Introducing the Aurora: your chance to feel like an astronaut without ever leaving Earth! Brooks BlueLine development lab has truly outdone itself with this dreamy shoe, providing the ultimate moon-like experience while running. We dug deep into NASA’s photo archives for inspiration, feeling like true rocket scientists in the mix. Check out our behind-the-scenes journey from idea to delivery to produce the perfect video send-off for this out-of-this-world shoe.

Strap on your Auroras and blast off to witness the entire process of how this adventurous project came together!

Corporate | Live Action | 3D | 2D Animation | Illustration | Editorial | Compositing | Color Correction

To the Moon!!

ECD: Bobby Hougham
Director: Bobby Hougham
Director of Photography: Noah Schutz
CD: Sevrin Daniels
Editor: Joanny Causse
Design/Illustration: Vince Diga, Lindsey Mayer-Beug
3D team: Marcus Kulik, Adam Rosenzweig, Christopher Lopez, Ryan Davies
2D Animation/Compositing: Ryan Davies, Bryce Stines, Benjamin Strickland, Joanny Causse
Color Correction: Eric Edwards
Produced by: Steiner Kierce
Executive Producer: Andrew Kobliska

Score: Phil Peterson (House of Breaking Glass)
Sound Design/Foley/Mix:
John Buroker (HEARby)

Client: Brooks
CD: Mike Peck
Senior Design/AD: Lucas Fuentes
Senior Brand Designer: Sean Buknam
Graphic Design: Natalie Vukic
Senior Manager/Copy: Nikolaus Drellow
Digital Copy Manager: Katherine Pletzke
Global Creative Producer: Carolyn Draayer
Producer: Steve Gray

ECD: Bobby Hougham
Director: Bobby Hougham
Director of Photography: Noah Schutz
CD: Sevrin Daniels
Editor: Joanny Causse
Design/Illustration: Vince Diga, Lindsey Mayer-Beug
3D team: Marcus Kulik, Adam Rosenzweig, Christopher Lopez, Ryan Davies
2D Animation/Compositing: Ryan Davies, Bryce Stines, Benjamin Strickland, Joanny Causse
Color Correction: Eric Edwards
Produced by: Steiner Kierce
Executive Producer: Andrew Kobliska

Score: Phil Peterson (House of Breaking Glass)
Sound Design/Foley/Mix:
John Buroker (HEARby)

Client: Brooks

CD: Mike Peck
Designer: Lucas Fuentes
Copywriter: Elyse Delaney
Producer: Steve Gray
Project Manager: Nina Henningsen

The Process

We are a full-service production company!

Brooks came to us with a challenge: they needed a full-service production company that could keep their cutting-edge technology message consistent while staying true to their tongue-in-cheek brand. They had a hilarious concept in mind involving low-gravity running, but we needed to make it look seamless alongside normal gravity runners. No problem!

Not only did we have the antigravity effect to figure out but we also had to produce high-quality photo-real CGI models of the Aurora. Not to mention the overall production design AND wrapping it all up into a killer final product. Let me tell you, it was a wild ride from start to finish. But do we shy away from a challenge? Heck no! Our team of wizards – I mean, crew – including directors, producers, VFX pros, animators, and editors proved that nothing is too tough for us to handle. Want proof? Just take a gander at the amazing video we whipped up and read on to discover more about our production process. Oh, and l don’t forget to give us a round of applause while you’re at it.

Live Action Shenanigans

Making Sir Isaac Newton proud

In early pre-production, while developing the antigravity gag, the production team knew we wouldn’t be able to rely on editing alone. VFX was going to play a part to sell the trick on some level. Budget played a role in determining what approach we would take in production.

When faced with the challenge of not being able to shoot on location (the moon), director Bobby Hougham and DP Noah Schutz put their creative minds together, creating an elegant and affordable solution. They combined various angles and editing techniques to sell the effect they were looking for. It wasn’t just about over-cranking the camera, they needed the talent to expertly execute a “bounding stride” to truly simulate the low-g (gravity) look they were after.

With this kind of problem-solving prowess, our video production team has proven time and time again that they can make simple solutions for even the most complex ideas. And when the budget is properly allocated and the clients are grinning from ear to ear and the audience is entertained and informed, it’s a win-win-win situation all around!

Chris performing the “bounding” style of running. This footage is running in real-time.

Slowing the playback helps achieve the low gravity look.

Lights! Cameras! Action!

This production ended up using multiple cameras and some custom rigging to capture the different plates. The main workhorse was the Arri Alexa mini we used for all the outdoor running and Lab shots as well as our VFX plates. For the closeup heel strike, we brought in a Phantom. Normally this would be a bit overkill but considering the cushioning of the Aurora heel, we thought it would be amazing to get all the flex action that the product would put out and the phantom running at 200+ frames per second would pick up. We built multiple custom sets including a shoe development lab and even a moon surface complete with fake regolith!

