Unconvincing Special Effects

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by llamatron, May 8, 2008.

  1. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Most people thought the special effects in Transformers were pretty dang awesome. For the most part they were. However, there are a few shots that really stand out as not being up to scratch with the rest of the film.

    The main culprit (the one I'm gonna focus on) is the discrepancies seen when they swap over from physical model stand in to CGI robot. Let's start with Bumblebee:

    We've all seen the huge lifelike model they built of him. It looks a bit like plastic and it's squeaky clean. Unfortunately it contrasts greatly with the ULTRA REAL battle damaged CGI robot version. If you've got the film handy fast forward to the 1 hour 30 minutes mark and rewatch the "capture of bumblebee" scene. You'll see them swap back and forth between the model and the CGI. Observe...

    CGI:

    [​IMG]

    He's dirty, grimy, very reflective and very clearly metallic in parts. Looks pretty good eh? In motion he's moving around a lot too.

    Model:

    [​IMG]

    What is this? He's clean... dead still... not as detailed... pretty obviously the model stand in.

    The problem is that they kept cutting back and forth between CGI BB (who moves around a lot) and model BB (who is dead still) in this scene. For some reason it really bugs me and is pretty unconvincing. If they had edited it a bit better and started with CGI and then ended up with just using the model (he is in the process of being frozen, so it makes sense that he'll eventually be still) it may have been somewhat better.

    If you're excited there's some parts in Secter 7 HQ where this happens again but I didn't really feel like capping them.

    Next up, Frenzy!

    This is from the Airforce one scene, about 30 minutes into the movie. This is even worse than Bumblebee. Here's puppet Frenzy:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's only a few shots and could have easily been done in CGI. Instead we get this horrible puppet Fenzy that moves completely different to his CGI counterpart. A huge mistake is to cut straight from a shot of full bodied puppet Frenzy to a shot of the CGI Frenzy walking and dancing about:

    [​IMG]

    And a few moments after that we're treated to a facial close up:

    [​IMG]

    Looks a lot better than the puppet eh?

    So, uh, did this piss anyone else off?
     
  2. a person

    a person Is not amused.

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    I also thought the same thing about the ''Capture of Bumblebee'' scene. However, I think the Airforce one scene looks fine.
     
  3. Ktulu

    Ktulu Whoosh TFW2005 Supporter

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    Those bits have always stuck out pretty bad, but I can't say it pisses me off. There are far worse offenders in the film for me, i.e. Shia close up on "one shall stand one shall fall", Megatron/Optimus fight comprised of background shots, horrible coverage wherein the action is totally unclear, pissing robots, etc
     
  4. Starscream NZ

    Starscream NZ Well-Known Member

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    There's one scene, believe it's just after Megs ripped Jazz in two that looks really poor to me, something about Megs just screams 'cheap CGI' when he's atop the tower, other than that though, the movie is near flawless with puppets/cgi - the capture of bumblebee being the notable exception.
     
  5. transfan_seek

    transfan_seek Well-Known Member

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    bay had a special effects limit and speilberg was very tight with it
    they were trying to save $$

    they did it well and HOPEFULLY due to the success of the first film the sequal will be free of stuff like this
     
  6. razorchrist

    razorchrist Sniper

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    I'm surprised that with the amount of problems you have with the "capture of BB" scene swapping CGI & model, that you didn't mention the even MORE obvious switcheroo's going on when he's chained to the back of the towtruck during the Mission City battle. Those looked THE worst and most obvious in my opinion, especially the scenes from Mikala's point of view.

    Other than that, I agree with Ktulu. The CGI/model swaps are far from the worst scenes this film is plagued with.
     
  7. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Those ones are pretty bad, but there's so much else going on visually (everything is moving fast and exploding) I found it to be a bit less annoying than the "capture" scene.

    Also, speaking of that towtruck scene, once they take down Brawl there's a brief shot of hotboobs getting out of the truck and running towards a building as BB puts his gun away. In this scene is the corpse of Brawl lying down - honestly he looks pretty bad and fake in this shot.
     
