Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Dark of the Moon VFX From Digital Domain

The Society of Digital Artists website has posted an interesting article with key members of the Digital Domain crew that helped created the visual effects used in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Digital Domain was bought by Michael Bay after the first movie but has a long history working in Hollywood. Much like with Revenge of the Fallen, the company focused on certain characters and scenes while ILM focused on the key Transformers and larger scale effects.

The crew help created Brains, Laserbeak and the cannon fodder Decepticon protoforms. Key scenes the crew worked on include "Bird Men" (the Chicago skydiving sequence) and the Space Bridge jump from the Moon to Washington, DC. Below are a few highlights but best to read the details in the full article here. Note that references to "stereo" is referring not to sound but creating everything in 3D.

Bird Men
Compositing Supervisor Lou Pecora's personal favorite sequence which stretched his team's skills was the Bird Men sequence where the swat team jumped out of the Osprey Choppers. "That was like a compositor's dream, [and nightmare]. This scene had all the old-school muscle in it," says Pecora. "There was so much rolling shutter footage on the helmet cams they wore when they actually jumped off Sears Towers in Chicago." The shots from those smaller cameras was so blurred, "it looked like it was shot through a bowl of Jello", he added.
"Laserbeak was incredibly complex. He had to transform into several different objects, none of which he had the parts for," explains Dave Hodgins. "A lot of the transformers like Optimus Prime could morph into a truck cos he had truck parts on him, whereas Laserbeak would change with a quick motion blur."
Golden Rule
One of the golden rules during production of the two previous Transformers films, was that the Transformers were not allowed to spend much time standing in front of one another because they were such complex models, if that happened, it became hard to distinguish between the two.

Now that 3D stereo was a driving force on this third instalment, it was easier to read the motion and that rule didn't apply anymore. This was Hodgins' first 3D film and composing for stereo took a little while. The display of finished shots on a big cinema screen was different to the smaller studio screens. This took a little getting used to but the tools already in place at Digital Domain for stereo production made the transition a whole lot easier.


  1. The one thing that impressed me most about this film was the special effects and the 3d, the story and plot is another dicussion.I really believe that bay definately took this transformers movie to the next level visually and the action seens were some of the best i ever seen, cant wait to see what's in store for the future of transformers.

  2. Didnt understand a damn thing other than these guys love sucking up to Bay

  3. Didn't understand a dam thing? Really? thats sad.

  4. Next time they need to create effects that fall in your lap, or fly in front of your face, like the undersea IMAX features.

  5. Effects in 3 part were beautiful, 3 times it was amazing, but they must develop something new to impress the audience.

  6. I agree, they got the action, they got some of the best effects i've ever seen and at least for me the 3d was great. I just think they got to get rid of so much toilet humor, it took up half the movie and replace it with bigger and longer death matches. I know there always are going to have the human element but I would like to see alot more character development with the bots, half the movie is all human, but I personally enjoyed the movie and I am looking foward to whats next.

  7. instruments of destruction was the best song ever it fit the movie perfect why not put it in take a poll u will see yourself transformers are instruments of destruction

  8. the 1st original movie had that song in it listen to it u will see what


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