From the invading alien race that threatens life on Earth as we know it, to the Autobots that rise up to protect humanity, the scope of the visual effects work for Transformers: Age of Extinction was both wide-ranging and technically challenging. Each film in the franchise has presented a series of challenges that eclipse those faced in the previous film by an order of magnitude and Age of Extinction is no different. The film, the most difficult and complicated so far, represented a new beginning for the franchise in virtually every way – new cast, new locations and a host of new characters to be realized by the visual effects team.
The ILM crew played a pivotal role in defining and creating this highly designed world, producing a scope and scale suitable for a science fiction epic. The film contains over 700 visual effects shots created by Industrial Light & Magic, in San Francisco and Singapore.
The film contains a wide scope of work. From the Transformers themselves, to simple set extensions, to complete CG environments, the environment work was paramount to creating a believable world for our Transformers to exist. Spaceships, cities, forests, bodies of water, buildings and everything in them had to be designed and built by the effects team to tell this larger than life story. We also revamped our destruction and simulation pipelines to create some of the most detailed destruction sequences in the company’s history.
Age of Extinction also features more fully CG sequences than in any Transformers film. The Knightship interior was one such virtual environment. It was immense and extremely complex in terms of architecture. Director Michael Bay captured many of the sequences himself operating a virtual camera in our motion capture volume with ILM’s real-time render engine. This system provided immediate feedback for the Transformers, whose motion was driven live by stunt performers and the environment itself. This not only sped up the workflow, but it ensured that Michael’s vision for each shot would be carried from initial capture though to the final render.