  8. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    Yeah, I really wish they had invested time to either resoot those scenes, or digitally add the grime and dirt to the live-action model. At least they tried to add some continuity with the model when he was strapped to the table by making him clean. (Although, one he stepped out of direct light he was dirty, but it wasn't as noticable)

    I hated the Frenzy puppet.
     
  9. Fit For natalie

    Fit For natalie tfwiki nerd

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    This isn't the case of unconvincing special effects (or visual effects), but a case of limited budget and time. From what I recall of Bay's commentary for the capture scene, they used the mock up Bumblebee sparingly because it didn't look very real. And other sources said they just couldn't afford to do much more CGI on their budget.

    The mockups of Bumblebee, Frenzy and Megatron were largely there for the benefit of the actors and for live on-set special effects (like the fire extinguishers 'cryo guns' Sector 7 were using) to react upon.

    The robots being dirty was, from what I gather, something they decided upon in post production. During pre-production and shooting, they went with the idea that the TFs who turned into new vehicles would be shiny and new, which is why the large scale Bumblebee mockup was painted in the same three-coat paint as the real car. Evidently they later decided this shiny look was kind of fake looking, so they changed the texture maps of the robots to look all banged up. Unfortunately, it was far too late for the physical prop Bumblebee.

    During the scene where Bumblebee and the others transform into vehicle mode to escape Sector 7, you can see some amusing cheats they did to get around the 'dirty robot-clean car' problem: Bumblebee's doors, which stay in shot the entire time, are shiny and new, yet all his other car panels are banged up. The banged up panels sort of flip and move aorund inside him, coming out all shiny and new (and CG into the footage of the real car doing a burn out. Amusing, but impressive.
     
  10. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    And this is why the frame-by-frame function on DVD players is a bad idea.
    Yeesh.
     
  11. Dirge121

    Dirge121 Eat the chikums

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    Honestly, I never noticed it.
    As such it didnt bother me, and probably still wont.
     
  12. Spoiler

    Spoiler Autobot Spoiler

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    While I did notice it...I didn't let it bother me. I agree with the limited budget issue. Also, as another said, when they first designed it, they were gonna look a lot cleaner. But later in CGI phase changed it to dirty. So...It didn't bother me.
     
  13. Ziero

    Ziero TFW2005 Supporter

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    I want a life size Frenzy puppet =(
     
  14. NIDARAM12

    NIDARAM12 Robot art guy

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    I thought the worst effects were when he was crawling all dirty towards Sam, trying to give him the cube. That's one of the only times a TF looked fake in the movie. Another was when Bonecrusher starts his transformation but it was awesome so who cares :p 
     
  15. gonzo23

    gonzo23 Well-Known Member

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    yeah its funny as robots you can see scratches, dents, and dirtiness but as vehicles, they're spotless!
     
  16. Thundercrackah

    Thundercrackah Well-Known Member

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    Yeah it is noticeable but it didn't piss me off or affect my enjoyment of the movie at all.
     
  17. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    These two scenes are the ones that struck me in the face as such during my cinema viewings. The DVD just lets me screen cap to illustrate. I understand why they did what they did, but I still find it annoying. But hey, given the limitations they did a pretty gosh dang diddly good job.
     
  18. Julliant

    Julliant This space for rent.

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    I think the Bumblebee and Frenzy scenes were unforgivable. I don't know if it's really that much cheaper to build a model Bumblebee, and more expensive by a significant amount for just that few seconds of CGI Frenzy.
     
  19. Optimus Layne

    Optimus Layne Autobot Commander

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    settle down siskel...go get ebert
     
  20. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I suppose that they had to already build the puppet Frenzy for the Sam / Frenzy show down (CGI'ing him onto Sam's back and all that would have been pretty difficult to pull off). They only used the puppet for a few shots on Airforce one but they really didn't work to well. Oh well.
     

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