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Mill+ Goes Guns Blazing for the Launch of Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends

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Lisha Tan and David Lawson co-direct action-packed trailer and immersive opening cinematic for the new battle royale game

Mill+ Goes Guns Blazing for the Launch of Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends

Mill+ collaborated with Respawn Entertainment on the launch of their bold, new game: Apex Legends. Set in the Titanfall universe, Apex Legends shakes up the battle royale genre with a cast of unique characters, squad-based gameplay, innovative mechanics and more.

The Mill+ team crafted an action-packed trailer and an immersive opening cinematic for this massive game launch, co-directed by Mill+ directors Lisha Tan and David Lawson. Together they created a unique ‘Moving Concept Art’ look, drawing from their different disciplines. Tan’s background is in fine art and animation, having previously directed high-profile projects including Jay-Z ‘The Story of O.J’ and Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation ‘Losing Your Hair’. Lawson’s legacy in award-winning and complex CG includes co-directing the recent Marvel ‘Strike Force’ campaign. The look was inspired by archive gaming concepts and the existing Titanfall universe. Mill+ applied a fresh new aesthetic approach, blending both director’s creative visions, resulting in the illustrative painted effect.

Drew Stauffer, creative director, marketing of Electronic Arts / Respawn Entertainment comments: “The best part about the project was that very early on we found our north star for the visual look. From there it was all about figuring out how to bring that style to life and make it as compelling as possible.” 

Performances, from the actors who bring lead-characters Mirage and Wraith to life in the game, were shot using motion-capture technology. The design and CG teams worked with a vast quantity of independent elements to create the stylized world. The Mill’s Creative Technology department developed a complex texturing process, experimenting with neural networks and algorithmic solutions, to give all the CG assets a hand-painted and brushed look.

To define flashback content, present-day narrative, and maintain a holistic vision, Mill+ co-directors David Lawson and Lisha Tan took the unusual step of developing a colour script, setting a palette for each scene. Mill colourist, Matt Osbourne, took this script and applied a final grade that separated the colours and elevated the look.  

Lisha Tan, director, comments: “It was a privilege to immerse myself in a world that I already found creatively inspiring, to showcase the backstory and personality of these characters for this huge launch. The seamless creative collaboration with an extraordinary team, my background in design and illustration, and David’s award-winning CG experience enabled us to create a new way of telling the complex characters’ stories, whilst honouring the legacy of the Titanfall universe.”

David Lawson, director, comments: “Apex was such a fun project to direct, it was a great script and challenge set by Respawn and also it gave myself and Lisha the chance to really express ourselves with an action-packed story. It was so amazing to have the team at The Mill, the actors and all our other creative partners pour themselves into this. Telling exciting stories with CG characters like these is always a great journey for myself and co-conspirator Lisha.”

Stauffer adds: “The collaboration between Respawn and Mill+ was incredibly smooth and fluid.  The constant communication, honesty and trust on both sides was a key to our success.”


Full Credits

APEX Legends – Launch Trailer Credits


Client:  Respawn Entertainment

Executive Producer: Drew Mccoy

Creative Director: Drew Stauffer

Senior Writer: Manny Hagopian

Narrative Lead: Mohammad Alavi

Audio Director: Erik Kraber

Senior Producer: Steve Brooks


Production: Mill+

Director: Lisha Tan, David Lawson

Executive Producer: Elizabeth Newman

Senior Producer: Gabriel Blanco

Shoot Supervisor: Jacob Bergman

Creative Development: Robert Lewis

Mm Ep: Michael Dudek 

Mm Ep: Rob Mackler 

Line Producer: Alicia Haldenwang 

Assoc. Producer: Chad Adams 

Script Supervisor: Jena Bodell


Editorial: The Mill  

Editor: Nathaniel Park, Zak Kinzinger, Victor Jory, David Nitzsche

Edit Assist: Ryan Burbank, 

Additional Editorial: Chris Messier


Emerging Technology

Technical Innovation Manager: Tawfeeq Martin 


VFX Production: The Mill

Senior Producer: Ben Foster

Producer: Daniel Beldy

Production Coordinator: Jena Bodell

Vfx Creative: The Mill

2d Lead Artist: Timothy Crabtree

3d Lead Artist: Tom Graham

3d Lead Artist / Lighting Supervisor: Chris Bayol

Vfx Art Director: Ed Laag

3d Modeling Supervisor: Joel Kittle

3d Fx Supervisor: Peter Claes

3d Animation Supervisor: Jacob Bergman

3d Rigging Supervisor: Nole Murphy


2d Artists: Ben Smith, Remedy Huynh, Katerina Arroyo, Dag Ivarsoy, Evan Langley, Brett Lopinsky, Abigail Riegel, Greg Vanzyl

