Chicago-based design studio Vitamin recently produced a spot for Nike Direct that introduces a new series of high-tech running shoes through a dazzling display of footwork. The fully computer-animated “Hyperfuse” spot shows the birth of a sleek track shoe in a burst of neon light. A pair of shoes then takes off running, pivoting and juking their way through a stylized environment, swathed in blazing light trails while undergoing a series of transformations into other shoe models.
The new shoes are made with Nike’s “Fuse” process where the upper layers are bonded rather than stitched or glued together for lighter weight, a more comfortable fit and faster performance. The spot ends with the tagline, “Run Unleashed.”
“The point of the spot is to show that the Fuse technology that Nike builds into shoes for elite athletes is also available in their shoes for everyday running and cross training,” explains Vitamin creative director Danny DelPurgatorio. “It’s all about light and energy.”
Vitamin’s animation team created three photo-real CG shoes from prototypes provided by Nike. They scripted the animation for the running sequence after conducting a study of professional athletes.
“We initially put the shoes on an animated character in order to get the performance right and later we hid the character,” DelPurgatorio says. “Because things look different when the character is removed, we made some adjustments so that they worked as a set of standalone shoes.” Storyboarding, modeling, lighting, animation, editing, compositing and sound design were all performed by Vitamin staff.
Images based on the spot will be incorporated into print ads and digital campaigns for the new shoes. “It was fun to be involved early on in the development of the campaign, and to have the opportunity to create something that would be used across multiple platforms,” DelPurgatorio notes.