Tricky FX by Digital Domain

Here is a familiar story of hard work by one of my favorite studios Digital Domain, the studio behind the Benjamin Button VFX and other iconic films. This story is about a shot from the new Transformers movie that took 3 months to finish only 2 seconds of film. Possible spoilers, so be warned.

Check out the Article at Gizmodo

And please, no movie reviews here. Whether you loved-it or hated-it, this is NOT a movie review site and I don’t want to start frivolous debates. Now, if you can relate to this story from a professional stand-point and would like to share one of your battles, please do.

BTW, I don’t usually post outside stories but I think it could be a fun thing to share interesting articles related to motion graphics & visual effects from time to time. What do you think about that?

POSTED:
5 years ago
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104 Comments

fareed rashad
5 years ago
you are a genius I'm glad I found your work very inspiring thank you. I wish you would have publish action essentials2 before I brought the first one.
bazera
5 years ago
shen shemogvle andrew :*:*:* i love you :*:*:* i dont know english very well but i tell you how i love you :*:*:* for georgia
AB
5 years ago
Thanks for posting this.
I found it very interesting
5 years ago
I though I would have a quick play using some elements in After Effcts, heres a little test. Imagine what you could do with moving footage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CVahcrn8PM
5 years ago
Very interesting article. I saw the movie and i do remember those forty frames:).
Thanks for posting it Andrew!
Well worth it for all the visual effect junkies.
I'm just interested from a production and post persepctive. Thanks again
- Blake
Ken “the trader”
5 years ago
thx Andrew, I'd heard of troika but not dd; their reels and vfx work are fantastic - thx for the heads up.
Morten Enoksen
5 years ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYkiAL1QrUs&feature=channel_page
What do you guys think about my filmtrailer? It's kind of like James Bond, Johnny English, Austin Powers, and Cops :)
Thank you kindly.
I heard that one of the machines that was rendering this movie, exploded! it burst into fire and some smoke erupted from thr vents!
Davide
5 years ago
Hey Andrew, this is a brilliant idea for a tutorial, :))
Jordan Harrop
5 years ago
Andrew.... any way you could make a tutorial
Peter Somers (TC-Productions)
5 years ago
5 guys and 3 months for 40 frames ...
Even though I think this definitely classifies under the "Frame F***ing" category, at the TV channel I work for, we regularly get correction jobs in that are just a few frames long
but when left untreated, they appear to the untrained eye as a "WTF moment".
Little reflections, unwanted signs, dust spec removal and stuff like that, it's the little details that make a scene either look smooth or glitchy.

And hey, if I was working for DD, would I turn down the kind of money that's involved with this kind of work? HELL NO ! Kerr-ching !!
Abobakr
5 years ago
Five professional guys, three months, and only two seconds.

Wish the audiences would understand the effort and the time for making such a masterpiece shot.
Stephen Cho
5 years ago
i Couldn't agree~
that is so ture 2 second in 3 mounths wow
how about U??
5 years ago
Jimmy, I think you are missing the point. It wasn't a planned FX shot.
Jimmy Williams
5 years ago
That's ridiculous, a laser scan or her face? I can create her face in just a few hours, lower poly making it easier to animate.

How the heck does it take them 3 months?!?!

They need to hire me and fire all these other folks, seriously, 3 months? You got to be kidding me.

Other than that sad bit, the movie was awesome and the effects teams did a great job.
Caco
5 years ago
The most relevant of this article, is that you Andrew can do it the same!!! you just need time, and a know you do!!
5 years ago
Wow! I smell a nomination.
Jason
5 years ago
Well if you gotta stare at something for 3 months, she is definitely easy on the eyes.
Arshad
5 years ago
i Think ........................... u the man
RobCoxxy
5 years ago
Isabel Lucas. Oh my god. Just oh. MY GOD <3
ftragg
5 years ago
Video Copilot is a site for learning about VFX. By all means, this includes getting ideas about how experts do things. While the blog should not devolve to only these types of articles, by all means feel free to post one once in a while. After all, it does help.
Martin
5 years ago
We think that You should post such articles more often :D
5 years ago
keep it up*
5 years ago
the effect didn´t look good at all, better said it looked horrible. not to make a review or anything, but that character was so pointless. and the animation in the movie itself had to many details. you didn´t see anything in the robot-fights. and wasting 3 months on 2 seconds.. i can´t even comment that..

though, i like the whole thing about you sharing articles. keep it about Andrew:)
Michelle
5 years ago
I like the films very much,expecially the Bumblebee.It's really really very cool.And thanks for Andrew,I've learnt so much knowledge from you,and as an chinese student,I really admire you.
robert_f
5 years ago
Theres some more info on the films effects here.

