The Mill Goes Fetal

When you think CG, that dancing pink thing from Ally McBeal probably comes to mind. But for “Baby,” a new spot for German building society Badenia, The Mill took digital baby making to the next level.

In the spot, a baby inside its mother’s womb is momentarily disturbed by a noise outside. In an attempt to quiet the noise, the baby knock on the wall of the womb as though to say “keep it down out there!” The commercial was directed by Bernd Müller at production company As If Film Matters, for German agency Jung von Matt.

Thomas Pastor and Yann Mabille did the initial modeling and texturing using Softimage XSI. With the intention of using camera mapping techniques, Mill Flame artist Barnsley’s new born baby was photographed from head to toe so the team could use real textures for the CG baby’s skin.

Running parallel to the texturing process, the animation team, lead by Rob van Den Bragt, began the process of rigging the character and creating an animatic to block out the action.

When it came time for rendering, van Den Bragt used Mental Ray and a sub surface scattering technique, which gave the image depth. The illusion of real light fall-off over the model was achieved using layers such a peach fur pass.

The final animation was then undertaken by van Den Bragt and Koji Morihiro using Maya. Once that was complete, all the CG passes were composited and finessed in Flame by Mill Flame artist Justin Bromley.

“Making of footage” can be seen at www.beam.tv/beamreels/beamreel.php?ndabcdrg.