The year kicked off with the biggest event in advertising, Super Bowl LI, for which Mill artists helped to craft over 24 spots, including the game’s top ad, Kia ‘Hero’s Journey’. [See the Mill Super Bowl LI Collection]
2017 also saw the release of a brand-new Mill Anthem Reel, featuring the top Mill work across studios, and the Mill Animals and Creatures Reel, spotlighting artists’ work crafting both hyper-realistic animals like the fully CG grizzly in ‘Third Wheel’, as well as creative takes on creatures like Three’s 100% CG giraffe/flamingo hybrid creature in ‘Go Roam’.
Mill artists once again helped to create many of the top holiday ads of the season including Heathrow's sequel to last year's successful Christmas ad, 'It’s a Wonderful Flight'; Debenhams ‘You Shall’; and John Lewis 'Moz the Monster'. [See all the spots in our Festive Collection 2017]
We were also proud to have been a part of one of the biggest music videos of the year, Jay-Z ‘The Story of OJ’. In addition to winning a Ciclope Grand Prix award and four LIA awards, the video has been nominated for a Grammy in the Best Music Video category.
[Go Behind the Project: Jay-Z 'Story of O.J.']
From colour grading to vfx, Mill artists also helped to create promos like Radiohead 'I Promise', Alt-J 'Deadcrush', Sampha 'No One Knows Me (Like My Piano)’, St. Vincent ‘Los Ageless’ and Portugal, The Man ‘Feel It Still'. [See more top colour projects in the Mill Colour Highlights: Winter 2017]
TECH TREND: REAL-TIME
One of the biggest trends this year is the emergence of real-time rendering and its potential to revolutionize the industry. The Mill led the way at this year's GDC conference with the reveal of ‘The Human Race’, the first ever interactive short film to blend live action with real-time VFX, made in collaboration with The Mill, Chevrolet and Epic Games. The film was created with the use of Mill Blackbird and Mill Cyclops, a virtual production tool developed by The Mill, which lets filmmakers generate and place photo-real CGI objects into shots on set, in real time.
The team also competed for and won the prestigious 2017 Real-Time Live title at Siggraph. This capped off an amazing week where ‘The Human Race’ also won the VFX for Advertising Category and was the first film ever in Siggraph's Computer Animation Festival history to be rendered and projected in real time from a workstation at the event itself.
Most recently, Mill+ partnered with Microsoft to create ‘Insects’, a real-time interactive experience designed to showcase the cutting-edge capabilities of the Xbox One X.
To demonstrate how you can interact with and animate real-time CG characters live on set, the Mill Emerging tech team developed Pop Llama, an interactive installation that allows users to gesturally control a real-time CG character, lip syncing along to diva-licious anthems, to create their own mixed reality music videos.
IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES AND DATA-DRIVEN INSTALLATIONS
The Pop Llama installation debuted at Move Me, a one day event at The Mill NY that featured new, original artworks that incorporated VR, AR, robotics, biometrics, game engines, and data visualization. In addition to Pop Llama, the event featured: Neon Knights, a dual player augmented reality game using the Microsoft Hololens; See Sound, an interactive voice-driven sound sculptures; Strata, a biometric VR experience; and Hoova, a dystopian room-scale VR experience.
VR evolved in 2017 beyond the headset with even more engaging experiences like the Corona ‘Paraiso Secreto’ VR installation which simulated a journey to paradise through a jungle setting, awakening the senses and bringing the feeling of being completely immersed in nature. The installation combined theatrics, VR technology and interactive set design to enable attendees to experience paradise and inspire them to seek out nature afterwards.
For the second year running, Mill+ collaborated with the Lush team to create a series of installations for their annual Creative, as well as launching the Lush Spa Film, all to portray the uniqueness of a Lush Spa treatment. The bespoke interactive experiences use biometric data to measure the responses of the mind and body and then translate the recordings through a number of innovative experiences, perfectly marrying science and art.
Mill artists recently traveled to the Day for Night Festival art and music festival to present UPROAR, a data-driven art installation that pays homage to the resilience of the people of Houston in the face of Hurricane Harvey. Check back in the new year for more on the project!
The Mill also collaborated with Conde Nast’s W Magazine and renowned photographer Steven Klein to create a dynamic augmented reality experience for W’s September 2017 issue. In partnership with Klein, The Mill developed an interactive 3D digital portrait of Katy Perry, a series of short cinematic films and W’s AR app ‘Beyond the Page’.
[How The Mill Created the W Magazine Augmented Reality Experience]
The Mill became a preferred partner with Facebook this year, helping to create custom AR filters for Warner Brothers ‘Justice League’, HBO ‘Game of Thrones’, Netflix ‘Stranger Things’, BBC ‘Doctor Who’ and more.
The top video on The Mill Facebook page was the colourful and uber cool film starring South Korean long-boarding sensation Ko HyoJoo, ‘Longboard’, created by The Mill Beauty team in partnership with Director Lacey and Vogue Japan.
New in 2017 was expanding beyond our @Millchannel Instagram channel for the launch of our local studios' Instagram channels to share even more inspiration and ideas from Mill artists across @Mill_LDN, @Mill_NY, @Mill_CHI and @Mill_LA. Follow along for even more exciting news in the new year.