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View Full Version : Transformers: The Best Special Effects Ever?


BigPixolin
07-05-2007, 03:30 AM
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4218826.html?page=1

ExKArt
07-05-2007, 03:44 AM
I don't think so. I thought the movie had good graphics.

Jozvex
07-05-2007, 03:51 AM
The effects were certainly very good, I especially thought the interaction between the robots and the actors (like picking them up etc) was the most seamless interaction I'd seen. The best effects ever is a bit of an impossible call I think! There's too large a variety of effects out there!

Arly
07-05-2007, 05:30 AM
yes sir...them effects....i like em.

ivanisavich
07-05-2007, 05:48 AM
Yes.

/thread.

Rickmeister
07-05-2007, 09:55 AM
Havent seen it yet... but the trailers and the making of looks very very promising!

This could be among the best SFX flicks out there!

Ed Bittner
07-05-2007, 11:49 AM
Best? I dunno, most seamless as someone stated. I giggled nearly all the way through cuz I could not believe what I was seeing.

E.

sconlogue
07-05-2007, 12:24 PM
I checked it out at a theater with all digital projection and it looked SWEET! As stated before the interaction was seamless. The battle in the city streets was full on. The shots were so well put together there was no guessing what's CG and what's shot. It didn't hurt that the movie turned out to actually be pretty good as well.

JoseLuis3D
07-05-2007, 04:35 PM
yes,I think transformers is the best compositing job of all times. And the 3D...probably the best non organic that I've ever seen. If you add Davey jones form pirates of the caribean, then probably it would be the best 3D possible.
(Yeah,I think davey jones is better than gollum or yoda)

TraceR
07-05-2007, 04:54 PM
Makes me wish I worked at ILM. Getting paid to have a part in making a film like that would be great! Maybe one day.

:applause:

heney
07-05-2007, 05:27 PM
I thought they were absolutely fantastic effects but it never had the "I don't know if thats real or animatronic" feel that Davey Jones had. Also I felt that the quality in Transformers was too uneven. For example the little boombox decepticon Frenzy never looked like part of the scene to me.

Shots like the slow mo of Bonecrusher tackling Optimus were stunning though.

megatronskeletor
07-05-2007, 05:34 PM
"...says Farrar, the visual-effects supervisor and Bay's right-hand computer geek."

Scott Farrar has a really strong (approx 30 years) photographic / optical effects background, not much of a computer geek.


" It started with ILM's creature development team (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4218826.html?page=3#) (well versed in children's movie animals but not so much in carburetors) heading to the autobody shop..."

Children's movie animals?!


" ILM designed a backwards interface, moving the beginning of CGI production out of the hands of creature development and onto the desktops (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4218826.html?page=2#) of the animators. By allowing animators to get the first crack at rigging control — the way a computer-generated character is built, the way it walks and rotates — ILM's IT team could develop software for custom transformations designed on the fly that might satisfy Bay's notorious flying camera angles. Click a button here, and a flatbed's brake light can pivot into an Optimus Prime punch. Set a control function there, and an alien jetfighter wing can cock into a Megatron claw for any of a half-dozen different scenes. "

Riiiigght.



I thought Wired articles were inaccurate and strangely off-base, but I guess Popular Mechanics is much worse. It's really too bad that no one (not even cinefex these days) puts much work into giving credit where it's due. People would much rather read about hours of render time, fast computers & the 'make dinosaur' button than the actual hard work that goes into making stuff look good, regardless of render time or 'custom tools'.

guitarmunkee
07-05-2007, 05:38 PM
Yes, I agree best special effects ever! Without a doubt. Beat alot of my favorite movies, star wars and even spider man. Yes I said it, the CG even beat spiderman's CG.

P_T
07-05-2007, 05:39 PM
I thought they were absolutely fantastic effects but it never had the "I don't know if thats real or animatronic" feel that Davey Jones had.That's probably because there's no real life robot that size which can move like they do in TF, ie. we know they're CG not because of the quality but because we know they don't exist. I think TF robots are more like the Kraken than DJ & the posse in POTC.

BillSpradlin
07-05-2007, 06:45 PM
"...says Farrar, the visual-effects supervisor and Bay's right-hand computer geek."

