Why the Alternator designs don't work... [Pic heavy]

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by llamatron, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ok, so there's lots of debate about how lame the movie designs are and how they should have stuck with the established TF look and perhaps based their designs off the alternators asthetic. It sounds like a good idea, yes? I love the alternators, I love the look of them. However, translating a $20 into a live action model does not work well. First off, they can't see a thing. Check it out:

    [​IMG]

    Giant versions of Tyrese Gibson and Michael Bay managed to stand in front of Grimlock and he can't even see 'em. As if that wasn't enough, Megatron himself is pissing about down there along with two little mini tanks.

    Jazz (who has a slightly more modest bust) suffers from the same problem, as do most of the Alts.

    [​IMG]

    Now now, I know what you're thinking - "You just chose the Alternators with the big chests!" Well you're right I did for those points. But keep in mind that 50% of the unique Alternator molds released so far have that same big chest design. So right there we've written off half of them.

    Let's have a look at a few more Alternators. Next up, Sideswipe / Dead End / Sunstreaker.

    [​IMG]

    Let's put it simply. He couldn't walk.

    How's about that Optimus fella?

    [​IMG]

    Again, he couldn't walk and let's be honest, his arms are about as useful as a T-Rex's.

    The less said about Skids the better. But wait, what about Tracks! Damn, I bet he'll work!

    [​IMG]

    Alright, looking good! Sure his arms may have a bit of trouble, as well as his legs, but it seems like it's a workable design. Now let's just have a look at the back...

    [​IMG]

    Oh. Ok. Hmm, maybe not then. Dude's a bit... cumbersome.

    The only two molds that I can see possibly working in the slightest (and they would take a lot of work) is the Prowl design and the Windcharger design. I wouldn't mind seeing some major reworking of them. But the point is, why restrict yourself to the design limitations of a toy (which have a budget and a limited number of moving parts they can use) or an oversimplified cheapo animation (stacking together a bunch of cubes is fairly easy to draw)?

    Basically, a bit of a shake up and redesign was required to make Transformers actualy useful in live action. Did they have to be so radical? Probably not. But personally I find it refreshing as this is the second time ever in Transformers history when the designs do not have to be comprimised or simplified due to toy requirements (I'd say the show designs for Beast Machines were the last time this happened). I'm fairly confident that these characters and transformations will look spectacular in the film.

    Apologies for stretching the thread out, but it was necessary in order to illustrate the point. Also, all images of the Alternators were taken from the Seibertron gallery and rehosted on imageshack.
     
  2. betetta

    betetta guitar face

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    your point is valid, but it sounds very unfair to compare something that has a 1:24 scale with a design that has a real life scale. i bet all kinds of modifications could be made to an alternator design regarding articulation and balance if we give them the exterior complexity of the movie designs in the form of inner joints and mechanisms. we could have the big chested designs with more points of neck articulation, the head placed a bit forward on the chest piece (or the chest piece itself could be taken back a bit) better proportioned limbs with way more articulation potential, etc. the designs obviously won't be exactly the same as the toy ones you posted, but the "transformer" look people talks about could have been mantained. the decision to go "spikey" with bugfaces & claws was made to fullfill hollywood and anime stereotypes for a "realistic alien" (the term itself is very contradictory and odd) look.

    i really want to see the movie designs in movement to check how good (or not) they managed to make them, and i really hope they look good once animated. but based only on still pictures i'm not 100% satisfied with most of them.
     
  3. Crimson87

    Crimson87 Senior Member

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    fully agree with betetta. I personally wish for a more original look for the movie. I wanted asthetic homage for it. After that they could reinvent the transformers as big purple dinosaurs in the next cartoon and I wouldn't have cared.

    I really wish they just hadn't messsed with 20 years of asthetics for the movie. Alts would have been a fine start for movie designs.
     
  4. Wiggyof09

    Wiggyof09 Well-Known Member

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    They did. He's called Beast Wars Megatron.
     
  5. viper2391

    viper2391 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. you can't simply use the Alternators as exact reference for the movie simply because Alternators/Binaltec were created as toys. Now if that were to be translated in firm Articulation and a little movie magic wont hurt because late's face it none of the Transformers are real --- they are fictional characters otherwise humans would have not ruled! I believe they could have made this more like a sci-fi movie like Star Wars coz going to the realism factor is not the best direction for me coz the things you can do to this Transformers are limitless. Its a big gamble on Bay's part since he is re-inventing the Transformers to what he thinks they should be - BayFormers. If he succeeds then he'll be hailed as a genius if not we'll you know what's coming. Hey but that's just my opinion.
     
