To introduce Stoli Blueberi, the latest installment in the line of Stoli’s fruit-infused vodka, The Mill New York created a 3D-heavy spot showcasing the evolution of the vodka flavors.
Through the effect of time lapse, a series of fruit, representing each Stoli flavor, transform into each other. The spot concludes with the final fruit, the blueberry, blossoming out of a raspberry and subsequently rolling into the label of the new Stoli Blueberi bottle. The metamorphosis occurs amidst a background reminiscent of an overcast Icelandic afternoon. Referencing vintage Czech stop motion art and nature documentaries, The Mill kept hte visuals rich and textured, while still giving the environment a hazy, frosty veil.
The color and lighting were key to generating this look. The Mill used flat moody lighting and established the fruit as the focal point of each scene. They kept to a muted blue color palette, complimenting the blueberry, but creating contrast to the rich, warm colors of the other fruit. Additionally, Flame Artist Jamie Scott treated the footage with a film grain effect to give it an older filmic look.
The 3D team headed up by Director of Animation/VFX Supervisor Aron Hjartarson had many interesting tasks at hand to find the perfect balance for a subtle, yet discernible metamorphosis. Rather than just piecing fruit together haphazardly, the team tried to find reasons for each change. They tried numerous approaches – a fruit bursting apart to reveal fruit within the fruit, reverse blossoming, outward growth, and even predatory behavior – until they found the transition that felt right. The team also looked to Mill Colorist Damien Van Der Cruyssen to bring consistency to the overall look of the piece, furthering the impression of a seamless transition between each fruit.
Although the fruit in the spot were fully computer generated, The Mill’s 3D team needed a reference of the texture, shape and lighting of each type of fruit, thus Director Mikon van Gastel photographed real fruit. From there, the challenge was to understand the fruit’s framework and composition. It wasn’t enough to just model the surface of the fruit, Aron and his team had to construct the infrastructure as well. Drawing inspiration from many sources, such as Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome, they looked at the engineering of a fruit. For the raspberry, they established that the composition is, in actuality, an assembly of complex patterns of hexagons and pentagons. Likewise they studied the peach – with its numerous layers of leaves, tiny strands of pulp, and sticky juice that emit from the flesh once the peach is torn apart.
It was an electrifying project for The Mill team. As Aron stated, “We got very excited about the project from the start. The creative brief was exceptionally strong. It was easy to see from conception, that we had something unusual on our hands”.
The Mill, London
40-41 Great Marlborough Street
Soho, London W1F 7JQ
+44 20 7287 4041
The Mill, New York
451 Broadway 5th floor
New York NY 10013
+1 212 337 3210