Mill 3D Create The Don

The Mill 3D team have brought Marlon Brando iconic character of Vito Corleone from the Godfather to life for a new PSP2 game for EA Sports.

The Mill brief was to take the classic character and recreate him in all his glory, briefing the viewer on the ways of ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§the family’s. Everyone knows the grand hand movements, the cotton wool stuffed mouth, the drawn out pronounciations – everyone knows what it should look like ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® and now it was up to The Mill to make sure it was perfect.

Source material was vital; the look and feel of the Godfather is very specific and any kind of failure to deliver would be instantly noticed. In the words of Coppola it was important to ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§smell the spaghetti’s when this ad was watched.

The main tasks to complete the project were primarily split between modeling, texturing and rendering Marlon and the environment and the distinctive animation of our hero character.

Due to the tight timeframe working in motion capture was essential to create the base layer of animation. Beyond this it was down to the skill of the animators to get the feel just right. Using the base model of Marlon Brando face and hands the animation team carefully created complex animation controls that would allow them the most finite control. It was crucial that the animation team, led by supervisor Rob Van Den Bragt, really got into the feel of Brando presence and the ad reflected him the character.

A second team was set up to work on the actual building and rendering of Brando and the environment. Particular attention had to be paid to creating the immediately recognisable lighting and look of the original films.

Our friends at EA kindly supplied their game resolution model to get the process going. Then using extensive reference of Brando we began adding intricate detail to the face and hair and generally pushing the boundaries to try and create a very believable CGI human.

Creating the environment was to painstakingly recreate the dirt and grime of a Little Italy restaurant. With one of the main challenges being to match the films very unique lighting and mood.

Finally all the elements were brought together and composited in Shake and Flame. Flame artist Adam Grint added subtle atmospheric effects to give the final commercial a very cinematic look.

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