from : http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22684329-11869,00.html?from=public_rss Stephen Fenech November 01, 2007 12:00am FOR any visual-effects artist, creating a realistic creature for a film is quite a challenge. Imagine then the task faced by Academy Award-winning visual-effects supervisor Scott Farrar for the blockbuster film Transformers. Based at world-famous effects house Industrial Light and Magic, Farrar's job was to breathe life into an army of huge transforming machines, some with more than 10,000 movings parts, for the screen. ``The big goal for me was to try to make these guys look photo-real. It's got to look like a paint finish from a car,'' Farrar says. ``That's why we spend a lot of time not only building them but also painting them. We shot thousands of pictures of car parts to have this reference to know what these pieces should be built of. ``And that's not even talking about what the transformations are going to look like.'' Transformers tells the story of the battle between Autobots and the evil Decepticons to take possession of a mystical talisman that is found on Earth. Farrar's resume includes some of the most successful films of all time -- Back to the Future, Return of the Jedi, Star Trek VI, Men in Black, Minority Report and The Mummy. He won an Academy Award in 1985 for best visual effects for his work on the film Cocoon, directed by Ron Howard. He has also received Oscar nominations for Backdraft (1991), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) and The Chronicles of Narnia (2005). Director Michael Bay wanted the robots to be quite agile. ``Michael said he didn't want them to look like lumbering big giant heavy robots. He wanted them to be ninja-like, athletic fighters,'' Farrar says. ``We did a lot of research in fighting and stunt work -- especially Hong Kong-style stuntwork.'' The success of the film relied heavily on the look and realism of the complex transforming machines, so Farrar needed some serious computing power behind him. ``The computer power at ILM is huge. That group shot of all the guys transforming in the alley at night took 38 hours to run and that's with a great big system,'' he says. ``John Knoll (Pirates of the Caribbean visual-effects supervisor) said one of his shots from Pirates -- if you had a laptop running it -- would take 17 years to produce.'' Some of the Transformers creations were so complex a high-powered computer was necessary to keep track of all the pieces. ``We would have to run a shot like Optimus Prime with 10,108 pieces all hanging together and not flying off somewhere. The power of imagery and computer graphics is awesome,'' Farrar says. Farrar decided to make the move into visual effects in the mid-'70s when he visited the set of a little known sci-fi film called Star Wars. ``A buddy of mine told me he was working on this film and he said come over and check it out,'' Farrar says. ``I went over to see him and it was where they were shooting Star Wars, doing all the miniatures, all the spaceships and all the different matte paintings and so forth. ``I always enjoyed shooting on location and shooting actors and lighting. I love that, but this was somehow even more intriguing and so I decided that I wanted to follow that route.''