Zbrush in Production

Posted in 3D on March 16th, 2010 by sketchbookinc

One of my goals last year was to learn Zbrush. It’s one of the few goals I accomplished! Unfortunately my projects don’t often need Zbrush. So I sneak it in when I am able. Still am fairly beginner at it. I’ve been pushing my clients to adopt Zbrush and displacement as a standard for a lot of 3d product creation, but it’s a slow sell. Only a matter of time. Here are a few images created recently of some Nike on body product. Note the insanely low poly base mesh which renders with displacement at render time like butter! Vray and Zbrush make a great team!

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Styleframe for Nike Soccer animation

Posted in Design on May 14th, 2009 by sketchbookinc

frame1_01b_450Here’s a frame I developed for the opening of a Nike soccer animation we have been working on. I like the way it turned out. More later on this animation.


Nike Shox

Posted in 3D, Animation on April 23rd, 2009 by sketchbookinc

We recently modeled a high rez Nike Shox shoe for a Nike spot that was created by Ryan Rothermel (Decoy) and Spilled Karma. Linus Jodwalis textured and animated the shoe in Maya. Great work to all!

Nike Mobius Portal from sketchbookinc on Vimeo.


Nike Packaging render for Big Giant

Posted in 3D on March 20th, 2009 by sketchbookinc

Here’s a rendering of some nike packaging just finished for Big Giant. These boxes are crazy high rez. Built them from scratch with thickness, etc. Renders done in Vray. big_giant_packaging

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New Projects

Posted in 3D, Illustration on February 11th, 2009 by sketchbookinc


Busy Busy Busy!

Several new projects.

A couple retail renderings for Big Giant. Almost done with the 2008 chicago marathon space that they built out last year. They didn’t come away with good photos, so I will be rendering the space in 3d. Also need to work on a smaller rendering for BG. This is the second largest retail space I believe I have ever worked on, aside from the Nike Factory store. The amount of product in this scene is pushing my computers to their limits. Vray Proxy objects being used at will!

My goal is to use a lot of this product (which was ported over from c4d renderer), and I will be going back and re-rendering a lot of my old work in Vray.

Also working on a 3d illustration for BSSP in SF. 

On the back burner are a few Nike projects as well, that I probably won’t get to till the end of the month. 

Lastly some wine bottles for Dot Zero.

Will post some images as soon as I have them done.

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Nike Soccer Illustrations

Posted in Illustration on December 26th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

I was commissioned by Nike to create some soccer illustrations recently.

This was a fun project. Part illustration, part 3d, part design. The goal of the illustration was to show a somewhat moody image of a ball and a glove (2 separate images) within a stadium environment. The Inspiration I was given was a very dark night shot of a field (no stadium) with a floating soccer cleat, and a lot of photoshop work. It wasn’t a bad illustration per-se, but it wasn’t what I would call good.

My first thought is we needed some type of human form. A ball or glove sitting in the middle of a stadium is a bit odd to me. I thought the product needed a little more context. I mentioned this to Nike, and their worry was that the product would get lost if there were soccer players on the field, so my next step was to prove the concept with a sketch.


We decided that the mood Nike was seeking was somewhat film Noire, with the high contrast, dark imagery. We pulled some reference images like the one to the left from the movie Sin City. Not the faces, but the black silhouette body forms. I sent some images like the image to the left to Nike to make sure we were on the right path.

Next step was to create some sketches of the 2 scenes, so I started building some rough scene elements so that I could visualize the scale this stadium would play.

00_stadium_render1The stadium was going to be an interesting challenge. Not only was a ball in the middle of a stadium an odd visual to me, but the ball inside an empty stadium was even worse! So the test for me was to create a composition which would show the stadium, but not the people. Ouch. I figured the dark scene with really bright field lights might somehow do the trick. I also started positioning some very basic 3d characters in poses/crops which worked well with the product + the stadium surroundings.

I realized very quickly that Vray would not be an option for this rendering, as Vray does not have the ability to render out volumetric lights. The Stadium lights needed to be volumetric, which basically means they need to have some visible shape.



Initial pre-renders ended up looking like those above. Using a photo I took of my office mate Jason (medical illustrator) kicking a soccer ball as well as some other reference images, Jason helped me to pose the characters as accurately as possible. I then positioned them within frame, and rim lit them a bit.


We then created some sketches that I used to get signoff on the concept from Nike. Shown here are round 1 and 2 of the soccer ball sketch. Nike thought that the ball in round 1 was much too small, so we had to come up with a knew composition. Once we had full signoff, I worked on rendering out the environment and the product, as Jason worked on the illustrating the final characters. Below are Jason’s final deliverables to me. They ended up brighter, and less contrasty than I had expected, but the scene’s would need some color, so I was happy with the result.