  6. Bendimus Prime

    Bendimus Prime Rolls for initiative TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm with llamatron here. The more I learn about the movie, the less the original-type transformers would have worked. After watching the 20th Anniversary DVD, I noticed how many times the bots straight metal parts bend like flesh. If the movie had each of the teams standing in opposing lines and shooting across at each other, the old designs would work. But, the movie bots are going to be more hand-to-hand, Kung Fu-action type bots. They had to make them much sleeker and mobile then the old designs.

    I also accept the fact that the Decepticons are over the top evil looking. Unlike all other Transformers series, comics, books, etc., we are supposed to hate these characters. Many people like the Decepticons more than the Autobots (like feeling bad that Starscream got obliterated in the original movie). The new movie creators (both Bay and Hasbro) want us to cheer when a Decepticon goes down, not feel bad about it.
     
  7. Rikerwota

    Rikerwota Well-Known Member

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    The dancing citroen seemed to work pretty well to me...but then I'm no engineer.

    I think that if the designers wanted Alternator style Transformers to work, they could have made it work. They obviously didn't.
     
  8. Quantum_Penguin

    Quantum_Penguin Be seeing you...

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    How many times must it be said? Nobody who has criticized the movie desires a direct translation of the cartoon designs OR the Alternators into live action. To say everybody who doesn't like the movie designs does is making a dismissive generalization. Similarly, the Alternators were only designed to

    As explained above, starting with designs similar to Alternators and modifying them from there to work as humanoid organisms would do just fine. If you've seen the concept artwork of Jazz, then you know the "realistic" style can articulate a design with "bonnet boobs" close to Alternators Jazz. If they had given him some bloody hands and a mouth (and a humanoid lower jaw is possible to replicate with the "layered plates" look they are going for) he'd be the spitting image of Jazz.

    Oh, and, ha ha, yes the Dead End/Sideways mold has no hip articulation forward and back. That's something everybody disliked when we first saw it years ago because we were expecting that Alternators would maintain a high level of articulation as they were more collector oriented and very expensive. However, if you made that pelvis a little more complex and broke up the sides of his bonnet/wheelwells between both parts of the legs, lo and behold he can walk! And he has proper looking feet to boot. And the same goes for Tracks.

    Futhermore, there is nothing sleeker about the new designs as they have all these niggly bits hanging off that could get caught on things. Even Blackout, who is loved by some of the movie style's critics, has six giant blades hanging off his back and his arms are so puny that they barely look like they could reach across his chest. And Megatron is all sharp pointy bits. The movie creative team's solutions have only replaced the old problems with new ones. And no, I don't think they will be very convincing when we see them move because all those little parts break up their sillouettes, which are more important for processing movement than detail.
     
  9. betetta

    betetta guitar face

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    but they only acomplished making them all ugly, starscream doesn't looks that evil to me, he's just ugly (for the rest of the ones we've seen i can agree with what you posted), they only share their alien bug stereotype characteristics and their ugliness (that doesn't necesarilly means bad designs, actually i like many of them because they're ugly, and that's how most of the decepticon characters should be portrayed IMO).

    to make it short: evil is not the exact word to describe the movie decepticons and how they look, even when it helps transmiting the right message to the viewer, we're not supposed to hate what looks ugly per se, right?
     
  10. Seth Buzzard

    Seth Buzzard R.I.P. Buzzbeak Content Contributor

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    I like your examples but with how far the larger images stretch the screen I fined this one of the most aggravating threads to read ever. :p 
     
  11. Feralstorm

    Feralstorm I ship Nick & Judy TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm with Quantum Penguin on this one.

    People who say "this can't possibly work in the movie because the toy can't bend this way" are being roughly as short-sighted as any "if it's not exact geewun, it's crap" person.

    Hell, even the toys shown to be unable to see over their own chests can bend forward at the waist until they can. :) 
     
  12. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    I'm with Quantum Penguin all the way on this one.

    I think your exposition is a bit on the facile side, my friend. There are a lot of slippery presumptions here... in your critique of Alternators engineering, your vague contention that critics of the movie designs advocate literal adaptations of toys, and not least of all, the notion that the movie designs, by contrast, are the result of overwhelmingly practical considerations rather than aesthetic ones.

    Dreamworks did not come up with the movie designs by building functional TFs. They came up with an aesthetic first, then realised that aesthetic with realistic CGI engineering. This approach could work for other aesthetics as well.

