adidas | SRP Project (REAL-TIME CGI)

Substance 3D Designer
Substance 3D Painter


Transforming Content Creation

In early 2023, the adidas Studio A CG Production team started experimenting with an innovative content creation pipeline called SRP (Sneaker Rendering Pipeline) to make a new 3D content type for product pages and optimize existing content for the brand. While on this journey, we have seen impressive improvements on the adidas online shopping experience and better contextual product representation, so we look forward to sharing this journey with you!

SRP — Contextual Environment 3D Renderings — Still Images


During internal research, we recognized that presenting products within a contextual sports or lifestyle environment has a massive impact on sales, yet the barriers to achieving this consistently through traditional photography methods were prohibitively high. So, the primary objective behind SRP was clear: to create photorealistic content that competes and potentially outperforms traditional studio or location product shoots. The challenge lay in handling product volumes in the thousands while ensuring each product was accurately presented in the proper sporting or lifestyle context at a quality comparable to photography.


SRP — Contextual Environment 3D Rendering — Animation


The roots of this content creation pipeline trace back several years when our team first ventured into producing 3D scanned footwear assets for a virtual try-on feature. Simultaneously, we were really impressed by the quality, scalability and flexibility of Unreal Engine 5.

Our team lead, Arran Royle, said:
“From the get-go, we aimed for the highest quality, we realized early on that our 3D renders needed to seamlessly blend with real product photos. This was no easy feat, let me tell you.”.

While bringing this vision to life took some time, through the collaboration with Covision, Nureg, Effekt Etage, and Epic Games, we provided the necessary expertise to produce assets at the required scale and quality for SRP to work.


SRP — Turntable 3D Rendering — Product Digital Twin Overview

SRP — Outdoor product line 3D renders


The Efficiency of Automation: From Import to Reality

Central to this innovative pipeline is a fully automated application written in Python and Vue.JS that communicates with Unreal Engine 5. 

"We aimed to create not a simple one-button pipeline but an agile toolkit for our 3D Artists. We integrated excellent architectural and algorithmic solutions that enable our artists, make them more productive, and give more creative freedom to focus on the look and feel of the content instead of technical feats." — said Technical Lead Mike Voropaev.

This process transforms complexity into simplicity, guiding users from importing heavy 3D assets to the final rendering and image uploading stages.


SRP — High-level pipeline overview


Products aren't just inserted into virtual contextual environments; they are automatically placed using physics simulations in natural positions. That saves a lot of time on manual import and product placement. Also, this allows us to reduce human error or placements in unnatural positions, 3D objects intersection with ground or environment props, and so on.


SRP — Physics simulation of product placement


But it's not enough to just place the product in the frame — it is also essential to ensure that the product stays in the exact center of the frame with user-defined margins from the sides. We are using several algorithms that calculate the bounding sphere around the products in both 2D and 3D space and adjust the cameras accordingly to ensure that shoes always stay in the center, no matter how big they are — whether it is an Adilette slide or high-top boot.
That saves artists a lot of time that could now be spent on asset creation or creative direction. Without the pipeline, artists would have to manually adjust the camera position for each shot and product, then cropping and naming the output.


SRP — Automatic frame and camera adjustments, product always stays centered no matter the size

SRP — Running product line 3D renders​​​


The SRP toolkit workflow looks like this. The artist creates or assembles an Unreal Engine 5 environment (for instance, a tennis court, basketball hall, or running track), then places the targets to spawn the shoes in the places of interest, adjusting lights and the creative look. Once the setup is done it can be re-used repeatedly for different products automatically. Drop some 3D models in the folder, and the pipeline will do the rest, including the final correct naming to use on eCOM and matching format specifications to the Digital Asset Management system.

Unreal Engine 5 is an excellent choice for quick environment creation and assembly: it provides instant visual feedback and makes the whole process smooth and comfortable for the artist. Like in a video game, artists or stakeholders can "visit" the virtual world and choose where the "photoshoot" should occur.

We're also experimenting with a VR version of the pipeline to make the work inside virtual worlds even more accessible to creatives with photography backgrounds.


SRP — Template city scene environment setup using dummy shoe target

SRP — End result rendered in the city environment automatically for many products

SRP — Lifestyle product line 3D renders in the city environment

SRP — Pipeline workflow overview

SRP — Golf product line 3D renders​​​​​​​


Another exciting part – is our ever-growing library of virtual worlds. These virtual environments aren't just backdrops; they're vibrant, immersive, and deep worlds that tell the story and help to add context to a product. 
More than that, we can virtually explore and walk around these environments, seeing the final quality in real-time. That makes the process of tweaking props, lights, and cameras that much faster and more intuitive.

Also, having many locations at hand without leaving the office helps save money and diversify content without the overhead (both time and budget-wise) of travel to different real-world locations and team accommodation, which would otherwise be impossible.


SRP — Football product line 3D renders

SRP — Indoor product line 3D renders​​​​​​​
SRP — Website use-case​​​​​​​

SRP — Lifestyle product line 3D renders​​​​​​​


One of the big draws to using Unreal Engine was its ecosystem of content add-ons, which gave flexibility and variety from the start; it allowed the team to get creating from day one and further expand and customize to their own needs over time. Future productions will only become more efficient and host a more profound array of adidas and sports-specific assets that will further infuse authenticity into every visual creation.

We can use the same approach to add a scalable element to a bespoke campaign (i.e., mixing SRP footage with abstract motion design rendered in other DCCs), which is not limited to a well-received formula of the contextual environment + product. We can be more experimental by adding abstract, even stylized environments, rendering clean videos, etc.



Future Horizons

SRP has laid the foundation for this modest yet ambitious team. With plans like integrating Machine Learning (ML) quality assurance, AI upscale, and generative capabilities — the future holds some exciting developments for the SRP pipeline. We are also investing in further developments within the apparel and human avatar space.

In conclusion, adidas SRP represents a forward step in the evolution of content creation. It addresses practical challenges and unlocks new possibilities for consumer engagement and creative expression at an unheard-of scale. As technology advances, adidas remains committed to innovation, redefining how consumers interact with our products and brand.


Team Lead
Arran Royle

Lead Technical Artist / Engineer
Mike Voropaev

Art Direction
Maximillian Müller 

Project Management
Christian Walter
Charis Torres-Tigas

3D Artists
Stefanie Zierold 
Verena Nomura
Vitor Guerreiro
Ronald Kraft​​​​​​​


adidas | SRP Project (REAL-TIME CGI)

Project Made For

adidas | SRP Project (REAL-TIME CGI)

Adidas Unreal Engine 5 sneaker rendering pipeline (SRP) developed by Studio A CG Production team. It automates shoe importing, placement with phy Read More