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From Vision boards to Extraordinary Visuals : POP Brings Three Campaigns to Life for Adidas

We recently announced that we are now representing POP Creative Studio, a post-production studio specializing in CGI, VFX, particle simulation, animation, retouching and live-action integration. Not only are we excited about this partnership because working with Brendan, Jordi and Zsuzsanna is a treat in itself, but learning about their creative capabilities has been eye-opening.

The first projects we’re sharing from the studio are three iconic Adidas campaigns they created. All for social media, the intention was to take what looks like a video taken on any smartphone but includes seemingly supernatural elements. To learn the magic behind the videos, read on to learn how they brought the creative ideas to life.

Project 1: Adidas Pro Evo 1 "Murmuration"

Much like most of their projects, the creative process began with researching the murmuration of birds, so that they could closely orchestrate a similar behavior in CGI. Then, taking a single bird, the team ingeniously multiplied it into a swarm of thousands. To achieve a stunning level of realism, each bird had its animation meticulously offset, resulting in a mesmerizing dance that was exquisitely choreographed. The ultimate goal was the harness this ethereal flock of birds to fashion the iconic Adidas shoe, complete with its unmistakable stripes. In an impressive display of artistry, the birds swarm gracefully, converging and enveloping the designated area, before undergoing a gradual transformation as they seamlessly return to their natural, freeform movement. 

Choreographing thousands of birds in synchrony requires aggregating them procedurally through a 3D particle simulation. Coming with its set of challenges, POP successfully engineered a system that emulated the majestic, natural flocking motion of thousands of birds, with perfect coordination. 

Learn more about their process here:

Project 2: Adidas Pro Evo 1 "Unboxing"

The second project, "Unboxing," presented its own set of unique challenges. The primary objective was to create a sequence where an actual marathon runner,  Amanal Petros, gracefully unboxed an Adidas shoe, and in a miraculous display, the shoes gracefully floated out of the box and into the air. Each action, each moment, had to be meticulously captured with precision in camera, ensuring that the entire sequence could seamlessly transition to post-production.

The POP team faced the intricate task of recreating the environment within their programs to guarantee perfect synchronization between the live shoot and the post-production work. This level of precision involved taking note of critical details, such as the time of day and month to replicate the sun's placement, specific elements of the location, including the precise positions of trees to match shadows, and the camera angle to ensure that the floating shoes were portrayed in the correct perspective.

It was imperative that the creatives, director, and POP team work closely ahead of the shoot to carefully plan everything out, and maintain clear and constant communication throughout the project. This allowed for the preservation of the visual fidelity of the final shot, ensuring that the unboxing sequence was as awe-inspiring and seamless as intended.

Watch their process below:

Project 3: "Mahomes”

Yes, that Mahomes. This project placed a strong emphasis on the art of believability. To bring this illusion to life, the team employed a clever strategy that involved camera tracking, meticulous foreground masking, and the careful integration of lighting. Every aspect was carefully considered, from the shoe's positioning in relation to the sun location, to the minute details like the straps holding the billboard to the building. This attention to detail ensured that the stationary shoe appeared convincingly grounded in the real world, with the Adidas branding on point too, creating a visually realistic effect.

When working with a brand and celebrity collaboration, it's essential to make a big impact, and that's precisely what Adidas achieved with the launch of "The Mahomes 1 Away" shoe, designed for Patrick Mahomes, the star quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. In collaboration with the WeAreSocial agency, the project was a testament to the team's commitment to delivering a top-tier campaign that captured the attention of New Yorkers and online audiences. This project not only showcased the power of creative storytelling but also the innovation and technical expertise that brought this larger-than-life concept to fruition.

Watch how the POP team created this campaign here:

In all these projects, collaboration was the keystone. The synergy between POP, the client and the creative agency was pivotal in bringing all of the creative visions to life, so to speak.

It's clear that each project, no matter how large or small, is a testament to the constant evolution of technology and the necessity for POP to adapt and their commitment to learning. With many of these campaigns going viral, we can’t wait to see what they do next.