A splash of ink morphs into late legend Kobe Bryant, as he slam dunks to the thunderous roar of fans in “Dear Kobe” for Nike China.
Directed by Francois Rousselet of Division + The Pandemic Story for Weiden+Kennedy Shanghai, the emotional tribute blends live action with stylized animation by Mathematic VFX in a poignant homage to the Academy Award-winning animated short “Dear Basketball.”
Set to a tranquil piano score, the spot juxtaposes young fans and athletes inspired by the legend with animated montages of memorable gameplay.
Mathematic designed the animation with ink splotches that transform into characters, props and environments, in order to reflect and symbolize memories and Chinese tradition. Designers rotoscoped line animation over footage shot in camera, tracing Bryant’s face and background environments to give the spot a hand-crafted flair and fresh aesthetic. To express greater depth and emotion in the line animation, the Mathematic team added shadows and details that mirrored the original footage and further captured Bryant’s resemblance.
“When we started this project, we knew we needed to be very considerate when defining the animation style and effects. The spot is a poignant reminder of the life of Kobe Bryant, and we knew it would be viewed by millions of fans around the world,” said Guillaume Marien, Executive Producer and Owner, Mathematic. “It was a truly dedicated process on behalf of the whole team, who collaborated on a tight schedule to make it happen. We are honored to have been a part of the film and to have the opportunity to celebrate a legend.”