Scott Farrar has a really strong (approx 30 years) photographic / optical effects background, not much of a computer geek.


" It started with ILM's creature development team (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4218826.html?page=3#) (well versed in children's movie animals but not so much in carburetors) heading to the autobody shop..."

Children's movie animals?!


" ILM designed a backwards interface, moving the beginning of CGI production out of the hands of creature development and onto the desktops (http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4218826.html?page=2#) of the animators. By allowing animators to get the first crack at rigging control — the way a computer-generated character is built, the way it walks and rotates — ILM's IT team could develop software for custom transformations designed on the fly that might satisfy Bay's notorious flying camera angles. Click a button here, and a flatbed's brake light can pivot into an Optimus Prime punch. Set a control function there, and an alien jetfighter wing can cock into a Megatron claw for any of a half-dozen different scenes. "

Riiiigght.



I thought Wired articles were inaccurate and strangely off-base, but I guess Popular Mechanics is much worse. It's really too bad that no one (not even cinefex these days) puts much work into giving credit where it's due. People would much rather read about hours of render time, fast computers & the 'make dinosaur' button than the actual hard work that goes into making stuff look good, regardless of render time or 'custom tools'.

You can't really expect any publication to get things right these days, especially one geared toward the general public. Hell, even Cinfex, as you said, is pretty innacurate when it comes to a lot of things and anyone would know that having intimate knowledge of the production.

megatronskeletor
07-05-2007, 07:23 PM
You can't really expect any publication to get things right these days, especially one geared toward the general public. Hell, even Cinfex, as you said, is pretty innacurate when it comes to a lot of things and anyone would know that having intimate knowledge of the production.


Troof : )

Yeah, I guess it irks me because something like Cinefex isnt really specifically for the general public.
It's for the public interested in visual effects production, so it seems like you could do with a little less fanfare and computer specs. When I was younger reading cinefex it was great to read some details you wouldnt find anywhere else. Now it seems like sort of a Madlib for each show, they just change the names of the supervisors and productions otherwise it's like 'we rigged some creatures using maya & custom softwares'.

Maybe it's just hard to get specific about cg work without giving away too much info since the business is alot more competitive than it used to be in the 80s.

To their credit the CG society interviews have usually been pretty good, since they're directly interviewing people who worked on the films and are giving answered aimed to a cg-savvy crowd.

*shrug*

Just dont believe all you read! : )

JoeFordham
07-05-2007, 10:27 PM
Dear Bill, Szabolcs and Megatron,

I am one of the writers at Cinefex so I apologize if there have been inaccuracies in our recent stories. We don't get a lot of feedback from readers so I am curious if you could give me examples of your pet peeves, or if you could point me to articles that have been more satisfying to you as readers on the inside track.

Maybe I should mention, so you know where I am coming from, I am a writer with a background in physical production, but I am not a CG artist. We always try to go to the highest possible authority for our information, and then we invariably proof text with interviewees, wherever possible digging deeper than most other publications are capable. My personal record was 32 interviewees and close to 250,000 words of interviews for "The Return of The King" after which I felt like I had personally scaled Mount Doom.

One thing I’ve found difficult in recent years is the increasing complexity of the visual effects production process. With so many personnel with creative input in so many shots, it has become increasingly difficult to cut to the heart of real breakthroughs and innovations, creating an interesting story that gives a clear view of the art and craft of the illusions we are writing about.

As for corporate secrecy and salient software details, I can only say we are human and we don’t live in a vacuum, but I can assure you if we are ever told ‘you can’t talk about that’ we will not cover a film. But I mostly wanted to let you know we are not trying to dumb down our articles, and we do care.

Oh, and Transformers kicked my ass.

Joe

soulhill
07-05-2007, 11:41 PM
I have to say, based on the effects in the trailer, it's pretty jaw dropping. The mass, weight, matchmove and lighting all were so seamless and well done that it made me interested in a film I previously had zero interest in.

