Spotlight on: OFFF x Adobe’s Mentoring Programme with The Mill’s Will MacNeil & OFFF mentee, Vlad Dultsev

Community February 16, 2020

Vlad Dultsev from Moscow (St Petersburg originally) visited The Mill’s London studio earlier this month as part of the OFFF Academy and Adobe Mentoring program to meet and work with The Mill’s CG Design Director & OFFF Academy Mentor, Will MacNeil.


We caught up with them both to find out more about the programme and how it’s going so far…

Will MacNeil, The Mill’s CG Design Director & OFFF Academy Mentor

Above: Vlad discussing his OFFF project with Will/ Team breakfast for Vlad’s arrival at The Mill

What made you join OFFF Academy as a mentor?

I’m a big fan of OFFF and the way it promotes and supports artists at all levels in their career.  And  I really believe in mentoring as a force in our work.  Schools, tutorials and self-teaching are a big part of how we learn, but in my experience few things are as valuable as a little advice from someone who’s been around a while.

Tell us about your involvement in Vlad’s project?

I chose Vlad’s project from a short list.  His idea of linking architecture and data about how buildings affect people’s lives intrigued me straight away, and I thought my experience in similar projects might be be helpful.  My main role has been to help Vlad structure his project in terms of a process and time.  And also to introduce him to British Ale, which I’m not sure he liked.  Totally understand, Vlad.

How will the rest of the process continue now that Vlad has visited The Mill in London

There’s a lot to do.  I’ll be in contact with Vlad about once a week for now and then probably more often as he gets closure to OFFF – when he will present his work. Hopefully his trip has given him a little boost, or at least shown him a good time in London!

What have you learned from the experience so far?

I really admire Vlad’s ambition.  His background is in architecture, but he’s attacking a lot of tricky 3D and design challenges and learning it all pretty fast.  It reminds me to keep learning and stop being so cautious.


Vlad Dultsev, OFFF Academy Mentee, Russia

Above: Vlad’s ‘Meta Constructions’ sketches

Tell us about the OFFF Academy process?

It has been an engaging experience. I have an idea for a project and am working with Will on it. I constantly learn something new, do completely new things for myself, and even conduct research. This is my first project in motion, so I am discovering a whole new world. And I am glad that I have the opportunity to work together with such a mentor.

What is the creative project you’re working on?

The idea of ​​this project has long been in my thoughts. It’s called ‘meta constructions’. I really like architecture and I was always interested in its impact on human life. And nowadays we can see this effect in digital space. Each building, each district are sources of information that form the unique digital portrait of the city. And this face I want to make visible, to show how the city can differ not only in the physical dimension but also in the data space that invisible to us. I think this is a good representation of the city’s life, especially when our lives are becoming more and more digital.

What did you think of London?

It is a wonderful city! I am absolutely fascinated by its architecture and design. It’s rare where you can see such an organic combination of architecture of such different times. And London is beautiful not only in touristic places. I spent most of my time just walking along the most ordinary streets, absorbing local moods and images. I guess it’s the only way you can discover the real face of the city.

I was especially struck by people. Everyone I talked to was remarkably open and friendly. I was pleased to meet new people and chat with them on completely different topics. People form an impression of the city on more than architecture or design. And this is one of the main treasure of London.

How did you enjoy your time at The Mill, what were the highlights?

I had a great time at The Mill!  To be honest, I was very nervous and excited to visit. And I met a lot of cool people, I saw how they work. I really wanted to see and feel for myself what it would be like to be part of such a team. This is an indescribable feeling when you share your thoughts and work with them. It was incredible!

But the story does not end only at work. It was nice for me to see how the team spends time together after work or having breakfast together. I even had a pleasure to have a part in this! And little things say a lot. This is not only a team of great artists but also a family. I love it!

What was the most interesting thing you learned?

I learned a lot during this time. Of course, I began to better understand the work of the software that I needed. But the most important thing was that I learned how to see the project in the long term, learned how to organize my workflow. I think this is the most important knowledge for young artists. A lot of us concentrate our view only on tools, which is also important of course. But without this strategic view of your work, it is difficult to make a really cool project. And I am happy that I was able to understand this by working with Will and The Mill.

You can check out Will MacNeil’s Instagram profile here.

To keep up with Vlad’s progress, follow his Instagram page.

Find out more about the OFFF Academy here: