How TRANSFORMERS Blew Up Industrial Light and Magic's Hardware

by Joey Paur

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I just think it's funny that the rendering of these incredibly complex Transformers characters blew up ILM's computers. Of course if I was one of the guys working on the movie I wouldn't be to happy about it. As you know by now 'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' will introduce us to about 40 new robots. This movie is going to be much bigger and more epic than the first Transformers movie. On top of that these robots are being rendered for the IMAX movie screen as well. The increased resolution and rendering power used to bring these characters to life actually caused Industrial Light and Magic's hardware to explode one night.

Visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar talks about the experience.

"We did, we lost some machinery that night. Little puffs of smoke, just like in the movie."


The most epic scene in the movie is a scene in which * SPOILER* Devastator destroys one of Egypt's great pyramids. Out of everything ILM has done since it has existed this scene is the biggest they have ever created.

"We're trying to hit new levels of realism in every single thing we do, whether it's the render of the robot or the physical environment that they're reacting with. It's just like upping the game on every level, so it was a pretty complicated show."


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To give you some perspective on how big Devastator is, Farrar explains that Optimus Prime only has 10,000 moving parts. The computer algorithms actually manipulate each part to go from truck to standing robot. Devastator has 80,000 moving parts, The only thing that saves time is the camera position. The animators only have to transform the parts that are visible on screen. Of course one of the movie parts of Devastator is his balls, which is pretty ridiculous.

"Every shot is dressed to camera. We have a lot of moving parts and a lot of pieces that are all finished up, but every single time that we set up a new camera position, the cameras swirls around to the back, and doggone it, there are some pieces that are unfinished. We have to repaint them and get them so they can be animated. They only move if we need them to move, so it's a logarithmic jump to try and get all those pieces to move, and it's all up to the animators, frankly, to lay down the movement first. We tried to free it up to be creative."


He goes on to talk about how the way the Transformers transform in the movie have to correspond with how the toys Hasbro makes will transform. He moves on to discuss the underwater shots and the lighting.

"Everything that we do in our world is all about the light. It's not just building the robot, but it's about how it commingles with all the light sources. It might be ambient. If they're really deep in the water, how much light do we give them? How much internal lighting should they have? We had a lot of deep-sea underwater research photos that we looked at, and we sort of gleaned from that. How clear do we want to be? How much plankton and spinaci, we called it, floating in front of the camera do we want? All these little tricks to try and make you believe you're really underwater, we have to employ."


There is no doubt in my mind the the robots are going to look incredible! I'm really excited to see these robots on the IMAX screen. This is truly going to be the biggest action packed popcorn flick of the year. Just go in knowing the acting, dialogue and story are going to suck and you will be able to enjoy the movie.

Source: Scifiwire

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