To get in touch with our VFX team visit our contact page.