Behind the Scenes of LEGOLAND “Awesome Awaits”

Discover how Mill+ director Russell Tickner and a 30-person crew at The Mill wrangled 900 million CG Lego bricks into 100 characters all composited into live action shot over four days in South Africa to create this roller-coaster-like spot called “Awesome Awaits” for LEGOLAND thru agency BMB.

Joint head of 3D at The Mill, Dave Fleet: “Firstly, our characters were modeled as polygonal meshes. These were then rigged and animated, then passed from Maya to Houdini using Mill+’s custom caching format.

“At this point the animators would also export what we refer to as a ‘callsheet’. This is basically a live list of ingredients that go into each scene. Russell and the animators were regularly changing characters, so it was vital to make this as easy as possible so the FX and lighting teams were always up to date.

Watch the making of video:

“We then started the process of turning the animated characters into bricks, by creating our own plugin aptly named ‘Bricker’. Bricker was seamlessly integrated into our existing pipeline and automatically picked up animation updates and knew when new characters got added or removed from a shot.

“As LEGO bricks come in all different shapes and sizes we built sliders within the tool so the artist could decide which bricks were used and ultimately how the character was built??.

“The Pirate ship had the most, at around three million individual LEGO bricks, not including the huge wave it was riding. Bricker included many other optimization features like camera culling and hollowing out the characters to save on bricks and to speed up the whole workflow.

“The bricked characters were then passed onto our Lighting team as a huge point cloud, each point representing the location and colour of a brick. This allowed our lighting scenes to be very lightweight as the LEGO bricks themselves are only created at render time using Arnold’s powerful instancing system.”

Watch the Finished spot:

Agency: BMB
Producer: James Bolton
Creative Director: Matt Waller
Creatives: Harry Boothman & Jenny Piggot
Account Director: Anna Covell

Design & Animation Studio: Mill+
Director: Russell Tickner
Executive Producer: Josh Davies
DOP: Haris Zambarloukos
Production Manager: Terri Wood
Production Assistant: Ben Burdock

Editing Company: The Mill
Editor: Matt Falstead

Post-Production / VFX Company: The Mill
VFX Producer: Ian Berry
Shoot Supervisor: Pete Rypstra, Dave Fleet
2D Lead Artists: Richard De Carteret
3D Lead Artists: Dave Fleet
2D Artists: Carl Norton, Paul Downes, Paul Wratten
3D Artists: Suraj Odedra, Benoit Gielly, Emeric Meissirel-Marquot, Alberto Lara, Vasilis Pazionis, Gregory Coelho, Tom Raynor, Philip Maddock, Yoann Gouraud, Cristobal Infante Esquivel, Philippe Moine, Matthew Fuller, Rodrigo Torres, Joshua Curtis, Matthew Kavanagh
Matte Painting: Can Y. Sanalan, Jimmy Kiddell, Melanie Climent, Marie Tricart
Colourist: Mick Vincent
Animation Supervisor: Jorge Montiel, Sauce Vilas
Lighting Supervisor: Adam Droy
Modelling Supervisor: Adam Dewhirst
FX Supervisor: Ian Baxter
Character Design & Storyboarding: Andrew Brooks
Production Assistant: Tom Manton