BillSpradlin
07-06-2007, 12:51 AM
Joe, thanks for stopping in and for the response. Personally, I think one of the biggest issues facing the discussion of CG production is that you can only go by what you are told. Obviously the interviewer cannot distinguish between fact, BS, or just plane lack of information if you weren't there for the actual development of said topic. My comment wasn't necessarily a stab at the magazine itself, but more so at the canned responses that many of the interviewers give. I can't speculate on whether or not this is something that happens on the magazines end or if it's something that has become a trend in the industry as more and more people keep tight lipped about what they are actually doing. The whole "...and we used custom software" comment comes up a lot and can have a pretty large depth of meaning when it comes to the work that we do. Sometimes people can talk about that extra bit of meaning and sometimes they can't, so I think it would be something to consider for yourself and Cinefex to probe the individuals for more information.

I haven't read it in a while, but I recall every month in Animation magazine they would have a section where they would allow readers from different studios to pose questions of other studios how they did an effect in a recent movie and they would go into fairly specific detail about how it was done. Something like that is what I think myself and megatron miss from Cinefex, sort of like it used to be instead of the "we used X software and wrote custom tools" response we see so much of these days.

TTYO
07-06-2007, 01:15 AM
And I just wondered how they rigged something so complex....

ysvry
07-06-2007, 03:59 AM
well just ask to see a wireframe. That the fx are good is probably the only reason I will look at this movie. And offcourse it has the best fx's at the pace cg is developing all the latest blockbuster movies will have the "best cg fx" just my 2 cnts.

megatronskeletor
07-06-2007, 04:59 AM
Joe, thanks for stopping in and for the response. Personally, I think one of the biggest issues facing the discussion of CG production is that you can only go by what you are told. Obviously the interviewer cannot distinguish between fact, BS, or just plane lack of information if you weren't there for the actual development of said topic. My comment wasn't necessarily a stab at the magazine itself, but more so at the canned responses that many of the interviewers give. I can't speculate on whether or not this is something that happens on the magazines end or if it's something that has become a trend in the industry as more and more people keep tight lipped about what they are actually doing. The whole "...and we used custom software" comment comes up a lot and can have a pretty large depth of meaning when it comes to the work that we do. Sometimes people can talk about that extra bit of meaning and sometimes they can't, so I think it would be something to consider for yourself and Cinefex to probe the individuals for more information.

I haven't read it in a while, but I recall every month in Animation magazine they would have a section where they would allow readers from different studios to pose questions of other studios how they did an effect in a recent movie and they would go into fairly specific detail about how it was done. Something like that is what I think myself and megatron miss from Cinefex, sort of like it used to be instead of the "we used X software and wrote custom tools" response we see so much of these days.


I have the same feelings and my comments were somewhat tongue-in-cheek. I didnt mean to disparage the editorial staff of cinefex personally - reading the magazine has brought me alot of insight and good reading over the last many years.

Joe hints at something that I think might be some of the root of the issue. Finding the real breakthroughs in CG is becoming more difficult because watershed moments are alot harder to come by these days. It's not like any place is really pushing breakthrough new techniques, we're just getting more skilled at refining and comibing existing techniques to breakthrough results. I'm sure it's very hard to distill that in editorial form when you probably get something along the lines of 'yeah we did that with a big fluid sim and alot of comp work'. It's not like fluid sims or tricky comp work are new, but the results are becoming much more refined. I'm not sure what a remedy to that would be... "... but our fluid guys & compositors worked really.. really... really hard this time!" hehe.

Honestly in my view there are few major technical breakthroughs in each production I've worked on, it's all becoming evolutionary. We refine processes and try to reduce repetitive procedures with new and refined tools and the workforce grows more skilled, however most of the nice results come from a more and more experienced crew using existing methods with a little new insight and alot of elbow grease.

I'm not envious of the challenge to write about these enormously complicated productions for a tough crowd (sorry for my contribution!), but I admit that much of my disinterest in the more recent stuff is probably more tied to my own jadedness and closeness to the work that makes the 'tasty nugets' of info harder to come by in the magazine.

Now I've said all this and some shop is going to come out with a movie that totally blows my mind and I'll merrily tear open my cinefex when it arrives in the mail to get some idea how they pulled it off : )

Ed Bittner
07-06-2007, 12:35 PM
"So, whereas the original Optimus Prime action figure has 51 pieces, the movie version has 10,108. On top of everything else, these were CG cars as well, and, with director Michael Bay, you had the ultimate car nut to please".

