Building a Transformer takes 6 months
Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar sat down with the folks at Bollywood Hungama to talk about how they worked with the physical constraints in Transformers 2, such as measuring the pyramids and mockups of the Robots to use for Actor’s eyelines. Towards the end, the interviewer asked one interesting question:
Can you give an idea of the time and money it takes to bring just one of the robots to life for 10 seconds?
That is a great question because no matter how many times they appear in the movie it takes a certain amount of work. It takes roughly about six months to put a robot together. This may be surprising, but you have to build all the pieces. It is like going into your workshop and making those parts, except it is a computer graphics workshop. The men and women who make these characters, make the shapes and those shapes have compound curves, which is complicated. Then some shapes have 4 to 16 layers of information in the computer, so that it looks like plastic or glass or shiny chrome or brushed steel, plus all the pigments of colour. That is a lot of stuff, for every piece. The building of it is one thing, that takes 12 to 16 weeks, and then you go into paint and textures. Then there are the people who connect all the pieces and that can take even longer. You have to work it all out so that basically the skeleton hangs together in the computer.
Nobody thought building a transformer was “quick”, but 6 months. Wow.