    However, your opening image is so funny (Watch out! Giant Tyrese is going to oil Grimlock's joints with his abs!), I'm willing to let most of that go. : )

    But why -not- get started on Skids...? That does seem like sort of a cop-out to me, since Alt Skids is a pretty sweet design, and one of the sturdiest and most poseable Alternators to date (along with Mirage). Afraid that your spurious logic may not hold up? ;) 
     
  13. Lycanthropic Tendencies

    Lycanthropic Tendencies Well-Known Member

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    You're completely missing the point.

    As others have pointed out, Alternators are small toys.

    The movie toys will not be as detailed as the movie versions.
    I'll put money on the fact that, where the movie has hydraulics and other mechanisms, the toys have ball joints.

    Alternators or even G1 could be scaled up and work in the movie as they'd have more moving parts, more complexity whilst still keeping the more familiar look.

    This thread reminds me of Masterpiece Starscream.
    Fans defended the hip kibble.
    There were explanations, ilustrations and all sorts of things "proving" that the hip kibble was a neccessity, that it increased teh realism.

    Then Kawamori backed the critics and said he just thought it looked cool, made Starscream look like a Samurai.

    Same thing here.

    The designs are no more or less practical than any other Transformer design.
    Large Hollwood companies could make any design work, they just want and like this one.

    That to me is the biggest criticism of the new designs.

    The movie Prime looks intimidating, and animated the right way he would be.
    That's all the Decepticons need.

    Making them less human does not make them more evil or us hate them, unless maybe you're a WWE fan.

    There's nothing wrong with making them sinister, but from everything we've heard in the movie, they're relying on that to compensate from things they should be doing elsewhere.
     
  14. The Phazer

    The Phazer Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, some of the alts have issues looking over their chests. Good job none of the movie designs have that problem, eh?

    [​IMG]

    Oh. It'll be fine. I'm sure no one at any point would attempt to attack Blackout from the side, obviously. Bumblebee has much the same issue due to his bulked up shoulders. Jazz has a alt style chest bonnet (broken, but there), so he has the issue you're trying to use anyway.

    Tracks is cumbersome? Not really. He's got kibble, but it's all on joints and moveable. There's no reason that design can't work on screen. Now movie Starscream? HE'S cumbersome. He's got no hands, and chicken legs aren't stunningly good - that's why evolution gave us different legs. Sure, chickens get about on them, but they don't enable easy movement. They facilitate easier bending down, but they're useless in combat where you need high mobility or to be able to kick. Look at ED-209 in the original Robocop. That design looks cool, but is utterly rubbish in terms of being able to move around, which is why it loses.

    Face it, every single reason that people have come up with why the Alts couldn't work as designs (as the Citroen ad proved beyond ANY reasonable doubt when it worked very, very well) also applies to the movie designs.

    They don't have intrinsically more visability (indeed in many cases less).
    They don't have intrinsically more movement (needing fudges that would fix any Alternator designs do to some very basic movements).

    They're the way they are as a stylisitic decision, because the production team thought they'd look cooler that way and that nostaliga wouldn't matter in what is a nostalgia property, and that they knew better than the fans that have kept this franchise going for twenty years.

    That's the bottom line. That's the only reason.

    Phazer
     
  15. fschuler

    fschuler Member TFW2005 Supporter

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    Maybe Alts, and TFs in general for that matter, have proximity sensors/cameras/etc. mounted in other areas of their bodies (where the eyes on the head can't see)? That could fix the "can't see over the big chest" guys. Some modern cars have cameras and obstruction detection sensors already, so why not TFs?

    What is it about the Viper and Ram mold guys that leads you to believe that they wouldn't be able to walk? Their upper to lower leg length ratios/articulation designs may be a bit off, but I think they could work.
     
  16. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I'm going to try and answer a lot of things here, apologies if I miss anything.

    Heh, thank you. I aim to please. Also I heard that in the leaked script of the film Tyrese's abs defeat the decepticons with raw manliness.

    I don't actually own Skids so it's hard to make a good judgement on him. But looking at pictures online it seems that his chest back and legs are all very problematic:

    [​IMG]

    His chest would need to split up into several pieces and be position to sit fairly flat with the body. A few more modifications like that (to his legs and back etc) would make him usable - but by then the look would be getting close to the movie look anyways. Don't get me wrong, I'm partial to a bit of Skids action, but he wouldn't work too well in a film like that.

    The basic problem seems to be that in order for a TF to have reasonably kibble-free robot modes that will allow them a near (or above) human range of movements and freedom requires the parts of their alt mode to split up a lot. This is what the movie bots do. By taking a chunky alt mode and splitting all the panels and bits up the robot modes can be much more streamlined and end up with a much better range of movement:

    [​IMG]

    See, look at that guy. He can move all over the place. Even the MP-01 design isn't anywhere near as mobile as him.