3d Artists: Derrick Sesson, Dustin Leon, Sophie Quagebeur, Troy Barsness, Alison Roberts, Samantha Pedregon, Daniel Soo, Lanli Su, Michael Kash, Ziming Liu, Chin Tin, Chris Goodrich, Daniel Stern, Jason Kim, Jae Jun Yi, Stefan Kang, Lamarcus Harvey, Monique Espinoza, Noah Schnapp, Omar Taher, Brian Lee, Amit Das, Dinesh B, Lavan Kumar, Ramesh Bandi, Ramki T, Shashi Kumar Dakoju, Sivasubramanian, Somesh Tiwari, Sudhir Verma, Vittal Kuntla, Robert Vignone, Sharlene Lin, Valentin Erbuke, Anthony Thomas, Robert Laplante, Alessandro Baldasseroni, Steven Zhang, Cameron Walser, Raphael Protti, Jason Lin, Hannah Josepher, Herman Kim, Walker Kennedy


Matte Painting: Itai Muller, Bill Lu, Andy Wheater, Chris Glenn

Animation: Jeffrey Lee, Katie Yancey, Juan Zavala, Nicole Herr, Mike Di Nocco, Jason Jansky, Jonah Austin, Justin Murphy, Javier Zumaeta, Michael Bahurinsky

Design: Cell Animation: Mikhail Pakhomov

Art Department: Kevin Moran, Misha Oplev, Kirk Shinmoto, Kevin Sutton, Joe Sanabria

Storyboard: Vince Lee, Marcus Park, Mark Alan Yates

Colour: The Mill

Colourist: Matt Osborne 

Executive Producer, Colour: Linda Jackson 

Colour Producer: Liza Kerlin

Production Coordinator, Colour: Jessica Amburgey

Colour Assist: Gemma Par, Zack Wilpon



Apex Legends – Opening Cinematic Credits

Client:  Respawn Entertainment

Executive Producer: Drew Mccoy

Creative Director: Drew Stauffer

Senior Writer: Manny Hagopian

Narrative Lead: Mohammad Alavi

Audio Director: Erik Kraber

Senior Producer: Steve Brooks


Production: Mill+

Director: Lisha Tan & David Lawson

Executive Producer: Elizabeth Newman

Producer: Meg Scarcella / Daniel Beldy

Production Coordinator: Estelle Matranga

Additional: 

Editorial: The Mill 

Editor: Natalie Wozniak

Edit Assist: Ryan Burbank


Vfx Production: The Mill

Executive Producer: Elizabeth Newman

Producer: Meg Scarcella / Daniel Beldy 

Production Coordinator: Estelle Matranga 


Vfx Creative

Vfx Creative: The Mill

Creative Director: Lisha Tan, David Lawson 

Vfx Art Director: Ed Laag

2d Lead Artist: Ben Smith 

3d Lead Artist: Michael Comly 

3d Modeling Supervisor: Joel Kittle

3d Fx Supervisor: Peter Claes

3d Animation Supervisor: Jacob Bergman

3d Rigging Supervisor: Nole Murphy

3d Artist: Chris Bayol, Derrick Sesson, Samantha Pedregon, Patrik Lindkvist, Chris Goodrich, Phill Mayer, Jeremy Ramirez, Chin Tin, Noah Schnapp, Raphael Protti, Luis Sanchez, Valetin Erbuke, Alessandro Baldasseroni

Finish Artist:

Matte Painting: Bill Lu

Cg Animation: Mike Di Nocco, Jeffrey Lee, Michael Bahurinsky, Blake Guest, Javier Zumaeta

Design: Hyoyeon Lee 

Concept Artists: Misha Oplev, Kirk Shinmoto

Storyboards: Vince Lee, Marcus Park

Ae / C4d Animation: Justin Sucara


Colour: The Mill

Colourist: Matt Osborne 

Executive Producer, Colour: Linda Jackson 

Colour Producer: Liza Kerlin

Production Coordinator, Colour: Jessica Amburgey

Colour Assist: Gemma Par, Zack Wilpon

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Genres: Animation, Visual VFX

Categories: Gaming, Sports and Leisure

Mill LA, Wed, 13 Feb 2019 16:59:43 GMT