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Nike World Basketball Festival promo by Buck

Nike World Basketball Festival

Buck created this commercial for Nike’s World Basketball Festival. I’m not fond of the basketball players-wearing-corsets design style, but I like the way the forms break up into abstract shapes during scene transitions. The arbitrary wiggles also seem to owe a lot to a much older animated campaign by Nike. The main reason I’m posting this though is because I’ve been seeing posters for the campaign around New York and shaking my head at how epically unappealing the illustrations are; surprisingly, with the animated abstraction, those same designs look good in motion.

Creative Director: Ryan Honey
Associate Creative Director: Jeremy Sahlman
Art Director: Joe Mullen
Character Design: Saiman Chow
Design: Joe Mullen
Modeling: Rie Ito, Ivan Sokol, Jens Lindgren, Ana Luisa Santos, Claudio Salas, Jaime Klein
Texturing: Ana Luisa Santos, Jaime Klein, Jorge Canedo, Ivan Sokol
Rigging: Joel Anderson, Jens Lindgren, Matt Everton
Animation 3D: Matt Everton, Steve Day, Alessandro Ceglia, Claudio Salas
Cel Animation: Alessandro Ceglia, Regis Camargo, Will White, Kendra Ryan, Stephanie Simpson, Jenny Ko, Claudio Salas, Jorge Canedo
Lighting: Jens Lindgren, Ana Luisa Santos
Compositing: Moses Journey, Claudio Salas, Jens Lindgren
Software Used: Maya, Flash, After Effects
Music and Sound Design: John Black / CypherAudio

  • Spencer

    This commercial instantly reminded me of the 70s ad Richard Williams did for the Harlem Globetrotters.


    • Tim Hodge

      I immediately though the same thing, Spencer.

  • Really nice color styling and action animation!

    I’m guessing the bulk of this is hand-drawn
    while the transitions were handled in CG?
    Or maybe the characters are CG and the transitions
    hand-drawn. Can’t tell.

    A “making of” piece on this could be fascinating.

    Congratulations to all who worked on this!

  • Deaniac

    Looks very cool.

  • The basic character animation and camera moves were done in previs in MAYA, with shaders that are close to the color divisions in the final. Then, most of that (except for the shoes, buildings and backgrounds) was somewhat rotoscoped and hand-drawn in Flash, but also exaggerated to fit with the fx transitions, which were all hand drawn in 2D in Flash. There was some back and forth of some character animation done in 2D first, then in 3D, then in 2D again.

    • MichaelHughes

      That’s pretty funny, it’s like a bunch of graphic designers doing this stuff now, no one has to actually do a drawing. When those other NBA commercials had come out I never thought that was the end of drawn animation on TV.

  • holyduck

    Style is style.
    Why would you say the illustrations are unappealing?

  • Ed Bell directed those oh so wonderful hip hop Nike spots at wild brain. between that and the Richard Williams spot, hand drawn FTW.
    rota-scoping CGI? seems a bit like overkill judging from the crew list! Oh well, the final result looks sharp indeed.

  • “I’m not fond of the basketball players-wearing-corsets design style…”

    But consider… the reality, tall guys with big butts, is problematic also.

  • Thank you very much for this post!:) I hope everybody had a great time attending this Nike World Basketball Festival.

  • Thanks for sharing this wonderful Nike World Basketball Festival promo by Buck! Keep playing basketball!:)