Should the toys come first? Too much cheating?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by SentinelPrime, Mar 8, 2012.

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Toys first? Design by studio first?

  1. I feel it's best to start with the toys and go from there.

    51 vote(s)
    65.4%
  2. I think the designs seem better if handled by a CGI studio first.

    27 vote(s)
    34.6%
  1. SentinelPrime

    SentinelPrime I NEEDED THAT!

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    Hey there! Good to see ya.

    So, as the Transformers continue to grow and evolve, the aesthetics and appearances of the characters do so as well.

    Obviously the films made a massive impact on the designs of the Transformers, one that hasn't been seen since the dramatically different rounded and organic Floro Dery designs of the 1986 movie. The film designs had an impact on the Prime show, most apparently in Bee, Prime and Megatron.

    One thing stands out to me after having spent some hands on time with the Prime figures as well as alot of the movie toys. I think cheating the Transformations is starting to have a negative impact on the figures.

    To my understanding, other than the 86 movie, the Bay films and Prime, all Transformer properties were designed with the toys first, and then animated from there. Seems simple. Make the toy first, that way it works correctly in basic function and form, then simply have an artist render and animate it from there.

    However, it seems that for better or worse, this has been hijacked, and now the characters are designed by digital artists, studio producers and focus groups, then the toy designers are left scrambling trying to figure out how the heck to make Cliffjumpers windows exist in two places at once, for example.

    Point being, it seems to be overcomplicating the process and the toys seem to be suffering a little for it, as it seems obvious a lot of them are trying to make up for things that are impossible since in the movies for example you can just show a bunch of parts spinning around and then bam! There's a robot.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Interesting points. On one hand, I agree... the "cheating" is kind of obnoxious sometimes (though this is a tradition that goes back to Powermaster Prime), and sometimes inordinate effort is required to arrive at something that resembles that which was on-screen... often something that would be next to impossible to reproduce faithfully as a toy.

    On the other hand, arguably the G1 cartoon models established an early paradigm of difference between the toys and the onscreen representations. Speaking to recent lines where the toys have been retro-engineered from onscreen models (Movies, Animated, Prime) we've seen some extremely clever, sophisticated bits of engineering (and occasionally trickery). We seem to be at a high point in the development of Transformer engineering.

    I wouldn't want to attribute these engineering feats to the new design approaches for TV shows. It's usually still the same Takara designers who are making these toys work, either from scratch, or from their onscreen models. To achieve a certain look, there are all sorts of "cheats" and tricks that may be used, and for their own sake, these innovations are often quite fascinating and can add to the appeal of the toy. Certainly, it's not always consistent. While most of the "offscreen" movie characters to receive toys were excellent figures, there were some dogs as well... and arguably, there have been such failures in the CHUG line too. I think it's good to chart successes on a case-by-case basis.

    Each approach brings different challenges to the table for designers, and can yield interesting results either way for the fan. I don't think there's an obvious answer.

    zmog
     
  3. Meggamus

    Meggamus I want FOC figures!!

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    Hmmm I understand what ur sayin
    I think is far more impressive for the movieverse characters to have a complex transformation as it looks incredible on the big screen and Im not to worried about the figures transformation (aslong as it looks accurate and quite accurate in robot mode)
    What I don't like tho is when (in Prime) ratchet has doors on his chest and they cant do real ones for the toy. In this instance I'd rather them do the toy and see what designs that can do before they create the cgi model. This annoys me when the entire chest isn't real :( 
     
  4. seekerblackout

    seekerblackout Banned

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    Models first. That makes accuracy in the toys more interesting and impressive.
     
  5. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 "No Mas" My Wallet

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    for me it should be a team effort , toy designers and show models makers working together to create the best product on screen and off.
     
  6. megatroptimus

    megatroptimus Translatorminator

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    Toys first like Energon and Cybertron, that's what I prefer.
     
  7. DPrime

    DPrime Well-Known Member

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    Toys first seems like the best choice to me.
     
  8. Grimwing

    Grimwing Scientist Supreme

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    Cybertron/Galaxy Force. Had no problem with screen Accuracy. Even the missiles and key ports were part of the models.

    But In that case, the creative control goes straight to the toy designers. The modelers just reproduce the toys on screen.
    Since Animated, there has been a more free form style from Hasbro. So modelers and major media artists can have more of an opinion on the visual appeal of these characters,
    and the toys can be handled like pros from that collaboration.

