Friday, December 23, 2011
After one too many mince pies and festive toasts, put your feet
up this Christmas season and settle down to enjoy one of three BBC
dramas featuring VFX created by our BAFTA-winning Mill TV team.
First up on Christmas Eve is the final episode of this series of
Merlin. With the Kingdom
of Camelot under the control of the evil Morgana and Helios and our
heroes on the run, wizard Merlin must do everything in his power to
convince a disheartened Prince Arthur that he was born to
rule. But will he find the strength to fight for his kingdom
before it is too late?
No Christmas Day is complete without the much-anticipated Doctor
Who Christmas Special! In this year's outing featuring
Matt Smith as the intrepid Time Lord, it's Christmas Eve 1938, when
Madge Arwell comes to the aid of an injured 'Spaceman Angel' as she
cycles home. He promises to repay her kindness - all she has
to do is make a wish. Three years later, Madge escapes war-torn
London with her two children, but is crippled with grief at the
news her husband has been lost over the channel. The Arwells
are surprised to be greeted by a madcap caretaker whose mysterious
Christmas gift leads them into a magical wintry world. Here, Madge
will learn how to be braver than she ever thought possible. And
that wishes can come true...
Finally, on New Year's Day, the perfect hangover cure: A new
episode of the hit detective drama, Sherlock. Co-created by Steven Moffat and Mark
Gatiss, the contemporary remake of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic
stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the eponymous Sherlock Holmes and
Martin Freeman as his loyal friend, Doctor John Watson. The
new series kicks off with 'A Scandal In Belgravia'. When
compromising photographs and blackmail threaten the British
establishment, Sherlock and John find themselves battling
international terrorism, rogue CIA agents and a secret conspiracy
involving the British government. This case sees the great
detective embark on a long duel of wits with an antagonist as cold,
ruthless and brilliant as himself.
Don't miss all the action this Christmas…
Merlin, Saturday 24th December at 8pm,
Doctor Who Christmas Special, Sunday
25th December at 7pm, BBC One.
Sherlock, 'A Scandal in Belgravia',
Sunday 1st January 2012 at 8.10pm on BBC One.
We'd like to wish you season's greetings from everyone at The
Mill... see you in 2012!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Earlier this year, we teamed up with RedBull for 'Canimation' - their search to find
the animation stars of the future.
Using a can of RedBull as inspiration, the competition
encouraged animators to "give your creativity wings", by creating
an animation in one of three categories - Stop-motion, CGI and
Drawn. Entries were judged by five top industry judges -
including Mill TV & Film's very own James Farrington, who
oversaw the CGI category.
We are delighted to reveal that Scott Waddington was crowned
winner of the Student / CGI category for his animation, 'The
Featherless Chicken'. Scott is currently studying animation at
Central Lancashire University. As part of his prize, he will
be coming to join our TV & Film team for a 2 month work
placement in the new year.
Big congrats to Scott and all of the other winners in a fiercely
To view all of the winning entries, visit: http://www.redbull.co.uk/canimation
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Elad Offer's new viral short film The Monster Whisperer drew its
inspiration from subjects near and dear to his heart. His dog
Nelson-a majestic beast he rescued who is part American
Bulldog/part Great Dane-was acting out because of abandonment
issues, so Elad tuned in to hours and hours of Cesar Millan "The
Dog Whisperer" for guidance. Elad also found himself doodling
monsters with crayons one night at a dinner-gone-long with his in
laws. Animated critters, he says, have always fascinated him as a
The Mill L.A.'s Marcus Ober did a DI on The Monster Whisperer,
balancing out the film color from the two-camera shoot while
keeping it somewhat raw to convey the DIY technique inherent to the
short's idea. Jacob Bergman was Lead Animator.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Sponsored by The Mill, HP, Autodesk and CG Society, the winners
of the Escape
Studios' annual competition that uncovers animation stars of
the future have been revealed at a special event.
Take a look at what happened on the night when Daniel Danielsson
found out he was the judges' choice, and would be getting a 12 week
placement here at The Mill London.
And to view the showreel that impressed everyone so much click
Daniel Danielsson - Still Motion - Autumn Reel 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Pop it, flip it, love it!
In 2009, The Mill NY's Art Director Gene Nazarov directed this
ethereal spec spot for Ramune soda, a Japanese soft drink known for
its marble-topped bottle. His friend, Mica Bando composed and sang
the original track.
Is anyone else thirsty?
Thursday, December 15, 2011
The winners of Escape Studios' annual CG Whiz competition to
uncover future stars of the CG industry were announced last night
at an exclusive event hosted by Escape. We were delighted to
be able to offer the winner of the Amateurs category a 12 week work
placement here at The Mill as part of the prize package, which also
included a VFX classroom course at Escape.
Out of over 200 entrants, Daniel Danielson was named the winner of
the Amateurs category and will be taking up his placement at our
London studio next year. The panel of judges, which included
Tom Bussell, our Head of 3D, praised his reel for being 2very
non-cliché, demonstrating different aspects of the vfx pipeline and
utilising a wide variety of skills. Daniel shows a huge amount of
potential, which we are all very excited about."
Kim Shaun Seong-Young claimed the runner's up prize in the
Amateurs category for the film entitled, 'Ballet of
In the Young Professionals category, for artists with professional
credits with less than three years in the industry, Yunsung Cho from the US was
awarded first prize.