http://features.cgsociety.org
/story_custom.php?story_id=5153
cyclone muet
5 years ago
je pense que c'est une excellent idée. cela pourrait nous permettre nous jeune africain qui avons des difficultés pour trouvr des magazine fx d'être informé sur le monde des effets spéciaux, des films et des secietes.
merci encore ANDOU.
5 years ago
you are the best in after effects, we want more tutorials!!!
Alex
5 years ago
good Job, ese spoiler es de la Pelicula Transformers 2 , Excelent FX
5 years ago
That sort of info is exactly what we need! ;)
sid_lucky2002
5 years ago
thanx andrew
n plz share more articles like dis...
jai ho!!
5 years ago
merci buuuuuuuut you are biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiggggger man i like your job
SXVBAKA
5 years ago
coool andrew u are the best xd
do a tutorial of how to create a transformers an autobot
5 years ago
TWO THUMPS UP! amazing story and great idea about posting stories...
if you think you spend a lot of time in the computer ask VFX department...
- GO AK -
Bay-Blam-Boom!
5 years ago
mohamed tarek
5 years ago
go on andrewww ...always show us wats new and the new techniques .... iam a big fan of u man
Frank Wagner
5 years ago
Great idea in my opinion!

Don´t get high on your own supply ;-)

Keep on rocking Andrew!

Frank
5 years ago
I didnt like it....looked cheap to me. the wholw movie looked like laundering money process
Steve
5 years ago
Dont you think they could have saved themselves some work by shooting this green screen with some facial markers put in place?
pl0x
5 years ago
Very nice articel! I wondered how they did that. Not that i'm capable of doing it myself now... Would be cool to have a more indepth tutorial about something like this :)
5 years ago
I personally like these types of articles.
Pretty informative, and its a nice look into the real work behind the jaw dropping shots we see in movies :)
Joe
5 years ago
Excellent. Something to show my boss next time he asks "why can't I have my complex motion graphic produced in 20 minutes?"

Very grateful!
Willem
5 years ago
By the way, the reels at Digital Domain (and Weta Digital, too) are just sooooo delicious.
Willem
5 years ago
Superb idea to share CG stories. I'm still baffled at how Digital Domain did the horses, made of water, in Lord of the Rings. I know they talk about it in the LOTR DVD extras, but nevertheless that is fine CG and compositing (all those passes!)
So i'm all in trying to analyze a certain shot and trying to re-create it just to get better.
diilman
5 years ago
Awesome with some interesting articles!
Please DO post these articles, they're awesome :)
5 years ago
Ha!

I could do it in about 3 mins.

(Jokes)

This film doesnt even have any plot so there is no spoiler what-so-ever.

Nice one AK.

I do think that it is a good idea this vfx posting.
5 years ago
Personally I think it looks much better in motion then it does in stills.
Terjay
5 years ago
Man... I thought my mirror replacement rotoscopings were time consuming.
Wcl Nc
5 years ago
Could you do that by yourself andrew? =p
Ryan
5 years ago
Interesting point having to do it manually. I was having a debate with my friend about the future of 3d animation. And he said that in 15 years or so, we'll look back on this animation and laugh at how bad it is. This got me thinking. How much will actually change, how much more real can real get? I think the major thing that will change is the rendering times. With faster computers comes greater possibilities at more detailed animation. Alot of the transformers animations were covered by dust particles, or parachutes. I think the future of animation will be dependent on how fast pc's will become and their rendering capabilities. Who knows, in a few years time we could become part of the movie!
Sandy
5 years ago
Interesting Andrew!!!!!
BESTIA94
5 years ago
behind the scenes of the c. case of Benjamin Buttons are impressive.


cya
mike
5 years ago
its just crazy whats done today with cg stuff... i watched the DD videos and it is crazy... even normal streets sometimes arent real and you wouldn't even think about it!

3 months... puuhhh
Crakz
5 years ago
crazy, really much steps to made this real looking robot...
but the film is one of the best this year ^^
Brett
5 years ago
I love behind the scenes of all films. If you created this as another section of your website devoted to reviewing top of the line effects and how they can be achieve (Not always) by the run of the mill motion graphics artist. That or at least it could serve as a forum for understanding motion graphics.
Zizo
5 years ago
I completely agree with sharing stuff from outsiders :)
tyrone the bamboozle
5 years ago
really interesting stuff , it made me visit Digital Domain website to watch their reels , I can see why they are your favorite, true artists
5 years ago
I completely agree with you
andi
5 years ago
I bet Andrew could do a tutorial on this in 45 minutes.

Btw yes I'd be interested in more posts like this, I check your site once or twice a day and usually nothing has changed so I think there's plenty of time for articles like this once in a while.
James price
5 years ago
It would be cool if you kept the article section seperate..and maybe link them to relevant tutorials you have made..or create tutorials that simulate visual effects/ techniques that are featured in movies.
Tanel
5 years ago
very cool article, i always read Gizmodo but somehow i mist that one.
Gijs de Fijter
5 years ago
Damn, that looks nice! I love the work of Micheal Bay!!! :P im gonna watch the movie in aobut 1 hour now :P looking forward to it!!

Amazing effects!

Andrew, keep them going, you helped very much with my projects! THNX!

