Project Case Study Film

NIKE : #AskLiNa

Creative Direction

Produced by We Are Royale

With World Cup 2014 about to kick-off in Brazil, Nike and Weiden + Kennedy Shanghai came to us with this wild idea to create a real-time social media response campaign with Chinese tennis champ Li Na. The catch: we would have no access to the Wimbledon-bound tennis phenom. The concept was to make a stylized 3D caricature of Li Na that could respond directly to the people, while being as playful, witty, and endearing as the real deal.

In a whirlwind timeline, we developed a hybrid motion capture and puppeteer system that could be controlled and rendered real-time in Unity. With all... well, pretty much MOST of the tech figured out, our team of all-stars boarded the plane for 5 weeks in Shanghai to bring the campaign to life.

Early character sketches and final 3D Li Na

Character development: There are always challenges when designing a characterization of a well-known persona. We started in the very same place we start with any character based project, with sketches. Lots of sketches. We played with varying degrees of exaggeration of Li Na's physical features in search of the right mix of stylization and recognizability. Most importantly, we wanted to strike the right balance between her competitive intensity versus her witty charm, her strong physique versus her femininity.

Camera-less motion capture

Camera-less motion capture

Character rig in Unity

Character rig in Unity

Real-time rendered Li Na

Real-time rendered Li Na