Prop Craft!

Our video production services go deep on all our projects! We crafted some fun prop elements for this Apollo space program-inspired project. From the inspiration/development wall to lab uniform jackets and even a space helmet.

The Program Jacket

Brooks is 100% behind their brand mantra of “Run Happy”. Despite being super serious about their technology and their products, the corporate culture is very light-hearted and casual.

For the Blue Line lab, we needed to convey that serious craft and thought without compromising their vibrant corporate culture, white lab coats just wouldn’t do.

So, we continued to pull our ideas from the Apollo program. NASA makes program jackets with unique patches for each mission they engage in. We made a Blue Line Aurora Program Jacket. And, of course, the jacket was designed from a running shell base.

Program Patch Development

Below you can see some of the development that went into the different patches as well as application layout mockups. Being able to apply serious design chops to prop and set is all part of being a full-service production company is all about.

Designing the Blue Line org patch

Inspired by NASA and military program jackets, we designed three different levels in the patch hierarchy. The Brooks patch was treated appropriately as the parent organization. Similar to the US Flag or UNITED STATES patches on program, mission, or cruise jackets it was given a place of prominence.

We created a Blue Line group patch, akin to NASA or US NAVY in the hierarchy. We were inspired by NASA’s orbital designs and looked into ways to include the Brooks Path. This needed to be associated with Brooks while nodding to the future and feeling like part of a space program. Well, we hit a home run.

Aurora Patch Development

The Aurora patch was inspired by the Apollo space program and in part by an old Atari logo. Here you can see the revision path to the final. Interestingly, no matter how many iterations were made, it appears that we struck an initial shape early on. Another thing to note is how the star transformed, ultimately going away entirely in favor of its trailers.

This is an excellent example of the design process and the benefit of iterations and revisions.

Brooks Org Patches

We developed a couple of different patches for Brooks. One was to be a shoulder patch and one was for a front-facing application.

The Brooks Blue Line Aurora Program Jacket

Everything was going great in the development of this prop. The client creative department loved it, the merchandise group approved the jacket for us to use, AND IT MADE IT THROUGH LEGAL!! (Little did we know that was going to be the easy part of the production workflow.)

Jacket layout

What could be more appropriate for a running company than a program jacket based on a running shell? Futuristic yet clearly athletic and one of the Brooks products, the Fusion Hybrid Jacket ticked all the boxes.

After mocking up several options for patch placement, it sailed through all the internal approvals.

When the jackets arrived, the production team soon realized there were going to be practical challenges. In keeping with our space race, Apollo program theme, the jacket fit right in. Its fabric is an ultra-light, ultra-thin space-age tech material. In fact, the fabric is so light and thin that regular embroidered patches would have caused odd puckering where affixed.

Shifting tack, we found an iron-on type paper patch technique that the jacket could support. But even this new approach had its downfalls as ironing was likely to melt the fabric.

In the end, the team was able to make it work without damaging the jacket by ironing with an iron focus and a steady hand.

In fact, they looked so good, we decided to have some extras made for the clients!

Digging for Research or Geeking Out?

For the Blue Line lab, we wanted to create an “Inspiration and Production Wall”. A place where the engineers would put up images that inspired them in the Aurora project. We knew they were influenced by the idea of running on the moon so we dug into the NASA library.

All our projects are heavily researched, but let’s just say we may have gotten a little too carried away this time – who knew work could be so much fun? Take a peek at our findings, trust us, you won’t regret it.

Blue Line Lab Inspiration Wall

The Blue Line lab “inspiration wall” was our vehicle to weave the tale of the shoe’s inspiration and development and reveal the thoughtful and purposeful engineering behind them.

Bobby crafted a narrative that walked through that development in phases along the wall. The wall begins with NASA imagery and other inspiring images, transitions into sketches, and ends with final evolution tech illustrations.


We created a range of art to assist the telling of the Auror development. The Apollo images collected from the NASA archive were the main inspiration for the shoe. Finding the right ones to help tell that specific story was critical.

While that was in full swing, the team was producing illustrations of the Aurora in different stages of development. This ranged from early loose sketches exploring shapes through final materials and colors.

We also developed a series of space and UI-themed tech illustrations related to our animated tech section to round it out.

Here you can see a previsualization Bobby developed to help the art department place the art correctly for the storytelling.

Blue Line Illustrations

We had a lot of fun researching the shoe-building workflow. The fine folks at Brooks answered all our questions, whether on the design, features, or any other oddball questions we threw at them. They also provided a bunch of reference material for the wall.