    The movies have really pushed the teams to engineer those models into a toy. And there seemed to be less of an approval process between a robot design paramount would use. And something Hasbro would be prepared to manage as a toy.
    Even at the cyberverse scale, they did some amazing stuff.

    But now that the designs are getting more streamlined with prime. I do think their struggling less with that style in general.

    In defense of the PRID toys. Their priorities seem to be on making the figure have a easy to follow transformation. Almost to the degree, of pop out the arms, pop out the legs, flip the chest and Up comes the head reveal. That's a generalization, but Hasbro is banking on easier Transformations, with more play features on top to get the market on their side. The limbs do have a great degree of movement that collectors are familar with.

    Slick show model vehicle mode, Show model Robot, Easy Transformation, lots of Articulation, and a weapon with multiple points to attach.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  9. mrgalvaprime

    mrgalvaprime #BanTJ

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    Toys first. GIVE ME A G1 TOY ACCURATE IRONHIDE AND RATCHET HASBRO!!!
     
  10. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    This. What's not to like. I love innovative transformation engineering... but I HATE needlessly complicated or tedious transformations. Designers need to realize that these are not the same thing.

    One thing I'll point to just by way of example... TFA Voyager Bulkhead has a diagonal rotating hinge joint that relocates his side wheel to the bottom of his foot. This is a really fresh, effective, efficient bit of engineering, but is also wonderfully simple in operation. Designs where everything explodes into an array of ball-jointed armatures, and then must have all the fragments reassembled, stressed and locked down into a new configuration are not really fun transformations IMHO.

    That's an old, dead horse you're beating there... :) 

    zmog
     
  11. Foster

    Foster Super Mod

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    I like toys first, but with lines like Prime where it's the same dozen characters in three price points apiece, you'll definitely see corners cut to add or subtract complexity, and no one toy looks exactly like the on-screen equivalent.
     
  12. brr-icy

    brr-icy G1 Collector

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    this, like Animated was, made the toys accurate, but still stylized and fun to transform, seems like Hasbro is just trying to get back what Animated had with their tfp mainline, but not quite there yet,
     
  13. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    *looks at BM Silverbolt toy, looks at BM Silverbolt show model*

    ...No

    *Looks at FE Optimus Prime, looks at TF:p rime character model*

    Yes

    I really have no problem with stylistic cheats as long as it makes for a good toy, and the end result is good. Especially the movie designs, I'd hate to see them constrained by limitations of the toys.

    When we get things like entire alt-modes ending up as shell kibble, while the corresponding parts on the robot mode are fake, well then that's just bad toy design, but it's not a case to be made against stopping the practice entirely.
     
  14. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    THANK YOU!!!

    I've been saying this for a long, long time- as far back as Beast Wars. Perfect the toy first... then base the animation off of that. Sure, embellish the animation model a little, without compromising the mechanics.

    In the end you will have a more accurate and honest product... maybe even more cost effective.
     
  15. kiko315

    kiko315 Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to say, because we are at a point where certain feats of engineering advancement is taking place and the developers have a level of creativity that is unique. It is still interesting to see that retro-engineering can be done from both ends (toys to animation, animation to toys). Heck, there's even toy-animation-toy, with Optimus Prime (G1 Optimus Prime toy, G1 Optimus Prime cartoon model, MP-01/04/10). When I look at the character models and the toys, and vice-versa, I become a kid again, and I tell myself how lucky I am that I like this stuff. :) 
     
  16. Jacer

    Jacer Find Kill Cleanse Moderator News Staff

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    Toys first, that way it's more screen accurate :lol 
     
  17. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    There's also a practicality aspect to look at here. Especially with the Prime series' CG, there's a lot of development time in both the animation and the toy production to consider.

    Each CG model probably takes a couple of months to iron out. Toy production typically takes the better part of a year, going from sketch to being on the shelves.

    It's a much more efficient design process to start with a common character design, and then both teams can do their own thing from there.
     
  18. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    I prefer that the toys be designed first and/or a team effort during design.
     
  19. Wheeljack_Prime

    Wheeljack_Prime Don't eat me

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    Make em both at the same time.

    Also, if you're gonna cheat the TF scheme, they should at least take measures to make it at least LOOK like it's not a cheat. I'm looking at you, TFP Ratchet.
     
  20. megatronski

    megatronski Primaris

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    Toys be designed first.
     

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