Is this quote true? ILM guys please chime in.
E.

vfx
07-06-2007, 12:58 PM
Something like that is what I think myself and megatron miss from Cinefex, sort of like it used to be instead of the "we used X software and wrote custom tools" response we see so much of these days.

Couldn't agree more! I've grown a bit tired of Cinefex for the same reason... the how to's and small little detailed insights into how things were done are being replaced with tools and the like... I also see this happening with fxguide and their podcasts... they get on to what software they used and then it becomes a little bit like product sales... it can do this, we utilised this etc. The fun seems to have been kicked out for that reason - I love reading about how they did stuff, and not just the digital either! Now it just doesn't seem to delve deep enough. Also what's happened to all the fx breakdown images - there's too many finished stills from movies and not the fun 3 part beakdowns - would love to see more of these!

Cheers AND KEEP WRITING!

P_T
07-06-2007, 01:34 PM
Perhaps now with competition getting tighter and playing field leveling out, cheaper more powerful hardwares and softwares, studios are reluctant to share their techniques as they're becoming a more important factor in distinguishing themselves from the competition.

jude3d
07-07-2007, 03:03 AM
I agree ILM works since poc2 has been impressing. I don't want to hear anymore than renderman is not a amazing photorealistic rendering.
I can't imagine the huge amount of polygons for optimus prime....a hell to render

BillSpradlin
07-07-2007, 11:57 AM
I don't want to hear anymore than renderman is not a amazing photorealistic rendering.

I can't say that I've ever heard that comment heh.

Lordiego01
07-07-2007, 12:29 PM
I would have to agree that Transformers has the best SFX ever.

mech7
07-07-2007, 12:40 PM
regardless of all the effects this movie has been getting very poor reviews :)

TAVO
07-07-2007, 12:53 PM
I saw on IMDB that Michael Bay is in talks for tranformes 2, havenīt seen the movie but that says that it is good.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000881/

TraceR
07-07-2007, 01:09 PM
regardless of all the effects this movie has been getting very poor reviews :)

Where have you seen it get bad reviews? All the reviews I've read have been more or less positive.

Titan
07-07-2007, 02:38 PM
regardless of all the effects this movie has been getting very poor reviews :)

I havent seen any bad reviews either, but it seems that just because a movie is an effects laden summer blockbuster these days that reviewers immediatly try to tear it apart. I went and saw it with my wife last night, who had less than 0 interest in transformers and fought me about going to see it, made me promise her several "chickflicks"...but she had a great time and ended up liking the movie a lot....why? because its fun!
I mean seriously...its big ass robots smashing stuff, its not like you dont know what it is going in...any reviewer worth his salt should know this and not be expecting a deeply emotional moving experience with academy award dialog material.

and yes, definately best effects to date....if aliens came to us and said show us the state of your special FX technology, I'd take them to Transformers...

and I cant imagine it not having a sequel.

vfx fan
07-07-2007, 02:54 PM
As far as I'm concerned, I think the more groundbreaking special effects, the better, simply because it's the special effects that makes me more curious about the movies. And I'm not ashamed to admit it. Critics are getting way too uptight and political. I think it's pathetic the way critics relate movies to present day political events as if every film is a documentary.

Critics bash Michael Bay for being smart -- he makes movies for the audience and in so doing, he makes a bigger profit. I think there is a certain jealousy on the critics' part (let's face it, they like money, too!), and their insecurities lead them to praise all the dull and boring indie films so they can feel more cultured -- which is just another way of saying you're an insecure snob who needs to feel superior. (I, on the other hand, put "cult" back in "culture!")

I thought Transformers did have the best mechanical special effects ever. It proves how mechanical things can be more complex than organic. As for the movie with the best effects ever, it's hard to say. Of course, it's going to have the best effects until the next technological breakthrough, which will be in a couple of hours or so...

umstitch
07-07-2007, 03:59 PM
..saw transformers movie last night, and as much as i wanted to enjoy the movie, and i did enjoy the effects sequences for the most part, this was easily the worst film ive seen for a long time.

