Creative studio and production company LOGAN plunges Nike+ users into a spectacular post-apocalyptic ice storm of a world with two 6:00, fully CG, stylized character-animated games featuring a cast of top athletes – NFL receiver Calvin Johnson, soccer players Alex Morgan and Neymar Jr., and sprinter Allyson Felix – and promoting a new line of weather-resistant clothing. LOGAN, which collaborated with Conscious Minds on the project, handled an incredible array of character design, modeling, matte painting, character and environment animation, dynamics and final compositing.
Players with a Nike+-activated device choose a mission and navigate the stages using one of the athletes as an avatar. Real-life challenges intertwine with the gameplay, creating a unique interactive experience between the player and the game. “We tried to make every shot and environment as engaging as we could so that the user felt compelled to go through with the physical challenge and see the whole story unfold,” stated LOGAN Art Director Ara Devejian.
LOGAN paid special attention to designing and animating the apparel and shoes, interpreting Nike’s references to a number of dramatic films framed comic book style to properly frame and stylize the game footage. In the same spirit, LOGAN took great care to design suped-up versions of the well-known athletes without rendering them unrecognizable.
“We worked back and forth to find a balance between the stylization and recognition of the characters, pushing the boundaries in collaboration with the agency, and then pulling them back to find a level that Nike and the athletes were comfortable with,” continued Devejian. “Once we got the look hammered out, we used a lot of low, wide, dramatic framings and tweaks in the apparel to play up their heroic qualities.”
Rapidly building four distinct worlds to house the games took a monumental collaborative effort across the studio. The VFX team, led by VFX Supervisor Julien Brami, created a system of matte paintings, camera projections and limited camera movements that cut production into a fraction of the time it would’ve taken otherwise. “Building four worlds quickly and concurrently was an incredible undertaking, but this is the sort of creative problem solving that guides everything we do,” stated LOGAN ECD Alexei Tylevich.