I had a pleasure to be one of the lead artists among the incredible team of people, responsible for bringing this project to life.
Rising from the surreal landscape of an incredible alien world, Nike's reinvented running shoe, the Lunar Epic Flyknit, was a product launch of galactic proportions. The visuals for the launch were meant to further elevate the innovative, weightless, futuristic technology of the revolutionary running shoe.
Nike Global Brand Communications: Tad Greenough
Executive Producer, Nike Brand Communication Studio: Noah Stanik
Nike Producer: Meagan Moore
Production Company: Blacklist
EP: Andrew Linsk
Producer: Karen Lawler, Alex Unick
Studio: Tendril & Frame
Co-Directors: Chris Bahry, Tom Crate
EPs: Kate Bate, Thomas Bay
HOP / Producer: Mary Anne Ledesma
Producer: Louise Bejerholm
Storyboards: Greg Boychuk, Gabe Sapienza
Editor: Tom Crate
Pitch Concepts: Chris Bahry, Tom Crate, Wojtek Szklarski, Ann
Kruetzkamp, Marco Iozzi
Lead 3D Artists & Animation: Nejc Polovsak, Matt Frodsham, Simon Fiedler
Particle FX: Simon Fiedler, Alasgar Hasanov, Marcin Porebski
Shoe Rigging & Animation: Matias Hansen
Lighting & Render: Nejc Polovsak, Matt Frodsham
Additional 3D Artists: Sacha Wechselmann, Ben Pilgrim
Shoe Modeling: Marek Denko
Matte Painting: Bojan Zoric, Form Language
Compositing: Chris Bahry, Brad Husband
Tendril: Together with Blacklist and a crew of otherworldly talents from around the world, we created the teaser, launch film, and global Nike in-store installations. We built an A-list team for the project that included one of our award-winning HIGH5ER studios, Frame, to co-direct. What was totally unique about the project for us was the global collaboration. Blacklist is in NY, Tendril in Toronto, Frame in Denmark, Nike in Portland, and there was a slew of freelance gurus dotted all over the world. In total we had Canada, US, Brazil, Germany, Slovenia, Denmark and the UK all on this project. This made it an explosion of deadly talents. We all worked together hooked up by a massive 2TB Dropbox account.
The HIGH5ERS experiment of extending the collaborative spirit beyond the walls of the studio to join forces on special projects allows everyone to learn and grow while making amazing work. It also fosters new creative friendships, allows for faraway travel, and pushes everyone to make the best work possible together.
One of the biggest challenges wasn't that production was a global initiative; the challenge was mostly in creating the environment where the action takes place. Armed with photo references from Nike of Pariah Canyon in the United States (a place of insanely gorgeous flowing layers of rocks) we created an entire planet in 3D. This was no small feat–we did it by researching, experimenting, going back to drawing board some more, and then by exporting data back and forth between World Machine and C4D.
Likewise, in the brand teaser film, the giant galaxy required a tonne of problem-solving. Its swirling tornado of particles took quite a bit of testing to get right. There was no way to generate it procedurally and still have the level of control we wanted. In the end, we came up with a complex recipe that combined a traditionally modelled base geometry with procedural noises and World Machine height maps that were fed through a layer shader and distorted with additional noises.
Besides the amazing team who we had the pleasure of collaborating with, shout-outs to Google Hangouts, Sheets, Slack, Dropbox, continental airline travel, coffee, and beer for helping make this other-worldly experience a pain-free collaboration.