..terrible characterization, whether we re talking human or robot, unbeleivably annoying lead character, ridiculous subplots etc, the whole thing was a joke!..and an insult to any 4 year old, never mind an adult audience...this is quite typical of the hollywood/merchandising cult of "blockbuster" movies, but i will never be able to understand why the producers of this rubbish did not decide to make a good movie, considering the amount of cash spent on it..i quess michael bay has to take the blame...

..i quess its a movie in disquise...

TraceR
07-07-2007, 06:00 PM
..saw transformers movie last night, and as much as i wanted to enjoy the movie, and i did enjoy the effects sequences for the most part, this was easily the worst film ive seen for a long time.

..terrible characterization, whether we re talking human or robot, unbeleivably annoying lead character, ridiculous subplots etc, the whole thing was a joke!..and an insult to any 4 year old, never mind an adult audience...this is quite typical of the hollywood/merchandising cult of "blockbuster" movies, but i will never be able to understand why the producers of this rubbish did not decide to make a good movie, considering the amount of cash spent on it..i quess michael bay has to take the blame...

..i quess its a movie in disquise...

On that note, welcome to CGTalk.

TAVO
07-07-2007, 07:31 PM
..saw transformers movie last night, and as much as i wanted to enjoy the movie, and i did enjoy the effects sequences for the most part, this was easily the worst film ive seen for a long time.

..terrible characterization, whether we re talking human or robot, unbeleivably annoying lead character, ridiculous subplots etc, the whole thing was a joke!..and an insult to any 4 year old, never mind an adult audience...this is quite typical of the hollywood/merchandising cult of "blockbuster" movies, but i will never be able to understand why the producers of this rubbish did not decide to make a good movie, considering the amount of cash spent on it..i quess michael bay has to take the blame...

..i quess its a movie in disquise...

uuhhmmm, Michael Bay hater ? i canīt belive that you just register here in CGTalk just to say that, WELCOME !!

ManuelM
07-07-2007, 07:40 PM
the vfx were breathtaking most of the time. still i wouldn`t say they were the best vfx ever. in many shots it felt like those guys had some particle debris field with randomnized motion going on. it was impossible to grasp what was going on.
so far, i always thought that lotr had the best vfx ever (gollum). when potc2 came out, i thought that davey jones will be the best cg-caharacter ever. right now, transformers holding the title for most awesome vfx movie ever.. but i doubt hollywood is already thinking about how to top that...
btw - i just saw a tv show today which claimed that transformers sequels 2 and 3 are already in the planning !?

umstitch
07-07-2007, 08:05 PM
uuhhmmm, Michael Bay hater ? i canīt belive that you just register here in CGTalk just to say that, WELCOME !!

..no im not a M Bay hater, but transformers was rather disapointing overall...i thought..

..and i am curious to see how well the extreme mechanics of these transformers translate to die cast toys..

..and i really didnt just join cgtalk to diss the movie...joined years ago to diss a completely different movie, but forgot to do it, i quess...

spurcell
07-07-2007, 08:15 PM
just saw it. Best cg ever? Ya probably. Certainly most seamless cg Ive ever seen in a live action flick. The wife REALLY didn't want to see it, but she actually liked it. just complained it was far too long, and I have to agree.

P_T
07-07-2007, 08:27 PM
regardless of all the effects this movie has been getting very poor reviews :)Regardless of all the bad reviews, this movie has been doing pretty well. :)

TraceR
07-07-2007, 10:39 PM
Heh, anyone notice the new avatar? Bet you can't guess what movie it's from.

:D

Garibaldi
07-07-2007, 11:03 PM
Heh, anyone notice the new avatar? Bet you can't guess what movie it's from. :D

Erm, The Sound of Music perhaps?

TraceR
07-07-2007, 11:04 PM
You nailed it brother!

:wip:

lovisx
07-08-2007, 01:11 AM
the effects were good, but for me the motion blur and the short cuts ruined it, especially toward the end.

Bucket
07-08-2007, 01:26 AM
the effects were good, but for me the motion blur and the short cuts ruined it, especially toward the end.