Gijs from The Netherlands
Francesco
5 years ago
Yes, I think is very interesting share articles about motion graphics & VFX. There's alot to learn from and it also useful for projects inspiration.

thanks Andrew.
Greetings
5 years ago
Keep them coming Andrew. Great find
5 years ago
I love this kind of stuff, please keep posting!
sohail
5 years ago
cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pakistan
5 years ago
Hi Andrew,
If you're searching for interesting articles about SFX/VFX please visit
http://www.pixelcreation.fr/3d-video/animation-3d-vfx/
(sorry in french anly)
Articles are writen by Alain Bielik, a very cool french guy
Have a nice day ;-)
Taleph
5 years ago
Awesome scene, even though the Movie was'nt worth it, as bad as it was. You should deifnetly share such "outside stories" more often.
The Real Smithy
5 years ago
i Always feel sorry for the VFX departments. Especially Digital Domain - cos its actually owned by Michael Bay, so he is their boss. Directors come up with crazy stuff which sound cool but its the poor lads at DD that have to solve the problem and make it look good. Hats off to Digial Domain and ILM, superb VFX.
Ze frenchie ( aka inferior creatures for you , english gods )
5 years ago
Superbe partie de vidéo! Mais j'ose croire que le budjet de cette dernière aurait pu être mise autre part...
5 years ago
i like horror movies . But I don't like this scary face it's scare me..
Rob
5 years ago
I asked them for the AE project file but no response till so far??? haha

I like the modelling of those 2 boobs, gonna try that on my own missy!

Just joking, real cool work!

Grtz from the Netherlands
Kenny W
5 years ago
This was a really cool read, Il like to see more links to articles like these andrew!
Alfadona
5 years ago
thank you andrew
5 years ago
Awesome! its AMAZING how they model stuff like that, im just beginning 3d and that seems WAY to hard!!!
Spencer
5 years ago
That's insane, poor people.

When I visited Digital Domain they were working on Speed Racer, one of the Maya artists told me about how the stadium course model took about 2 - 3 months in all. I thought that was intense and even then they at least used the model for two or three scenes.
5 years ago
I think that's great now we can have a little mini Cinefx magazine article on here!
5 years ago
CGSociety did a bigger article on it. CHeck it out.
http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=5153
Rob
5 years ago
I think DD did an awsome job, if i was working there i'd probably poo myself if Mr M. Bay came upto to me and asked us for a last min job, but they did as they were asked and did extra for Mr. Bay. good work DD.

Rob

p.s - It's all about the finest attention to detail.
Alex
5 years ago
I love these little articles and if you post them then I can kill 2 birds with one stone and won't have to go to other websites. neat
madman
5 years ago
i saw the movie and didnt even notice all that until know what i saw was just a normal transformation coz it was 2 second i think for a 2 second clip you dont need that much detail but still intresting to know how much work is needed for 40 frames
Dave B
5 years ago
That type of stuff makes me more inspired to live life =) ... those people must have been really passionate about their work to have the will power to complete something like that.


.. bet the pay wasn't bad either lol
Diego G.
5 years ago
It's nice to see how people spent a lot of time for a short period of a movie, although the final result is very, very amazing... :D I'm impressed... ;D
Andrew
5 years ago
I for one would definitely love to read about your opinion and thoughts on the works of others, be it breakdowns, critiques, or even just simple congrats when people in the industry discuss and share knowledge openly everyone wins
5 years ago
Very interesting... Lots of work for 40 frames.
Kai
5 years ago
cool!
That looks really interestin.
Jesus2000
5 years ago
I don't know... Kramer would have done that in like 2 days.
Jeremy
5 years ago
cool!
chaval91
5 years ago
lampara tanta movida para hacer solo dos segundos xD increible de verdad
Gracias por la nota Andrew
5 years ago
It did remind me of reminded me of terminator also Will
5 years ago
that's CRAAAAAAZY!!!!!! in an AWESOME way haha
jobatamy
5 years ago
wow that's awesome I think that all those people behind the visual effects are grouped in one man that man you Andrew thx
Pix
5 years ago
Yeah I saw it on gizmodo.com
highdefw
5 years ago
Just read this at CGSociety. Too amazing.
5 years ago
hey, it's a clip from TF2 ROTF!
5 years ago
Andrew thankyou for sharing this with us it was an interesting post! :D

I think it would be cool if you posted more news like this about the VFX world however only every now and then when you find something cool! :D

How about maybe including a segment in upcoming vlogs about the vfx industry ? ;) just a thourght...
5 years ago
I saw this shot, and it was amazing. Although rather reminded me of terminator..
Avalanshe
5 years ago
Yea nice! :) Thanks from Poland!
Alexander
5 years ago
I've always wanted to get somewhere as far as this. Hopefully..one day...
Waiting on AE2 to help me get their!
Sam GIlbert
5 years ago
Wow incredible!!!
sasha strelnikoff
5 years ago
cool!!!
Goulgag
5 years ago
Currently working on an ad for Jägermeister and I'm dealing with the exact opposite:
Highly complex simulationbehaviours wurks.
paul
5 years ago
that movie was sooo ------.........never mind no comment....interesting article! thanks for the link.
Carlos
5 years ago
I think its a great idea thank you Andrew :)
5 years ago
Interesting...thanks for the article, I like when you post them.
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