Case Study: Nike LunarEpic Flyknit

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We are happily sharing a tremendous case study of the new reinvented Nike LunarEpic Flyknit running shoe by/in global collaboration with Tendril and Blacklist and more. Together, they've worked on making the teaser, launch film, and global Nike in-store installations. Sit back and enjoy one of the best projects we've seen lately on Abduzeedo.

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.

Reveal Video

In Tendril's Words

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.

Teaser Video

Video Stills

Process

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.

Process Stills


Storyboard

Launch Photos

In Blacklist's Words

Blacklist and Nike have taken their relationship to the next level with their latest collaboration: the Nike LunarEpic athletic shoe campaign. The campaign’s launch is anchored by a gorgeously rendered film, co-directed by creative studios Tendril and Frame with the backing of an international team of talented artists. This hero spot sees the shoe’s organic shapes and structure materialize across space and time, setting down and leaving its signature print in the dust of a far off planet. The campaign then extends into our humble Earth world, playing on giant screens in NikeTown stores around the globe, as well as heavy rotation on Nike’s social channels, where the shoe was teased in mysterious short clips before its final epic reveal at Nike’s flagship NYC store.

To achieve the distinctly otherworldly look of the film, Tendril imagined the spot itself as a transmission received from deep space, a rare chance to look on as something truly new materializes from the elements before our eyes. Set in an alien landscape inspired in part by the visually stunning Pariah canyon, Blacklist and Tendril together assembled a global network of design and animation specialists to focus on each aspect of the film, which in turn were each focused on a different feature of the LunarEpic’s unique design. In the end, viewers are not only mesmerized by the journey and the transformation that takes place, but are compelled to recognize the distinct features that make the LunarEpic so remarkable. The final film was featured in New York, Berlin, London, Portland, and Tokyo.

Credits

Client: Nike
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

Reveal Film:
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

Teaser Film:
3D Artists: Christian Hecht, Alasgar Hasanov, Chris Bahry
FX: Valdemaras Dzengo, Alasgar Hasanov
Light & Render: Christian Hecht, Brad Husband
2D Animation: Gabriel Rocha
Compositing: Chris Bahry, Brad Husband
Additional Compositing: Alexandre Veaux
Sound Design & Music: John Black of CypherAudio