Morphing different shoes together posed a whole set of interesting (read "mindboggling") challenges we happily tackled in Houdini. Using a full set of tricks we built a setup that allows to morph arbitrary geometry into each other. We widely used it throughout the whole film. It's the nineties all over again (Michael Jackson music video anyone?) but this time in 3D.
An elemental tour de force
The forces of nature (non-) impacting the shoe were a tour de force themselves. Using Houdini's particle system and a wide array of dynamic solvers and volumes we were able to shape the apearance of rain, wind and ice. A custom growth solver was employed to animate the formation of ice while we used particles and dynamics to simulate rain and splashes. Last but not least the explosion was done using Houdini's Pyro FX tools.
Cold - obviously. But also easily readable as ice. Not crystals, not diamonds, not plastic, not glass. That was the challenge here design wise. Additionally it was a bit tricky to get a certain amount of "friendlyness" in the ice. We didn't want it to be too threatening. On top of all of that the ice needed to be visually pleasing. And cold! As cold as ice.
Presto is shielding you from the grimmest of all weather conditions so we need just that in our animation: a rain-shield aka an umbrella. Naturally it can't be a literal umbrella cause that would be, well... a bit too self-evident. We were searching for a stylish rain-shield which could develop out of the shoe itself. A very helpful hint that came from Nike Global was "the footwear itself protects the wearer - it's not the shoe that needs shielding". This triggered the idea of the unfolding umbrella.
Improved grip because of deepened treads, uh that sounds like a very nice effect to do. Geometric, tough and warping shapes jamming into the ground holding you in place - that instantly triggers images in our heads. The challenge of turning imagination into pixels is what we love.
Keeping rather closely to the real sole of Presto we allowed for just enough creative freedom to turn the truncated pyramids into real traction superstars.
Client: Nike Sportswear | Global Brand Design
Producer: Jess Puttermann
Brand Design Director: Andre Simmons, Eric Duvauchelle
CD & TD: Manuel Casasola Merkle
Director: Tom Haig
Compositing: Tobias Müller
Music: Michael Fakesch, Designingsounds
3d Artists: Lukas Eberle, Max Frühauf, Michael Haupt, Patrick Hecht, Jens Kindler, Nejc Polovsak, Vincent Schwenk, Moritz Schwind, Stefan Voigt, Ben Watts, Felix Wolf, Fuat Yüksel, Matthias Zabiegly, Santi Zoraidez, Ondrej Zunka
Product Sculpting: Lars Korb