Call the cobbler

A significant portion of the Aurora video relies on a 3D shoe. We use it for showing flex as well as different angles, details, and a final product shot.

After having done a few of these we have dialed in our technique. Our workflow is engineered to accommodate a stylized deliverable as well as a photorealistic version. After all, you never know what the future needs are going to be for the shoe. This solution gives maximum flexibility to us and the client.

Crafting the Model

Starting with fabric patterns and CAD files is all fine and dandy, but let’s be honest, sometimes that’s just going to be a snipe hunt. So, when we’re in a bit of a modeling jam, we turn to photogrammetry.

Now, this technique may appear like a fancy science experiment, but in layman’s terms, we take hundreds of photos of the object from every possible angle. Then, with the power of some computer software magic, we connect the key features in each photo to create a 3D version of the object.

Sure, it takes a few hours of number crunching and photo manipulation, but in the end, we’re left with a pretty fly model. So, the next time you need a 3D model of something and don’t have any patterns or digital files, just say “cheese” and let photogrammetry deliver its magic. The next step is cleanup, rigging, and UV mapping.

Rigging up the 3D

After finishing the modeling stage, the shoe then advances to rigging. Our scoping workflow informs the amount, type, and quality of animation we need to produce to bring them to life. We then use that information to place pivots and deformers in the various locations around the shoe.

This shoe required a minimal amount of complexity in the rigging. We built flexibility as well as twist originating in the decoupled sole.

Materials and Colors

Shaders are developed to make the materials look as intended. Good or bad 3D is often due to the amount of time devoted to this process. The Aurora uses some beautiful fabrics with fascinating weave patterns. There are varying levels of translucency derived in some cases from the material itself. In other cases, the openness of the weave provides that transparency.

Here you can see the shaders in progress. The ball on the right side is a low-weight model previewing changes to the texture with lighting, shadows, surface irregularities, corners, and edges.

Simulating Retroreflection

Who knew reflective material could be so fascinating? It turns out that the kind in road signs and bike reflectors is nothing like your run-of-the-mill mirror. Mirrors only reflect light if they’re perfectly facing the source – but retroreflectors bounce it right back to where it came from.

In 3D land, reflective shaders behave like mirrors, not retroreflectors. Building a proper shader involved some serious math and creative thinking.

The Aurora’s unique reflective heel cap is great for night runs and great for a good ole light physics challenge in 3D. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the material had to be specially engineered to make Bobby’s vision of a moon-orbiting, blinged-out shoe a reality.

No challenge was left unanswered; we dug in and crafted a material that behaves exactly like a real retroreflector.

Texturing and moving the Aurora

Sprinkling a touch of texture on your 3D creations can make all the difference in the world! Not only does it breathe life into your models, but it can also save you precious time when you’re in a modeling pinch. Plus, with the help of fancy little bump maps, you can simulate all sorts of intricate details that might otherwise require hours of tedious sculpting. So don’t skimp on the textures, folks! They’re the key to achieving that oh-so-realistic look that will make your work stand out from the crowd.

Getting the texture mix right for animation is no small feat. Every shoe flex, trim, and fold must be meticulously crafted to match real-life materials. The animation team knows they’re being watched by discerning eyes, too. Our audience includes professional runners, poring over our end product to see if the Aurora is a shoe that will carry them through 90 grueling miles of marathoning. So, no pressure or anything.

Editing and Audio

This job required some top-notch editing to match the vision we were producing. There was plenty of footage shot as well as a number of VFX plates produced. Our editors know the ins and outs of how to create a good story when you are dealing with a graphically enhanced project. Post-production on videos that contain more than just video footage requires special consideration. Not only is a good score and some sound mixing and design required to support a simple, footage-based edit but the addition of graphics and VFX, requires a bit more of that loving touch to deliver the goods.

Graphic storyboards

The tech section for the Aurora was going to be different from anything else Brooks was doing graphically. Blue Line is an innovative design and engineering lab; we decided to lean into that.

Brooks had presented some initial frames that felt like a combination of blueprint and user interface design. We took it another step further and developed some cool tech animations to support the story.

Full-service video production

Whether you want to create videos for a social media campaign, commercials, traditional video marketing, digital media, brand video, or corporate video, whether for broadcast or your own website, we are the full-service production company for your next project. From pre-production through post whether fully animated, live-action with a ton of VFX, or straight shot and edited narrative. All video types start with your ideas as the foundation and together we collaborate on high-quality video production creating great videos to see the vision through no matter your audience!

Apollo mission panorama of the moon

You guys are the shit. Thank you!

Lucas Fuentes

Brooks Running

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