Nike Lifts the Lid on Highly Dynamic Rendering Workflow at Nvidia GTC 2013

Excerted and reposted from: http://develop3d.com/features/nvidia-gtc-2013

Nike’s Russell McMurdie lifted the lid on the highly dynamic rendering workflow that Nike uses as part of its design / review process.

The presentation included a feast of photorealistic renderings, including the legendary Nike Air Force One shoe, that play an essential role in getting a product signed off for manufacture.

Nike’s design process starts with a sketch, which then evolves into a model using a number of 3D tools, including one that is specifically designed for modelling shoe uppers.

To create the visualisations the model is then taken into Maya via the OBJ format and automatically cleaned up using some custom scripts. Finally it is brought into Bunkspeed, where Nike’s custom materials are dropped on to create the stunning photorealistic renderings.

The Nike Flyknit Lunar 1+ rendered in Bunkspeed PRO by Russ McCurdie of Nike

According to McMurdie, custom materials for Bunkspeed are essential so visuals will accurately represent how the finished design will look. “Our material designers get a sample of the materials,” he said. “Depending on the material we’ll either go and photograph it or scan it and then take it into Photoshop. Then we have programs that export out all of the different maps we need and they’re all super, super light and fast and quick.”

For each unique design, stills and turntable animations can be rendered in seconds thanks to an in-house GPU render farm that boasts a whopping 24 Nvidia Tesla C0275 GPUs. This proves invaluable when last minute visuals are needed for meetings in order to get new designs and colourways signed off.

In addition to the speed benefits, McMurdie explained that using the GPU render farm frees up his local machine so he can continue to work at full speed.