A massive thanks to Valis for pulling us onto this super cool project!

Watermark Creative was one of the teams working on AR exhibits for the Sneaker Hub show, which featured a number of high-end shoe and fashion brands including Nike, Puma, New Balance, and Adidas to name a few.

We were tasked with developing a collection of AR experiences for a range of 5 Adidas sneakers, which explored the design story behind each shoe in an engaging visual experience, and within a general 'Neo-Tokyo' theme.


The sneakers were positioned on bespoke plinths, which provided a solid base to track in AR, and suggested a number of creative tricks to engage with the medium. Each experience was to comprise a short animation that would start with the shoe virtually lifting off the plinth, playing through a dynamic sequence, and returning back to the plinth again.

A few of the key words in the brief were ‘Neon’, ‘Textural’ and ‘Light/Dark’.

In our creative development phase, we quickly established that to achieve suitable impact we would need to develop a number of special effects utilising realtime shaders.

In particular, creating the fluid and membraneous effects was incredibly satisfying. As these were programatically generated, we were able to finesse the result without expensive re-animation in a traditional sense.

One of the primary challenges was in establishing how we would position each experience between a literal retelling of the story, and a more figurative portrayal of mood. 

As a compromise, where literal elements were employed, we portrayed them in an unexpected manner to subvert expectations.


Supercourt is a shoe for the urban environment, pristine in contrast to the streets around it. A strong element of the design is the idea that the shoe can endure harsh treatment and immediately be cleaned to restore the original crisp white.

To tell the story, we developed an animated cityscape inspired by the Tokyo of Akira. Using some crafty shader effects, as the shoe animates it paints the town in a multitude of colours before a rainstorm cleans everything back to white.


With a reflective nighttime theme, the Night Jogger was placed in its natural element.

We played up the idea of a run through nocturnal streets, headphones in, light streaking past the viewer.​​​​​​​


The Ultraboost is a performance running shoe with crossover appeal. As a return to the deep black and purple colourway, we chose ferrofluids as a complementary high-tech visual element.

The fluid effects in this activation are all shader driven, and truly responding to dynamic elements in the scene to really sell the magnetism of the shoe.


As a reissue of the 1972 classic, the Stan Smith activation played up classic tennis imagery. Some clever implementation of realtime physics provided an element of unexpected punchiness.


The Ozweego reinterprets elements from futuristic sneakers of the 90s. From this starting point, the experience took a similar retro-futuristic approach, considering an aesthetic of the future that never quite was. 

The primary effects were primarily driven by an array of particles, responsive to other elements in the scene. The visual energy of the shoe was therefore made tangible in a highly dynamic way.


Client: Valis
Creative Direction: David Way
Modelling & Technical Design: Nicolas Harris
Animation: Shannon Jahnel Lanktree
Video Footage: Valis

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