LONDON – MPC (mpcvfx.com) contributed nearly 900 visual effects shots to the Paramount Pictures feature Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Directed by Steven Caple Jr., the film is set in the 1990s and introduces a new faction of Transformers — the Maximals — which join them as allies in defending the Earth.
Production VFX supervisor Gary Brozenich oversaw the visual effects, working with MPC VFX supervisors Richard Little and Carlos Caballero Valdés, and MPC VFX producers Cindy Deringer and Nicholas Vodicka. Over 1,000 artists and production crew collaborated across MPC’s studios in London, Montreal, Bangalore, Los Angeles, Toronto and Adelaide to deliver 896 shots. Their work included creating 18 of the movie’s characters, including Arcee, Bumblebee, Mirage, Optimus Primal, Optimus Prime, Rhinox, Scourge and the planet eating Unicron.
MPC’s major contributions included the start of the story in New York, and the abandoned warehouse scene where the heroes meet the Autobots. Additionally, the studio worked on the Ellis Island battle, the Switchback mountain chase and the pivotal sequence where the Autobots meet the Maximals.
Brozenich met with the filmmakers in 2021 to plan how to bring the directors vision of a new Transformers film to life. MPC’s on-set crew traveled to Montreal, New York and Peru to gather data from the shoot for the VFX work. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, MPC’s visualization team, supervised by Abel Salazar, worked alongside the director and VFX supervisor to help craft the previs for many of the film’s dynamic sequences. They then helped to ensure a smooth transition into VFX by providing postvis for shots. Salazar and a team of artists continued into post production, providing over 2,000 postvis shots, helping to provide a solid foundation for MPC's VFX teams to build upon.
Character development began with concept art created by the production’s art department. Over the course of production, some designs were further developed by MPC’s art department, headed up by art director Leandre Lagrange. Lagrange and a team of six artists worked on concepts for volcano environments, details of Unicron’s design, Arcee’s face design, Optimus Prime’s weapon, and various holograms, including Arcee’s scan hologram. For the transformations, MPC developed a proprietary tool that allowed animators to slice, separate and transform geometry on a model, in any given shot, on any asset. The success of the transformations was a joint effort between multiple departments, including R&D, animation mechanic TDs and CG lighters.
MPC’s environments team had multiple large-scale, full-CG and digital set extensions to build, from jungle environments, to mountains, to built-up cities. One of largest environments involved changing the present-day New York skyline back to 1994.
“It was really interesting to see how much Manhattan has changed over the last 30 years,” notes MPC VFX supervisor Richard Little. “We created a huge CG build of Manhattan based on images from photography and footage gathered from the early ‘90s. We had some incredible images of the skyline, given to me by New Yorkers I worked closely with on the shoot in Manhattan. Some of these images came from their family’s personal photography collections. The Williamsburg Bridge, which is heavily featured in the sequence when Noah meets the Autobots, was scanned and photographed to help our environments team with the build. We were very fortunate the Manhattan authorities were so helpful in allowing us to collect the photography we needed.”
“MPC’s creative teams and supervisors were excellent collaborators for us on the film,” adds Brozenich. “From asset creation and design to the creation of highly-complex, full-screen environments, the teams nailed the brief with flair. The robots were exceptionally crafted and animated. I was pleased to uphold the legacy of the franchise with them.”
"Our collaboration with director Steven Caple Jr. and production VFX supervisor Gary Brozenich allowed us to push the boundaries of what is possible in visual effects,” states Little. “Working on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts has been a thrilling and challenging experience for our team. We've combined our passion for storytelling with great artistry and technology to create an unforgettable cinematic experience for audiences."