Marco Polo

M.S. 4 P.T. 8.5 V.M.H. 8.5 J.M. 9.5 Creative 7.6 M.S. 7 P.T. 8.2 V.M.H. 9 J.M. 9.5 Design 8.4 M.S. 7 P.T. 9.1 V.M.H. 8.5 J.M. 9.8 Craft 8.6 M.S. 6 P.T. 8.6 V.M.H. 8.7 J.M. 9.6 Total 8.2
Mill+ co-director Ben Smith and co-director Bryce Wymer teamed up with Netflix to create the title sequence for the original series Marco Polo.
The Concept

The team used ink to create abstract shapes that transition into 'traditional paintings'. The title sequence mimics the duality of Khan's world showing themes of greed, betrayal and rivalry but communicated through the beauty and grace of the ink.

Storyboard inspirations for the themes.
Continued visual exploration.
Typography Explorations: after reviewing multiple fonts, the team decided to use a crisp typeface to contrast the handmade feel of the title sequence.
All of the typography was done in Photoshop and After Effects.
The Production

Ben chose ink because of its expanding nature to create the illusion of an invisible hand painting. The VFX compositing used in Marco Polo was Nuke and Baselight was used for color.

The creators tested a variety of papers and liquids to achieve the desired control and appearance of an invisible hand painting. They ultimately decided upon sumi-ink and a dense paper stock.
Overhead projecters were used to capture the hand-painted images using water. Sumi-ink was dripped onto the invisible water paintings. As the ink spread, high-speed photography captured the high speed transformation.
Maya was used for the tiny amount of fluid simulation needed. Mill colourist Mikey Rossiter graded the final sequence to give it a warm wash. The paper's texture was also intensified.
The ink was shot mostly in-camera. The 2D team composited in the wider images.

The Mill captured themes of the famed explorer's journey with subtle subliminal metaphors.

Making of Video
Ben Smith Director Bryce Wymer Director/ Illustration Stuart Burkin Producer Danielle Amaral Executive Producer Tia Perkins Live-Action Producer
Adam Carboni Director of Photography
Michael Marsicano Art Director/ Illustration
Charlotte Carr Editor
Leanne Belfiorno Edit Assist
Carl Walters VFX Producer
Daniel Giraldo Shoot Supervisor/ 2D Artists
Antoine Douadi 2D Lead Artists
Yoon-sun Bae 2D Lead Artists
Dan DiFelice 2D Lead Artists
Chet Hirsch Motion Graphics
Tetsuro Mise Motion Graphics
Michael Rossiter Colourist
Tarun Charaipotra Production Coordinator
Gera Frascaroli Designer
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