The Mill joined forces with Cloudfactory and Director Fredrik Bond of Sonny London to bring nature into an urban landscape like never before. Strongbow Apple Cider’s latest film for their Nature Remix campaign, ‘A Nature Dream’, follows a dynamic journey through Mexico City as everyday objects converge with art, imagination and plenty of apples.
The spot follows Monsieur Plant and Mary Mattingly, real-life concept artists and stars of the campaign, as they live out their dream to take back the city with a stunning outpouring of nature. With the help of visual effects, tens of thousands of CG apples course through the streets and evolve into whimsical forms.
The creations conjured up by The Mill’s visual effects team ensured the story was brought to life in a way that was realistic and tangible while staying true to the abstract, inventive concepts within the narrative.
Becky Porter, VFX Supervisor and 2D Lead Artist at The Mill, says, “When we first got the brief for the ‘apple river,’ we couldn’t find any existing references that reflected that kind of effect, practically or otherwise. That was exciting for us; it provided a creative opportunity.”
The overall apple sequence was technically complex, particularly when it came to creating the larger-than-life “apple cat.” One of the VFX team’s primary challenges was to animate its figure without the CG apples ever intersecting. The Mill’s VFX Supervisor and 3D Lead Artist David Lawson explains, “We created an algorithm where all of the apples moved under the motion of the cat. In order for the looseness and stretching of the skin to work, we had to ensure the apples moved with each other rather than overlapping. Otherwise, we’d be left with apple sauce.”
The success of the visuals also relied on the creative efforts on set during the six-day shoot. Dave continues, “It was a challenging shoot, but incredibly fun. The production design team and the talent were amazing, and working with Cloudfactory and Fredrik couldn’t have been a more collaborative process.”