Brief

To re-create Einstein in photoreal CG as a part of Smart Energy's campaign to encourage consumers to ‘join the energy revolution'by switching to eco-friendly smart meters.

Approach

After an extensive period of research and development sourcing a vast amount of archival material to help build Einstein, The Mill teamed up with DI4D to capture the actor John Guerrasio's performance and scan a library of facial expressions. This library was then used as a base to recreate John's performance before every expression was further elevated into a truly lifelike representation of Einstein, with painstaking detail going into making sure every shot was perfect. After 12 months of R&D, modeling, texturing, grooming, lighting, animation, comping and tweaking we were able to deliver the final photorealistic digital Einstein in all its glory.

Impact

A detailed photoreal digital version of Albert Einstein showcased in a 30-second long mind-blowing commercial. Total engagements: 7.3 million. An uptick in online mentions of Smart Energy by 647% compared to the previous quarter. Twitter impressions: 247K.

Client

Smart Energy

Agency

AMV

Production Company

MJZ

Director

Rocky Morton

Creative Director

Alex Hammond

Capabilities

CG / R&D / Modeling / Texturing/ Grooming/ Lighting / Animation / Comping / Digital Human

We always knew Albert Einstein was smart. So it’s no surprise to find him explaining why smart meters help to keep Britain green in the new Smart Energy campaign. We just didn’t expect him to be doing it from his own bathtub while scrolling through Instagram…

The Mill were tasked by AMV and Smart Energy with the hugely ambitious task of creating a digital version of Einstein. We crafted a unique and groundbreaking visual effects pipeline in order to create an avatar that was truly convincing. Our visual effects team, including facial shape experts, spent months researching and developing a robust toolset so we could convincingly portray the nuances of Einstein’s personality. We used cutting-edge 4D volumetric capture technology to capture the performance of an actor. This was then used to re-create subtle facial performances and intricate details in CGI.

We developed a bespoke system at The Mill to process and export facial data before our team meticulously groomed each hair, wrinkle and eye detail on the CGI model.

“This was definitely a first for The Mill. Although we have tackled digital human creation in the past, it would be fair to say it hasn’t been done at this level before. This project presented us with so many technical and artistic challenges which would have been difficult in normal circumstances let alone doing it all remotely during a pandemic! We’ve been lucky to have some of the world’s most incredible talent working on this project – amongst the best in their field. We’ve loved every minute of it!”
Alex Hammond

Get in touch with our VFX teams to discuss your upcoming photoreal character and creature projects via our Contact page.