Mill Create Swarms of Butterflies

The Mill have just finished working on a beautiful new commercial for leading Dutch bank SNS Reaal. The concept revolved around creating the sense of awe that you would experience if you suddenly found yourself in a giant swarm of butterflies.

In order to successfully achieve this our Mill 3D team created particle systems that moved in the manner of clouds and clusters of tens of thousands of butterflies on migration. Special credit to our animators Ed Boldero, Kevin Rooney and James Sindle who all did a brilliant job building and texturing the eight different species of butterfly and combined them with eight distinct animation flight cycles which were then randomly combined and replicated throughout the particle systems.

The 3D team worked in this way in order to re-create the characteristic movement and colour of the individual butterflies within the swarm. Foreground and middle ground butterflies were then hand animated into the shots to give a sense of the viewer being immersed within the clouds as they went past.

Lead Flame Giles Cheetham combined the many different takes to create the incredible multiple butterfly shots throughout the commercial. Giles then composited them all together with effective light flares, especially on the final sunset shot.

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