Smithwick's Squirrel

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The Mill working with adam&eveDDB, Director Simon McQuoid and Gorgeous bring Smithwick's back to our screens after a 7 year break, in the form of a beer-making photo-real CG red squirrel; alongside a new strapline for the 300-year old brand, 'Experience. It's what you do with it that counts'.

In the 60' TV spot, we follow the Smithwick's squirrel at the brewery, after the Master Brewers have left, as he is seen toiling with craft and precision, firing up boilers, sniffing hops and tunring valves to brew a thimbleful of ale before they return. Set to the Kaiser Chiefs track 'Learnt My Lesson Well', the end of the spot reveals that, just like the Smithwick's brewing family, the squirrel and his forefathers have been instrumental in crafting and perfecting the quality of the ale.

Taking 5 months of production, the spot cleverly uses a combination of live action and bespoke CGI animation to bring to life the cinematic world of the brewery in which our CG animated hero character is seen crafting the perfect pint.

2D Lead Artist Leonardo Costa explains, "Smithwick's was a very creative and technical project to be involved in. We comped numerous assets including the CG squirrel itself, fire (matches), dust, flares, light rays and so on. The close up of the squirrel's eye took more than 2 months to get right. We added every single layer possible to make the eye as photo real as possible."

Tom Raynor Lead 3D TD Artist on the project comments, "I was responsible for building and developing a completely new set of fur tools that enabled us to reproduce all of the subtle details required to make a photo-real animated character. It was an extremely exciting project to be involved in and I believe that we achieved our goal of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in animated creature work at The Mill".

Head of 3D at The Mill, Tom Bussell worked closely with director Simon on the project, "From the moment Simon talked us through his vision we saw the potential of this project as it challenged us in every way, both technically and creatively with the whole team working incredibly hard to make sure the vision and potential were met.

It takes a leap of faith for creatives and directors to take on a project like this, as for a long time they don't get to see anything close to finished results with it really all coming down to the final weeks when everything starts coming together.

We used Houdini to generate the fur and developed a whole new workflow within the software to enable us to update animation and simulation painlessly. We are all really happy with the end film and looking forward to using the developments we made again soon."

The Mill

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