Psyop and Golden Wolf Run For the Ocean

A Team-Up that Transforms Ocean Plastic for adidas x Parley for the Oceans.

As part of their ongoing partnership with Parley for the Oceans, adidas unveiled a new UltraBOOST Parley running shoe, created from upcycled plastic waste, and has kicked off a multiplatform global marketing campaign to promote it. Together, creative studios Psyop and Golden Wolf were honored to create the centerpiece of the campaign: a new film demonstrating the positive, transformative nature of reused ocean plastic.

Working alongside adidas’ creative agency TBWANeboko, Psyop and Golden Wolf used a combination of live action and animation to show the way in which plastic waste threatens our oceans, but can be reclaimed and transformed for good. To approach such a complex idea, Psyop and Golden Wolf embraced a mixed media approach that reflected the spirit of community coupled with innovative technology that goes into a conservation effort like this. Each pair of UltraBOOST Parley shoes prevents approximately 11 plastic bottles from entering our oceans, as the bottles are intercepted from beaches and then transformed into a new material that makes up these unique sneakers.

Psyop director Marco Spier explained why he was so excited to create this film for adidas x Parley, saying, “This project is very close to my heart. I got involved with Parley for the Oceans from the beginning and having the opportunity to help spread the message together with adidas and TBWANeboko has been a great honor. Psyop is a collaboration partner of Parley, and it was great to see Psyop and Parley joining forces to create this and I can’t wait for the next opportunity. As Paul Watson the Sea Shepherd pointed out, the ocean will be dead by 2048. ‘If the ocean dies, we die.’ This is bigger than us. This is about survival. Ocean plastic is not just just the fiber used in the actual production process, from collected bottle to shoe, but is also very metaphorical. It’s the fiber, the thread that connects everything, always present. It shows how every action has a consequence. How the universe is connected and we can’t isolate one thing from another.”

“With everything going on in the world today it was a breath of fresh air to get to work on a campaign for a cause as good as Parley’s,” explains Golden Wolf director Ingi Erlingsson. “What really drew us to this project was that the challenge was both creative and technical, so it felt like a really perfect chance for us to collaborate with the team at Psyop, combining our trademark 2d style with their incredible 3d pipeline.”

In creating the spot, Psyop utilized a unique CG fiber and thread system to mimic the way in which the UltraBOOST Parley shoes themselves are crafted from ocean plastic fibers. “I loved the idea that the animation is made out of ocean plastic, but at the same time, we felt like not wasting actual ocean plastic to make advertising,” said Spier. “So we were excited to create our virtual yarn, still keeping the tactile quality of the material, but without creating any waste. All we have to do is to hit the delete button.”

“Working alongside Marco on this project was a really great learning experience for me personally. I really enjoyed the pitching process and the challenges that the shoot threw at us, it felt really collaborative and we were able to push the creative even further on the day,” added Erlingsson.

R&D LEAD, Jonah Friedman:

There are reasonable and unreasonable ways to do things. In the past when asked to make a Christmas sweater, we opted to create a system called the “Entwiner”, which makes woolen knits out of millions of CG fibers rather than a simple texture. Is that reasonable? Probably not, but it looks a lot better.

So when we were tasked to create patches, which would be made out of merely hundreds of thousands of fibers, what were we going to do? Is it even a question? Fibers!

There were challenges. First, our particular style of patches use sewing direction and stitching for effect – these are artistically created pieces and cannot just be translated from 2D animation by a CG sewing machine. Second, we needed to make hundreds of these, to animate stop motion, so we also had to be very efficient.

Our solution was a new system, called the “Patchtwiner”. The Patchtwiner was a system and toolbox for artists to turn 2D animation into properly “Entwined” patches.

Every frame of our animation looks as though an artist stitched a bespoke patch, creating contours and laying down stitches to represent the image in the best way possible.

Stop motion is difficult, and results in imperfections, and we recreated those for ourselves. The patches are differently deformed on every frame, as if they were sewn to a piece of fabric that wouldn’t sit still. The light jitters on every frame, and the effect is complete: artist created stop-motion patch animation.

LIGHTER, Thao Dan Nguyen Pan:

adidas UltraBOOST X Parley was a challenging project where every part of the process was an exploration. Jumping around as different roles, doing R&D, lighting & rendering to comping, I got to have the freedom to test different ideas.The goal was to find the right amount of imperfection… distortion that makes it realistically hand-crafted. It was a frame by frame process: from stitching the threads to moving the fabric, changing the indentations and shifting the lights. We literally did stop motion in 3D.