The fun new film from 215 McCann, directed by Rattling Stick’s Pablo Maestres, teases Minecraft Earth, the exciting new AR app that users can play on their phone. It follows a young, spunky skateboarder who goes on an adventure around her new neighborhood, as iconic Minecraft creations fall, appear and explode around her. The team at MPC seamlessly integrated CG animation of the game elements and creatures into live action footage, blending them together and creating a highly-stylized world unlike any other.
It was this stylized world that made this project unique for the MPC team, providing the perfect balance of creative expression and exploration, while staying true to the assets of the game and bringing them to life. Jim Spratling, VFX Supervisor, said, “Due to the dynamic nature of the Minecraft game, the possibilities were endless when it came to creating the different environments. We worked with the key hero assets that were integral to the story, but we also incorporated smaller, secondary objects where we knew they would help to tell the story and elevate it even further.”
As the game’s assets already existed, it was important for the MPC team to start working on bringing them into their pipeline as soon as possible. “We prepared as many of the Minecraft assets as we could before the shoot had even started, working closely with the agency to ensure we stayed true to the look of the game,” commented 3D Lead Zhenya Vladi.
Jim added, “We already had a good grasp on converting the Minecraft assets into our VFX pipeline, so we were able to mock up reference frames from the tech scout to help with the bigger environment builds. This enabled us to go on location on the day of the shoot, knowing the exact scale of the assets, the colors and the placement. This made it easier for the director and DP to visualize the framing and camera moves in order to accommodate the Minecraft builds.”
Being involved early on meant that the MPC team were involved in key creative decisions. “We worked with the agency on the asset builds themselves, helping to determine the level of realism we needed to achieve within the film,” Jim said. “As they trusted our input, we were considered a part of the creative process, advising on what was possible and working closely together all the way through.”
The film, which was graded by MPC’s Ricky Gausis, is a unique blend of fantasy and real life, resulting in a charming story that also evokes a sense of childhood and nostalgia. Zhenya concluded, “Most of the work we do in CG is usually photo-real, so it was great to work on vibrant, colorful assets that came from a different world to ours - every single shot we worked on had something fun and unique about it.”
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