Created in September 1967, the Club des Directeurs Artistiques is an association under the law of 1901 which brings together professionals in the arts applied to communication. Its members – over 400 – are mainly art directors, copywriters, producers, designers and graphic designers. It is the only independent French institution representing the creative professions dedicated to communication. For this 54th edition, 82 projects were entered in the VFX & Animation category and 29 shortlisted.
Three projects from The Mill Paris are shortlisted this year !
Congratulations to our Paris team for these nominations. Fingers crossed for the final results!
Stéphane Pivron, VFX Supervisor said : “An epic shoot, with over two weeks in Buenos Aires! It’s always complicated to shoot with animals. I thought it would be even more so here with so many horses: we shot in the heart of the city with 30 horses at times! Well, not at all. First of all, the stud farms in Argentina and their incredible Gauchos were a great choice for the production. Then, we rehearsed each scene beforehand, a comedy run-in, a styling that went into every detail. We went from one shot to the next during the shooting, with a sustained rhythm, but each time with meticulousness. In post-production, we continued in the same momentum. The image signed by Mathias Boucard is magnificent. We worked on almost every shot to sublimate it: changing here a sky, here a building, here a whole wall (with a horse graph drawn by us), here a crossroad, here the skyline of the countryside around Buenos Aires for the vast steppes of Patagonia. A lot of concepts and matte painting work were done by our teams, especially on the nine blue background shots in the film. It was the second time I worked with François Rousselet, but the first project I finalized with him, and I loved the experience. He is a director who leaves nothing to hazard and works on every detail; it is a pleasure to work with him. In the end, about forty shots were shot in 3 weeks with a small, close-knit team to make a magnificent film, with a director who is super involved. The type of project I love!”
Franck Lambertz, VFX Supervisor said : “During the pre-production discussion about the look of the M.I.A avatar, Arnaud Bresson, director at Division Production, was clear about his vision. He wanted to avoid a meta-human or game character look. He was looking for a hybrid avatar. Something that makes the spectator uncomfortable, he shared with us some videos of robots you can see with a silicon mask. They used a prosthetic mask for the shot. This mask was static and had no eyes. Our first step was to reintroduce sight, which should feel static and catch our attention. To push further the uncanny valley feeling, we trained different models of deep fake. One with M.I.A to push towards a perfect match, one with the MAI mask, to introduce some expressions on the static performance. Some shots were matchmove in 3D, and the face was animated to introduce some lip sync and expressions. Using all these ingredients, we used flames to combine these different passes.
There was also much work from our motion design team led by Olivier, followed by Agathe and Yohann with creating and animating all the social network interfaces. Arnaud wanted to avoid any extensive VFX for the destruction to keep it analogue. He wanted to have his look. With the producer Laure Salgon we shot with different layers of fabric melting. We combined all these burning pieces with sparks during this 15sec shot. The video look was then accentuated and magnified with the talent of Arthur Paux for the final grade. Working on this music video with Arnaud was very inspiring. We tested new techniques and new crossroads to follow his vision. This film was shot with an old-school video camera and a good combination of hidden tricks, Artificial Intelligence footage and CG renders. What a journey”
Alain Boutillier, VFX Supervisor said : “For this film, our main mission was to animate the two iconic characters of the brand and integrate them into the filmed sets. As a VFX supervisor, I was present from the preparation of the project and on the shoot. These creative phases feed the whole project, it is essential to share the right information and to come back with clear creative directions to anticipate and facilitate the VFX work. We started by making a previs (animated storyboard) in order to illustrate the use of the sets under construction in a first cut of the film. A first characterization of the characters was also proposed so that each one could project the future presence of the characters in the shots. (Cycles of steps, simple actions present in the film…)
During the shooting, we made several tests with 3D prints of the characters to enrich the reading of the shots and to make sure to create a connivance between the two protagonists of this story.
Once the shooting was finished and the proportions validated, we started to work on the acting of the mascots. Vivienne was to be a prankster, playing tricks on the clumsy bear. Louis Vuitton and director Gary Freedman’s vision was clear and gave us some artistic freedom to bring the characters to life. As a result, we added some additional elements to the real mascots such as eyelids and eyebrows. It was also a pleasure to work with the cinematographer Linus Sandgren who quickly understood the issues related to the space, the variations in universe sizes and of course the 3D manufacturing.
As the schedule was short, we changed our usual work methodology (linear work and succession of CG disciplines) to organize the different trades simultaneously.
To advance on the animation and the integration of the characters in the sets, we scanned the different universes and created temporary cameras. With this flexible production method, the animation was almost finalized before we even received the camera trackings. It was a pleasure to work with the artists of The Mill Paris who worked hard and flexibly to keep the busy and tight schedules while fully feeding the universe of this project.