The Power of Imagination image

The Power of Imagination Motion Graphics Designer Rachid Jader on the fantastical 3D animation he created for the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Yecheil.

Rachid Jader’s personal take on a brand promo for the Adidas Yeezy Boost 350 Yecheil reflects a combination of his love of sports, motion design and experimentation.

Based in Doha, Qatar, Jader spent 45 days tackling every aspect of this passion project, using a toolset that included Cinema 4D, Redshift, X-Particles and After Effects. The result is a playful, polished animation that features the dexterous talents of a scene-stealing robot spider that weaves a complex technical fabric.

We spoke to Jader to learn more about the project and his career in motion design, 3D and VFX. Currently, he supervises the graphic department at Qatar’s Alkass Sports Channel while also serving as senior motion designer, creating graphic content packages, including idents, promos and trailers for special sports programs across the company’s eight channels.

Jader: For me, personal projects are like a continuous learning opportunity in the field. I like having my own space for creation with all my passion, having fun doing R&D and feeling free to do anything I would like to test or try.

With those projects, the amount of creativity is unlimited, which pushes me to explore and challenge myself to try new and different styles. The results are always fascinating and surprising because you can’t know what you’re capable of until you give it try and I always discover that I have more to learn. This industry continuously evolving and moving so fast, if you don’t move too, you won’t catch the train.

Jader: I like the Yecheil because of the colors, detail, smoothness of the fiber design and the shape of the shoe. I wanted to highlight all of those features in a short, making-of sequence for my showreel and I was so happy with it, I wanted to see how I could take the concept further.

I started drawing the storyboard in my head and planning the models. I thought about how biofabric could work in a surreal concept, and I wanted to create something unique. I got the idea to use spider silk, maybe because I’d recently drawn Spider-Man on my office wall at home.

Spider silk seemed perfect to me, with a colourful spider making the fabric. But a spider making a shoe sounded a little bit creepy to my wife, so I changed to a robot spider to make it more fun and imaginative. I fell in love with the robot spider character and decided to make an animated video because it was so powerful and deserved its own story.

Jader: For the spider robot, I bought a normal robot 3D model and customized it by modelling it into a spider with a sewing machine head. Then, I modeled the tiny legs, applying a very simple rigging using Cinema 4D for animation. I rendered it with Redshift, choosing very simple shaders from my Redshift library and concentrating most on the position of cameras, animation keyframes and lighting.

Redshift Render View helped me find the right angle for the spider, allowing me to play with the shadows to highlight the spinning and the weaving process, add more displacement and tweak the normal maps.

The Yeezy is a scanned model from Sketchfab, white with a huge amount of polygons. I did some retopology for rigging using Cinema 4D deformers to get the smoothness of the shoe and to show the deformations effects. Next, I used Redshift to highlight the detail of the fiber design with well-placed cameras and lights.

Redshift really gave me the ability to find the right place and movement for my camera and highlight the ropes to appear like a yummy piece of cake. It’s a cornerstone of my creative toolkit and I first starting using it when I began using Cinema 4D to develop character animation skills.

Jader: I experimented with a few effects including the sewing technique, adding random MoGraph animated splines and cheating with the camera movements and angles. I also experimented with how to stretch the texture of the shoe using deformers to achieve a knitting effect.

Redshift helped me with all of the R&D. I was able to show the realism of the fibers using the displacement map and depth of field and Render View helped me to choose the right camera angle. All that gave me more freedom to get different artistic looks in a very short time. Also, playing with shaders and textures in the Shadergraph in real-time helped me to achieve the quality in the project.

Another challenge was the last scene when the boot jumps. I used one camera sequence and needed to keep the same lighting before the jump, during the jump and after the boot hits the floor. I used three area lights and the magic of Redshift to animate them.

When the boot jumps from the floor, I turned off the initial three lights and created three new lights in the higher part. When it came down, I created new lights and turned off the upper ones, allowing me to keep the same lighting during the whole animation of the scene. Redshift helped me to go smoothly from one to the other.

Jader: My favorite effect in the scene where the lower part of the shoe sticks to the upper. I’m really happy with how it shows the density of the unfinished parts of the fabric. I used Cinema 4D’s Hair and NetCreator plugin to stick the fabric to the plastic part smoothly. And because Redshift works perfectly with all Cinema 4D plugins, I used it to add more realism to the black and coloured fibres.

Jader: I like to make new things that I’ve never made before, and I enjoy challenging projects that push me to search for and learn things. Each project is a fun journey for me, from the beginning to the final product. I like how this field has no limits, so when you ask what’s next for me, my answer is that the sky is the limit. It could be anything that you can imagine.


Author

Helena Corvin-Swahn Freelance Writer – United Kingdom