View Full Version : Doctor Who wins visual effects award VES

04 April 2009, 12:55 PM

CINEMA 4D's Advanced Render 3 module delivers flicker-free global illumination in a fraction of the usual time.

MAXON Computer, the developer of CINEMA 4D and BodyPaint 3D, today announced that CINEMA 4D played a key role in helping The Mill, a world-leading visual effects company, win a visual effects award for its work on Doctor Who, the longest-running science fiction series on TV.

The Mill, the company now behind Doctor Who's stunning visual effects, is no stranger to receiving awards, having won more of them for its visual effects than any other facility in Europe.

Doctor Who - the first episode of which was broadcast by the BBC in 1963 - picked up the win at the 7th Annual Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards. Held in Los Angeles on 23 February, 2009, the event saw The Mill's stunning work on the 'Silence in the Library' episode of Doctor Who recognized with a coveted VES award for �Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial.'

A library the size of an entire planet was the centerpiece of The Mill's award-winning effects, and was created in CINEMA 4D, MAXON's 3D modeling, rendering and animation program.

Prior to creating the Library in CINEMA 4D, it became clear to The Mill, after reading the episode script, that the library was a major character in the story and full 3D environments would be required for the atmospheric shots.

As a central theme in the episode, the Library would need to ooze character. Viewers needed a strong feel for the Library as the Doctor went about uncovering exactly why the Universe's greatest library was sealed off one hundred years ago with only one warning: "Count the shadows."

Pulling off the ambitious Library shots in the limited timescales available for television production was a challenge. Scenes could contain up to six million polygons and required rendering with full Global Illumination (GI) to achieve the realism required. The Mill elected to use CINEMA 4D and its new GI render engine, available in the Advanced Render 3 module. The new GI promised to deliver superior, flicker-free animation in a fraction of the usual time.

CINEMA 4D's 64-bit version, available for both Macintosh and Windows, was utilized, enabling faster rendering and scene handling due to the increased memory that can be made available to applications running in 64-bit.

According to The Mill's Lead Digital Matte Painter, Simon Wicker, CINEMA 4D and its Advanced Render 3 module played a vital role: "The results were amazing. I could render a 175 frame camera animation at widescreen PAL resolution overnight on a Mac Pro without a trace of GI flicker. Without that, these shots would never have been completed on time. CINEMA 4D has always been bulletproof for my work."

Besides its usage in Doctor Who, CINEMA 4D is the 3D tool of choice used by the Matte Painting Department at MillTV. Wicker explains: "CINEMA 4D is an artist's tool, so it is the perfect accompaniment to an artistic process like matte painting. I have used several 3D apps and CINEMA 4D is the one that really gets out of the way and allows you to do stuff. CINEMA 4D is the 3D equivalent of pulling out your sketchpad and pencil and just being creative."

Liam Stacy, Managing Director at MAXON UK, said: "At MAXON, we're ecstatic to hear that The Mill's outstanding work on Doctor Who has been recognized with a prestigious VES award, and naturally we're delighted that CINEMA 4D and Advanced Render 3 played a key role. The new flicker-free GI system of Advanced Render 3 was used to great effect here. Advanced Render 3 delivers fast, pristine and flicker-free animation that enables you to use it for television and many other purposes, not just big budget movies."

The Mill is certainly not resting on its laurels since delivering Doctor Who's recent visual effects VES award. They company is already pushing the technical boundaries on this year's four Doctor Who specials, and again CINEMA 4D is playing a key role.

For more detailed information on how CINEMA 4D helped Doctor Who, read MAXON's exclusive interview with MillTV's Lead Digital Matte Painter, Simon Wicker.

VES 2009 Winner
Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Doctor Who - Series 4 - Silence in the Library
Simon Wicker, Charlie Bennett, Tim Barter, Arianna Lago
Effects by The Mill

About The Mill
The Mill is a world-leading visual effects company offering creative partnerships and collaboration in advertising, broadcast, film, music video and digital assets. The Mill has offices in three of the most important global centres; New York, Los Angeles and London. Established in 1990, working alongside its original founders Robin Shenfield and Pat Joseph are more than 300 talented and passionate artists, producers and technicians who are all committed to maintaining The Mill's unrivalled standards and personal approach.
Information about The Mill is available at (

About The Visual Effects Society
The Visual Effects Society (VES) is the entertainment industry's only organization representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners including artists, technologists, model makers, educators, studio leaders, supervisors, PR/marketing specialists and producers in all areas of entertainment from film, television and commercials to music videos and games. Comprised of a diverse group of more than 1,600 members in 17 countries, the VES strives to enrich and educate its own members and members of the entertainment community at large through a multitude of domestic and international events, screenings and programs. Information about the VES is available at (

About MAXON Computer
MAXON Computer is a developer of professional 3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering solutions. Its award-winning CINEMA 4D and BodyPaint 3D software products have been used extensively in the film, television, science, architecture, engineering and other industries. MAXON has offices in Germany, USA, United Kingdom, France and Japan. MAXON products are available directly from the Website and its worldwide distribution channel. Specially priced learning editions of the company's software solutions are also made available to educational institutions. For additional information on MAXON visit (

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04 April 2009, 01:01 PM
And a background story on this

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