War of Visual Effects – Transformers: Age of Extinction and Pacific Rim
Robot Action is the hottest trend in Hollywood. Pacific Rim last year made millions at box office and Transformers 4 this year is no exception. Both of them are primarily visual effects driven Robo Action movies with wide fan base. A lot of Visual Effects School students uploaded their own model with resemblance to these creatures.
So, where do these movies get their breathtaking effects from – Answer is ILM Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) founded by George Lucas for Star Wars, a magnate name in Visual Effects Industry. They are doing effects since 1978 and have developed 300 motion pictures till this date. They are considered to be the first choice for directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. Transformers series and Pacific Rim are both products of diligent efforts from ILM team.
The Sole purpose of this article is to understand the ART behind “Concept creation”, Modeling & animation and at the same time to understand how Visual Effects Studios of Hollywood approach the Character development and the end product that we see in the theaters?
> TRANSFORMERS Vs JAEGERS (Pacific Rim)
Our team did some research to find out which software were used in these movies and we successfully managed to do so, here is the list Maya, Side FX, Houdini, Mental Ray, RenderMan, Photoshop and in house software(ILM).
Let us dig in deeper to find out how these characters were developed, what were the challenges the VFX team had to face? Definitely it will also help us deciding the Winner between Gypsy with his pack of Jaegers and Optimus with his team of Transformers.
> ANIMATION MODEL OF PHYSICAL ANATOMY
Michael Bay knew what he wanted clearly and he didn’t want his Transformers to look like the Power Ranger bots, for sure. As the demand of the character, they were required to fight like Martial artists and sometimes as a black-ops soldier. They used Advanced Motion Capture Technology along with key frame animation to give them fluid motion. Transformers look impressive in the movie and it was a major pain in the ass to do the transformation of the Robot to Car and vice versa in the detailed manner as we saw in the end product. In order to achieve these high quality transformer models, the visual effects team picked up the TFM tools and those were tweaked by the coders especially for the transformers Visual effects team. TFM tools were integral for the creating those moving parts and the transformation models of the Transformers. Once the animation model came to existence, they mapped those models properly with the Mocap of the martial artists and trained soldiers, but keeping the required lethargy and weight intact; yes, don’t forget those moving parts on their bodies when they moved, fought and talked. No matter, how badly the critiques would have thrashed the movie for its abuse of the product material, transformer movies are tough gig to accomplish, when it comes to developing the visual effects. Here are the Videos from ILM studio that depicts the VFX breakdown behind the creation of the Transformers.
Guillermo Del Toro wanted the Jaegers to behave more like heavy and huge robots. To achieve the sluggish yet fluid mechanical motion they hand animated the Jagers with no MOCAP. Along with that they used various VFX techniques to retain the Scale of humongous-ness of the Robots. Like transformers TFM was used extensively here as well. Each Jaeger also had their own persona like Gypsey Danger, the main protagonist had moves like a Boxer and other Jaeger was acting like a Cowboy, and all those behaviors were represented by tedious Hand Animation but it all paid enormously when the whole set was ready. The terrible challenge that both Pacific Rim and Transformers had to face was more about unavailability of the reference, nobody has tried to depict these characters and story arc before in such a grand scope. However, both movies stood up to the box office in their shining armor after breaking multiple earning records globally. Here is the VFX breakdown video from ILM, which gave birth to these characters. You will have better understanding of the efforts that were driven to create these larger than life characters.
Alright! This was it for the first part of our article Jaegers Vs Transformers, we will be getting back soon with more information in the second part of the article, do comment below in order to let us know what do you think!