The final illustrations are shown below. I think that the Ball illustration is the nicer of the 2 images. I did some fairly heavy post work on the images to get them where I wanted them. Lots of fake fog was painted in, grain was added, filters were applied in AE. Lastly, I did a lot of color correction and tweaking to get it all working together.

The ball and grass were rendered within Vray, and the stadium was rendered with Cinema’s AR3. The cleat was also rendered in c4d. Note that the glove, although slated to be modeled and rendered, ended up being a photo I took in the studio. The ball we had modeled from a previous product, and we ran out of time to model and texture a full glove.



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Nike EXP Guard Animation

Posted in Animation on December 21st, 2008 by sketchbookinc

exp_stillOver the last couple years we’ve done several 3d animations for the Nike soccer group. Used for internal marketing, these animations tend to be low on creativity and high on realism and function.

This animation was done for the new EXP guard – which is the ultimate protective soccer shin guard.

See the Animation

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Nike Concept Store – Round 4

Posted in 3D, Animation on December 20th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

I worked on the first round of this project with Ziba. After that Nike took this project inhouse. I worked on this round briefly. As I recall I was filling in for someone.

Round 3 as far as I know went to Eight Inc. In San Francisco.

This most recent round Nike hired Skylab Architecture (Jeff Kovel).

Below are some renderings for this latest round. These were rendered with c4d’s Advanced Render. We also created a 3 minute flythrough of the space in Max using Vray. See the Animation

We had to rebuild the entire store in 3ds max due to c4d’s animation limitations at the time.

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Nike Reuse-A-Shoe Bin

Posted in Design on December 15th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

I was hired by Digital Pond recently to design out a shoe recycle bin for Nike. Nike’s current bin is a cardboard box with a hole on top and a backboard. Not compelling, and it shows a lack of investment in a worthwhile initiative. One of the requirements was that the new bin should not look out of place in a Nike retail environment. It had to look nice in other words. Another requirement was that it should have a media component to it.

I didn’t have much time to spend on this as I was given the go ahead the week my wife gave birth. But I spent a day or so and created 3 options which I thought had some potential. The graphic is placeholder.bin_07 This version is the most playful of the bunch and takes cues from the Nike Sportswear stores and the common use of cubbies made of wood. All 3 cubbies spin, and have a hole in the top corner. The cases provide a way of seeing what’s inside without smelling what’s inside.
bin_03This option includes some curves which creates a more energetic and sporty look. The dark wood is used in a number of Nike environments including Sportswear stores and the House of Hoops.
bin_09Lastly, this version is just clean, probably the most stately of the bunch, and uses the wood with several reveals to fit into the Nike aesthetic.

Something else I was hired to do was work on some creative visuals for the Reuse-A-Shoe initiative. These would be graphics and/or animations which could be used at retail or TV/web. All of these concepts take inspiration from some existing visuals done for Nike ID.

ras_bin_splayedshoeConcept: shoe coming apart (fully realistic) and turning into 3 different athletic fields.
ras_bin_soles Concept: An outdoor court is built using the soles of old shoes. Real people would be composited onto this, and below the court would be empty.
ras_bin_meltshoeThis concept takes the most direct influence from the NIKE ID graphics that were existing. One of them has a shoe dripping color into a swirly pool of paint. This idea would be similar – but instead the shoe would be melting into an athletic court.

I don’t believe any of the sketches were presented to Nike.

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Nike Sportswear Store

Posted in 3D on December 15th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nsw_01Nike worked with me to visualize the new concept for the Nike Sportswear Store.

This was my first retail project rendered in Vray for c4d, which has a lot of limitations and bugs, but does a much nicer job than c4d. Nike provided the store architecture and fixturing on this project. I textured and lit everything, and then worked on merchandising. Nike provided some rough direction, and I filled in the holes.

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Nike ID @ Niketown NYC

Posted in 3D on December 11th, 2008 by sketchbookinc


I worked on the Nike ID space within Niketown New York with my friend Luis Rueda a while back. Luis has a background in architecture, and he often sketches out his retail spaces on the fly. His weapon of choice is a large, rolling, mechanical dry-erase board which prints the board’s contents onto a piece of paper. Pretty nifty.

This rendering is one of several that were done for the space. All rendered in c4d’s AR. This would have been a great VRay project.

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Nike Concept Store – Round 1

Posted in 3D on November 20th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

A while back Nike hired me to work with Ziba Design to render out some concepts for a new store concept. My contact at Nike was Paul Loux and my contact at Ziba was Jonathon Irick. The renderings turned out ok despite not having VRay at the time.nike_concept_store_01nike_concept_store_02

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Nike Sun Book

Posted in Design on November 17th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

Here’s a project I worked on in my first stint in Nike Brand Design.sun2
Style wise, this marketing book was pretty wide open and the product focus was to be a new line of sun/surf apparel which Nike had not tapped into yet.
As you can see the overall style is warm and pulls lots of inspiration from the vibrant colors of Miami Beach. I used an illustrative look which I felt helped convey the sandy warm feeling and flowing, wavy organic graphics atop to give everything movement.

