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Behind The Scenes CGI Development & Video Production For Warrior Sports


To launch New Balances’ redesigned lacrosse speed cleat they created for their subsidiary brand, Warrior Sports, Unconquered developed CGI graphics and produced live action video for the BurnX3 debut. The BurnX3 colorways are a drastic change from its predecessors with bold, bright colors that are a part of New Balance’s unique “Made For Lacrosse” shoe strategy.

CGI Animation is a very complicated process that requires advance planning in order to go from concept to the final product. There are five major processes in CGI animation: script, storyboard, live action capture, animation and final touches. 

Starting With A Script

Like any video production, scripting is the first step in creating a video that uses both CGI and live action. This sets up the chronological order of what will be happening and the story arch. Scripting helps the animators have a clear concept of what needs to be animated vs trying to create it on the fly after the live action is shot. 

Creating The Storyboard 

Once the script is finished, we move into storyboarding. The storyboard incorporates the script and gives the animators a chance to see the environment, characters, and camera angles that will need to be considered. The script is usually presented at the bottom of every drawing to give clarity to what is occurring. To ensure that the animations naturally fit into the video, we mapped out specific shots where we wanted to use CGI in the storyboard which helped us plan the camera movements and athlete actions. 

Storyboard’s are very important part of the process. If you are struggling with how to capture live action and CGI in your shoot, you can reach out to our production experts for consultation.

Using The Storyboard, We Start Shooting The Live Action 

Once the storyboard was created, we started pre-production for the live action shoot day. Following the plan that we created during the storyboard phase, we produced a production schedule that outlined an efficient shoot schedule that took lighting, location moves and timing into consideration. We did not shoot in chronological order, but in an order that provided the most efficiency between each shot. Time is a big consideration on set, the more time spent, the more it will cost. Therefore we plan out what will provide the least amount of resetting scenes and light. 

Creating The Animation And Adding It To Video 

Once the live action was shot, we moved into the animation phase. For this project, we made a 3D scan of the shoes that we applied to the CAD model the client provided. We used this scan to lay over the CAD to create realistic textures on the outside of the shoes. There were three features on the shoe we needed to highlight using 3D graphics: the kinetic stitch, hybrid collar and the speed plate. The scans were looking realistic so we didn’t need to remake these three features digitally and we were able to mold these across the different colored shoes seen at the end of the video. The 3d scan captures everything, including the color info, which we wanted to retain in the final model we created. It can be challenging to match color up in a 3D world, but in this case, we were able to keep the original scan data and not have to recreate the color. After the models are created and the live action is captured, the editor begins cutting the transitional shots so the CGI artist can align the 3d environment into the live action so they overlay properly. We used movements that zoomed in and out to create the transitions between live action and CGI. Below is a video that illustrates all of the animation steps coming together. 

Blending Light and Environment For The Final Touches

After the transitions are created, the CGI artist works to match the lighting with the real world space, mimicking where the real life light is coming from. After the lighting and grass were matched, the next phase is rendering the CGI animation, which turns each frame into an image and strings them together to create motion. During this process, it layers in the depth of field, lighting and product. The last stage after it has been rendered is adding in the graphics for the tech call outs of the shoe. 

This project was a part of a year long, content strategy and production engagement that strategically captured a year’s worth of campaign content in a week long production involving CGI, motion and photography. To learn how you can maximize your content production please get in touch with our content experts.