    The six blades of Blackout essentially make a cape that is of no hinderance to his movement at all. Looking at the picture below it is clear that his arms can reach well around his chest. He could give himself a nice warm hug without any problems.

    [​IMG]




    Hey, what's that noise? Does anyone else here that? Woah, look over there! It's the truth squad! Here it comes! Get ready for justice!

    It would appear as though his neck is able to move forward enough to look around those. But let's say he can't. Blackout is a big hunky dude. Possibly not the quickest of bots but he does have a lot of firepower, the price of which is some reduction in mobility. Brute strength over agility.

    Not true. He has a perfectly fine range of vision in all directions that doesnt require him to bend over.

    [​IMG]

    Again, not true. His chest sits flush with the rest of his body, but still envokes that classic look. In order to do this parts of his alt mode have to split up a lot. I think he's one of the better designs. Take a look:

    [​IMG]

    Tracks is one of the better designs yes.

    [​IMG]

    But to give his legs enough mobility that whole hood has gotta go - split into 4 sections and re-assemble around the legs maybe? His chest area is very thin and his insides are hollow - perhaps parts like the doors and so forth could fold up in there. This is what the movie designs are doing - taking these annoying parts of kibble (which do look sweet on a toy) and sorting them out.

    Actually he does have hands - the toy prototype that we've seen is of him with his weapons out. If you look at the cardboard cut-out street scene picture he clearly has hands:

    [​IMG]


    The chicken legs were used to stop Starscream from being much taller than everyone else (and without resorting to mass-shifting). They will allow him to jump very well and very high. He also has enough firepower to keep people far enough away from him so he doesn't need to kick them. But if he did, I'm sure he'll manage.

    I haven't seen Robocop, but I would dare bet that Robocop wins because he's not about to lose to a villian in his own movie.

    A lot of people complained that the Citroen design was too "skinny and spindly." The Alt designs don't work well because there is just too much bulk sitting around that will get in the way and restrict movement. The parts need to be broken up and moved around. Compare movie Jazz to Alt Jazz. Both still look like Jazz, but one has broken bits up, shifted stuff around and is now more mobile and sleek, he can see the floor and run and jump and play and dance and sing.

    Yes they do.

    Again, yes they do. Just for example compare movie Prime to any Alternator.

    It may partially be a stylistic decision, but most of it is necessary to have the movement and slickness required to work in live action. This nostalgic property is being approached as a summer blockbuster action sci-fi film.

    They probably do.

    It most certainly is not.


    *Phew* that was long. Damn all this sideways scrolling is a pain. Curse me and my oversized for effect images!

    (Also, some of the TF movie design pictures I direct linked to the images that are already hosted on the TFW servers in the news threads. If this is not ok let me know and I'll stick them up on imageshack).
     
  17. Lycanthropic Tendencies

    Lycanthropic Tendencies Well-Known Member

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    The picture is not of a toy. Of course it has more movement than a toy.
    It will also have a lot more movement than the toy of this Prime.
    And an upscaled Masterpiece Prime with balljoints replaced by hydraulics and similar will have as much movement as this Prime.

    A 13 inch robot toy is not as mobile as a 30 ft toy of the same design.
    That's a given.
    So comparisons between the toy and a different design of 30 ft is going to yield the exact same result.

    All that proves is that giant robots can do more than toys.

    The movie toys will lose detail and articulation in the translation into toys, but will reatin their look.
    And by the exact same logic, an Alt or MP would gain detail and articulation if turned into full sized robots.

    Only then can you make realistic comparisons in terms of mobility.
     
  18. llamatron

    llamatron Shut up, Nigel. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Notice how I said the "MP-01 design" - not the toy but just the design in general. Taking the design of an Alternator and making it into a live action model you would still have problems regardless of all the extra hydraulics and details you add in. The basic designs are for the most part just too blocky and limited on movement. They need serious reworking to the point that you almost arrive at the movie design asthetic without choice (i.e. the notion of thousands of moving parts and splitting apart of kibble not the idea of insects and spikes).
     
  19. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    Give up man, they're not listening.
     
  20. blueandwhite

    blueandwhite Well-Known Member

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    Do you honestly think that the toy equivilants of these movie props are going to be any different? The reason TOY designs don't work is because they were designed as such from the onset. An upscaled Alt would undoubtedly go through some tinkering to make it useable as a prop, just as these designs will vary significantly from Hasbro's TF Movie toyline.

    If you want to make an objective comparison, try comparing the movie toyline with the Alternator line. The fact remains, the movie designs completely ignore an established aesthetic in favour of a new alien one. This choice was not one of necessity.
     

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