SSE Maya the Orang-utan

Maya, the CG orang-utan featured in commercials for UK energy company SSE, has picked up the Grand Prix for production and post production at the London International Awards. In collaboration with adam&eveDDB and Academy Films director Frederic Planchon, The Mill created a photo-real 100% CG Orangutan for leading energy supplier SSE, who visits a city and experiences energy in all its manifestations, discovering an amazing wonderland of light, heat and sound. Maya first appeared in SSE’s branding campaign in October 2014, with a commercial, “Seeing energy through fresh eyes”. Maya leaves her home in the Sumatra rainforest to visit London at night. In September 2015 Maya turned up again in 2015, playing with a model wind farm and taking in the sights of the Central Pier in Blackpool. She was also seen throughout ITV’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup Maya.

SSE Maya

The Mill’s animation team went to extraordinary lengths to create a CG ape that looked 100% photo-real. The anatomically correct skeleton was built first, starting from very loose blocking to small details such as wrinkles and pores of the skin. Using HDRI lighting information collected on the shoot, the team recreated lighting scenarios of London back in CG. It was crucial to get a good dynamic range of lighting to ensure that the correct specularity as achieved in the hair shading. Maya’s hair was created using custom built propriety hair shaders, which meant details such as transmission (the effect of a rim-light or back-light) could be controlled as well as how much light was reflected off the hair.

SSE Maya in Windfarm advertisement
SSE Maya in Wembley advertisement
SSE Maya in Cottage advertisement
SSE Maya in Frozen prices print advertisement

SSE Maya Credits

The SSE Maya campaign was developed at adamandeveDDB, London, by executive creative director Ben Priest, creatives James Gillham and Graham Cappi, and agency producer Ben Sharpe, and business director Paul Billingsley.

Filming was shot by director Frederic Planchon via Academy Films, London, with producer Lucy Gossage.

Editor was Sam Rice-Edwards at The Assembly Rooms.

Post production, including animation, visual effects, design and print, was produced at The Mill, London, by senior VFX producer Beth Vander, executive creative director Neil Davies, shoot supervisors Hitesh Patel, Alex Hammond, Neil Davies, 2D lead artist Neil Davies, 3D lead artists Alex Hammond and Jorge Montiel, 2D artists Leo Costa, Gianluca Di Marco and Gary Driver, 3D artists Sam Driscoll, Dan Moore, Peter Agg, Michael Balthazart, Amaan Akram, Rebecca Ferguson, Daniel Kmet, Philippe Moine, Paul Classens, Jimmy Glass, Sergio Xisto, Gareth Bell, matte painting team Melanie Climent and Can Y Sanalan, motion graphics artist Ashley Tyas, executive producer Luke Colson. Print was produced by Ross Urien, Matthew Ivin, Kylie Milne and Rosemary Eve.

Music, When I fall in love/It will be forever, is sung by Nat King Cole.