Winners of the Users Choice awards, as voted for by over 4000
users on Facebook, were Jorge Barros from Portugal in the Amateurs
category, with Amila
Kumarasinghe from Sri Lanka taking the same honour in the Young
Commenting on the high standard of this year's entrants, Tom said:
"We're delighted to have been involved in CG Whiz for the third
year running. Once again, we were stunned at all the great
amateur CG talent out there and are pleased to be able to offer
opportunities to Daniel and to help him build a career as a
Huge congratulations to all of this year's winners!
To view the full gallery of entrants visit Escape Studios' Facebook page.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Back in 2010, a friend of ours here at The Mill, young whizz kid
James Trosh (son of our esteemed Group Technical Director Roy)
directed a music video for the band 'Lucky Elephant' and their
single 'Edgar'. Telling the story of a small toy robot's adventure
from the metropolis of Bournemouth out into the country where he
finds a rocket to take him into space.
To create the scene of the journey up into the stars, James built
a Helium Balloon which would carry his robot into the stars. Laden
with a whole bunch of technology which allowed him to track its
progress via GPS and locate the tin explorer when it landed. Most
importantly though was the filming of Edgar's flight, which James
and his team managed by rigging up a GoPro HD Hero, with external
power pack and sizeable SD card.
But that is not where this story finishes. More recently, Jame's
footage has been picked up by GoPro themselves and has been used in
a whole bunch of advertising, including its very own 30sec TV
commercial airing on national TV! As well as hitting our home
screens, Edgar's space journey has been seen in London tube
stations, featured in Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and been used in
GoPro's print campaign as well, so congratulations are surely in
You can see how the entire project was built from scratch and
the resulting success over at James' website: http://projectedgar.jamestrosh.com/
Friday, December 09, 2011
The Mill employees are no strangers to technology. Every
day they are dreaming up new ways to stretch the boundaries of the
latest imaging software--from Nuke, Maya and Flame, to After
Effects and Flash. Perhaps that's why this holiday
season they have decided to take it back to a simpler time and
create The Mill's first zoetrope Christmas tree!
What is a zoetrope? It is a device that produces the illusion of
action from a rapid succession of static pictures. A cylinder with
slots cut vertically around the outside houses a band of images
from a set of sequenced drawings or photographs. As the cylinder
spins, the viewer looks through the openings at the pictures on the
opposite side of the cylinder's interior. The viewer sees a rapid
succession of images producing the illusion of motion: the
equivalent of a motion picture.
The tree, conceptualized by The Mill NY Creative Director Rama
Allen, stands over six feet tall and combines geometric style with
an impressive three-layer zoetrope. "I wanted to create something
that felt charming, had a sense of discovery and wonder about it,
and felt rooted to the warmth of the holidays," says Allen. "I
chose the earliest form of the moving image and visual story
telling because it is the foundation of what we at the Mill live
and breathe every day. The story within the three-stage zoetrope is
a 'loop of loops' with... a story of constant creation and
Each layer is a different size and the number of slots and their
spacing was mathematically calculated to determine the picture size
and number of images that would provide a smooth, flowing motion
picture animated by The Mill's Design department.
The tree is powered by a belt-driven record player set at 44
rpms. "The player was hotwired so it could function without
its arm," explains The Mill NY runner and tree builder Mike
Wasserman. "We added wings to the border of the player before
covering it with tinfoil. Lights were layered and reflected
from underneath the zoetrope to provide additional light and
eliminate the shadows from the more powerful overhead light."
The result is a cute Holiday story. A Yeti smashes snowmen in
the clouds to create snow (and carrot noses!) that fall to the
bottom where another Yeti makes more snowmen that will travel back
to the clouds.
The tree is on display on the 6th floor of the New
York office until the end of December.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
We are committed to recognising and developing new talent here
at The Mill, so we couldn't have been more pleased when we heard
that our CG Generalist Andreas Thomsen received the 'Best Student
Project' award at this year's SIGGRAPH Asia, for his work on the
short film 'Last Fall'.
SIGGRAPH Asia 2011 celebrates the future and present talents of
animation industry, and this year's Computer Animation Festival
honoured the top three works through a Best of Show award, the Jury
award, and for the first time ever, the Best Student Project
The SIGGRAPH judges were particularly impressed by the film's
high standard of graphics and animation achieved on a limited
budget. "It has been very satisfying to see the level of talent in
the animation and VFX industry. Working with the jury to curate and
select the best was very challenging," said Computer Animation
Festival Chair, Eric Liu, who had the uneviable job of choosing a
winner from 558 entries from 21 countries.
Our talent team first met Andreas when he was at the Animation
Workshop (where he created the winning film) in Denmark earlier
this year. Shortly after, he came to The Mill's London studio
to do an internship and has now been working as part of our
award-winning CG team ever since.
The SIGGRAPH Asia Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics
and Interactive Technique runs from 12-15 December at the Hong Kong
Convention & Exhibition Centre.
Find out more here: http://www.siggraph.org/asia2011/
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
The Mill L.A.'s Danny Ho (pictured above right with coach
Leonardo Soares) is a man of many talents. As the studio's 3D
scheduler, Danny meticulously organizes a quagmire of details,
details that have proven to be the demise of less focused
predecessors. Not Danny. In the shadows of The Mill's 3D hall,
hushed whispers can be heard, referring to the light-on-his-feet
young lad as 'cool as a cucumber' and a man of 'steely' resolve.
Insiders explain Danny has devoted the past five years to martial
arts training, hence his unwavering focus in the often manic ways
This weekend Danny Ho won the North American No Gi Jiu-Jitsu
Championship in the 140-150 lb intermediate division, the most
competitive weight category. Using the Triangle Choke, Danny
prevailed over Zeke Thomas to win the championship at Cal State
Dominguez Hills. Congratulations Danny and respect from across the