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Nike Global Factory Store

Posted in 3D on November 16th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nike_factory_01This store is massive from a real world and 3d perspective. When working on 3d stores, it’s always a challenge to render a store out with as much product as this has, let alone work on it. The polygon count is enormous. This being the case, I planned to render this store using Vray, which was not available for Cinema 4d at the time. Vray is arguable the best render engine for architectural renderings.
nike_factory_02I hired a 3ds max contractor and we began converting a massive amount of files from c4d to max. This process took quite a while.

As with most retail projects, my role is to model, light and texture scenes, position cameras, as well as providing initial merchandising. Visual merchandisers are often hard to find on a project until the project is almost finished, so typically once I am given rough direction as to which categories go where, I usually will toss together all the merchandising, and then run this past the VM’s. It’s just faster this way – especially on a store this size. Occasionally a VM is available at the beginning of a project, and some are very specific while other are quite vague. Totally depends in who I work with.

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Nike TreadLock Glove Animation

Posted in Animation on October 29th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

Nike Gridlock Animation from sketchbookinc on Vimeo.

Nike asked us to create an animation showing the features and benefits of some new football gloves. The gloves have channels that are built into the palm, similar to the tread on a tire.

As with all of the animations we create for Nike, we are typically given a written script of the wording that will be shown in the animation, and then we create storyboards and attempt to create a story behind the animation. We rendered this in VRay and E. Scott Morris provided the voice over.

See the Animation


Nike Baseball Lanyard

Posted in Design on October 26th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nike_lanyard_1I designed this fold up, double sided “brochure” while working in the Team Sports Equipment department at Nike. The entire thing folds to the size of a name tag, and fits into a lanyard pouch which is used by the Nike sales force at tradeshows. Tim Clark art directed me on this project, and Bob Brinemeyer (have no idea how to spell his last name) created the illustrations.nike_lanyard_2nike_lanyard_3


Nike Basketball Packaging

Posted in Design on October 17th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

Some packaging I designed while working at Nike in the team sports equipment department.nike_bballs

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Nike Carrygear Poster

Posted in Design on October 15th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nike_carrygearHere’s a poster I worked on while while freelancing at Nike. Dane Johnson was the lead designer from Nike, and he asked me to create the photo montage on the right side.


Nike Global Retail Guidelines

Posted in 3D on October 15th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nike_global_store_01Originally started while I was freelancing in Brand Design, this is the longest projects I have worked on for Nike. While I was onsite in Brand, I worked with Luis Rueda to develop some initial global fixtures. Luis would provide rough sketches, I would model them up, and then we would sit together and refine them.

I eventually left Nike to go out on my own, and Luis hired me to work on the second portion of this project which included building out several store environments. I was still fairly new to 3d at this point, and there was an enormous amount of rendering work that needed to be done for the project. I was renting new macs from Mac Force at about $500 per week, and setting them up in my house in order to render the scenes out. My methods were pretty crude, and my technical abilities limited – so renderings that should have taken a couple hours to render were taking upwards of 30 hours each! And as a new Nike vendor money wouldn’t be coming any time soon.

After a while the project was complete, however the global retail guidelines book was not printed.

nike_global_store_00Some time later I inherited this project again. At this point all the work we had previously done was basically scrapped. We ended up building and rendering every Nike fixture and attachment to scale for use in the book. Greg Stobbs was the designer at Nike.

nike_global_store_02Pam Hroza worked with me on the merchandising of this global store and she was very detailed in what she wanted. Not much to do from my side.

As with most Nike projects, timelines are always tight and I end up working crazy hours. So these renderings were done with C4d’s native render engine. No GI. Never had the time for fancier renderings. Even with simplified renderings, many of the shots in this 4000sf store would not render. Out of memory errors were common and often meant final images had to be composited from multiple render passes.

This time the project was indeed finalized for good and a book with many of my renderings was printed and sent to all the Nike regions and departments that have anything to do with retail.

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Nike T90 Confidence Glove

Posted in 3D, Animation on October 13th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

We worked on a glove animation for Nike a while back. The actual animation is not very interesting as it’s just a simple presentation of the gloves features and benefits. I won’t bother posting. However here are some stills of the glove. This was rigged in Cinema 4d, and rendered with C4d’s basic render engine. The images turned out pretty nice, and Nike decided to use some of the stills for printed collateral, instead of shooting with traditional photography.omni_glove1omni_glove2