BDM100_*Special Effects*_Van Dyne
This article is from the July 2007 issue of Popular Mechanics entitled, "Transformers: The Best Special Effects Ever?" written by Matt Sullivan.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/industry/4218826.html?page=1&series=4

The article explained about the special effects used to create the photo-realistic robots in the movie "Transformers". Each robot had to be built as a CGI model in Maya. The film crew shot live action scenes where a set prop stood in for the robot. The robot models were then added to the footage, animated and rendered. The real challenge the animators over at ILM faced was animating the robots' transformations from vehicle to robot and back again. Each of the vehicles were basically redesigned to have shifting parts and panels that when fully morphed became giant, bipedal, mechanical creatures. In order to do this, the animators had to study cars, trucks, military tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, etc, and create CGI models that took various mechanical components of the vehicles and incorporated them into the robots' designs. For the character Bumblebee, the animators start with the basic robot model standing up, then collapse him into a car-like shape, then fill in the in-between. This step involves adding the actual car components and parts to the model to make it look like a real car. Then the animators figure out which parts will shift and move to form the features of the robot.

"Transformers" is a milestone in special effects, and it has set the new bar that film makers will strive to achieve for years to come.


    

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