Very very very true. I don't know how many times I was asking myself. "What's going on here?" Did bumblebee bodyslam the cop robot?

Maybe wider angle shots would've helped. I can understand that when you pull the camera in closer it's going to make things appear to move faster, more intense. But sometimes it was done way too often. Making sense of things is important sometimes.

Joss
07-08-2007, 01:31 AM
I don't want to hear anymore than Renderman is not a amazing photorealistic rendering. I can't imagine the huge amount of polygons for optimus prime....a hell to render

Hey! I thought it was Mental Ray rendering! No hair rendering needed!

:scream:

orion119net
07-08-2007, 02:08 PM
Effects: Awesome.

Camera: not so awesome.

Purc
07-08-2007, 03:51 PM
Effects: Awesome.

Camera: not so awesome.

True that. Got a bit dizzy sometimes when they are in battle. But the slomo's are so awesome, the people where clapping and screaming it out in the theatre. Never seen that before in the netherlands (only in france).

Wensday i go again (the 3th time):d.

AUTOBOTS.. ROLLOUT !!

mech7
07-08-2007, 03:55 PM
Camera: not so awesome.


I hope it's not like bad boys where the camera is spinning around the main characters everytime

MitchR21
07-08-2007, 11:06 PM
I went and saw it with my wife last night, who had less than 0 interest in transformers and fought me about going to see it, made me promise her several "chickflicks"...but she had a great time and ended up liking the movie a lot....why? because its fun!

I took my girlfriend who also had 0% interest in Transformers (but 100% in Captain Lennox!) but afterwards she loved it, she even got abit teary when they captured Bumble Bee.


PS: First post...Hello CG talk! :thumbsup:

Howitzer
07-09-2007, 02:05 AM
I liked everything about this film. The camera angles, the action, the transformers... all of it. Except:

I still think their design is too 'busy'. At certain points it was hard to descern who was fighting who. I was also amazed at the lack of gore. Granted, Bay wanted an edgy family film - but huge walking shifting slamming flying metalic sharp objects in reality = blood and guts everywhere.

Other than that it was great.

silent_soul
07-09-2007, 06:10 PM
I hope it's not like bad boys where the camera is spinning around the main characters everytime


Funny you mention that becasue there is a shot in Transformers that is almost exactly like the Haitian shoot out in the old house (Bad Boys II)... 360 shooting. I can't remember the exact scene; but I think it was in the desert with Scorponok and the Special Forces. It wasn't as long as the Bad Boys II one though.

dmaas
07-10-2007, 01:33 AM
Haha I noticed that as well - a nice homage to a very clever shot :).

Digiegg
07-10-2007, 04:42 AM
couldn't pay attention when that girlie was running around...
My god...

ShortFuseNZ
07-10-2007, 05:06 AM
Funny you mention that becasue there is a shot in Transformers that is almost exactly like the Haitian shoot out in the old house (Bad Boys II)... 360 shooting. I can't remember the exact scene; but I think it was in the desert with Scorponok and the Special Forces. It wasn't as long as the Bad Boys II one though.

Was the shot in the Dam when Jon Voight is unloading his shotty at that annoying little decepticon. Very clever camera work quite different to the usual.

Ramteen
07-10-2007, 05:15 PM
I belive it was the best ever :eek:

johnnymoha
07-19-2007, 06:53 AM
I took my girlfriend who also had 0% interest in Transformers (but 100% in Captain Lennox!) but afterwards she loved it, she even got abit teary when they captured Bumble Bee.

My GF also only went to the movie to be with me, but she was totally into it only 1/4 of the way through. She also became a bit misty eyed at bumble bee's capture. Best 3D and FX ever? Absolutely! --fx continually get better as methods become standard and new methods are born.

johnnymoha
07-19-2007, 07:02 AM
I took my girlfriend who also had 0% interest in Transformers (but 100% in Captain Lennox!) but afterwards she loved it, she even got abit teary when they captured Bumble Bee.

My GF, previously completely uninterested, was totally into the movie 1/4 of the way through. She also became a bit misty eyed at bumble bee's capture. Best FX ever? Absolutely!
--FX will continue to get better as methods become standards and new methods are born.

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