The Most Intelligent Ad Ever?

The latest 60 second film brings to life the brand’s philosophy of personal progress and provides an antidote to the prevailing view of the future – that the world will be dominated by technology and run by machines.

The commercial focuses on the musings of a highly intelligent and powerful Android and his desire to have human being innate drive and creativity that cannot be manufactured. He would exchange infinite life for the ability to do ‘one great thing’. The creative team behind the advert felt that the idea of ‘progress’ was an opportunity to celebrate human spirit.

Director Dante Ariola and designer Christopher Glass created ‘Human’ with the help of The Mill 3D and 2D teams. The biggest challenge for The Mill was striking the delicate balance between creating the perfect human/ android. The whole process took four months and was one of the most unique commercial post production jobs that The Mill have ever tackled. The success of the piece is due to the skill of The Mill artists and the seamless 2D and 3D compositing work on the head, skin and glassworks ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® ultimately creating an awe inspiring piece of animation.

Lead animator Russell Tickner spent time in pre-production with the art director Christopher Glass to perfect the glassworks and design of the android. The lighting of this spot was key due to the many glass reflections that were required to make sure that the android looked as photo-real as possible in the environment. At the shoot supervisor Russell took a full photo survey of HDRi shots on-set so that he could re-create the backgrounds in CG and perfect the lighting. Due the nature of glass, Russell and the 3D team also spent time modelling many imperfections into the glassworks, which also had to be taken into consideration when perfecting the lighting.

A cyber-scan was taken of the actor head to create a wire frame version for Russell and senior flame artist Chris Knight to perfect the android perfect skin texture in flame. To create the perfect balance of human and machine much time was spent diffusing the skin at the edges where the skin touched glass/ metal.

In flame Chris had the important task of creating human skin as if it had never been exposed to the sun, the environment and the elements. He successfully created a skin texture that was human but had the ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§artificialness’s of an android. This was achieved by beautifying the skin, eyes and mouth and creating a grid that was indented all over his skin, which you can see in the close-ups. In Flame they also created a blue metallic ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§sheen’s effect to remove any human ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§redness’s that you would see on normal skin.

The other two areas of the body that the 3D and 2D teams spent time on were the neck and arm. As the arm is not see-through Chris had to achieve a darker, ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§encased’s feel to the glassworks in the arm. Another huge challenge was the neck work. As the android talks the exposed metallic neck muscles and oesophagus sinuses had to coordinate with his mouth and head movements.

The Flame team also had to consider the ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§breathing’s aspect of the android. The actor breathing movements had to be stabilised in every shot as it made the android too ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§human’s, but without any movement the android didn’st look real enough. Chris successfully managed to create enough breathing movement to maintain a ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§real’s element throughout the piece.

Ultimately Russell, Chris and the 3D/2D teams have created the perfect android that has no human imperfections, and just enough artificialness to balance his human essence.

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