Smart Energy – Einstein Knows Best

A Photoreal CG Einstein for Smart Energy
Smart Energy "Einstein Knows Best"
Case Study


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.


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.


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.


Twitter impressions

7.3 million



Online mentions increase

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

Agency: AMV
Producer: Zoe Robley

Production Company

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Rocky Morton
Producer: Sara Nouman

VFX: The Mill
Creative Director: Alex Hammond
VFX Supervisor: Alex Hammond
Executive Producer: Chris Allen
Producer: Sean Francis
Shoot Supervisor: Alex Hammond
2D Lead Artist: Ben Turner
3D Lead Artist: Alex Hammond
2D Artist: Matthew McDougal
3D Artist: Harsh Borah, Clare Williams, Andreas Graichen, Maria Carriedo, Sefki Ibrahim, Joao Pires, Dan Yargici
Matte Painting: Ross Urien
Designers: Freya Barnsley
Production Coordinator: Gabriela Goncalves

Colour: The Mill
Colourist: James Bamford

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