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An Inside Look At Transformers: ROTB Characters CGI Production

VFX Artist Rassoul Edji has shared some animation tests, techniques, and details about Transformers: Rise of the Beasts 2023 movie 3D workflows and production.

VFX Artist Rassoul Edji often shares behind-the-scenes looks at his CGI work in the film industry, which includes big productions and franchises such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, and last year's Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

According to the artist, he contributed to making Bumblebee, Mirage, Optimus Prime, Optimus Primal, Stratosphere, Battletrap, and Air Razor in Transformers: ROTB, acting as a lead artist overseeing texturing and look development of all assets. Bumblebee was the character he focused on the most, doing not only look development but all modeling and texturing.

Rassoul Edji created a procedural texturing and shading workflow and toolset that allowed the artists to make the robots look great in very short timeframes, which was used on all of the assets done on the London side of the production. In the video above you can see his Bumblebee battle-damaged variant turntable with some extra commentary from the artist.

As Rassoul Edji points out, part of successfully doing a Transformers entry is proving you can get the characters transforming. Thomas Rutter, Transformers: ROTB Pipeline Supervisor, created a tool that gave animators full freedom with how they wanted to transform the characters.

Apparently, it allowed them to cut pieces as they liked and move them around with their own control rigs, and with this animators could slice various parts of the robots and vehicles to animate them in a way that would be convincing for a transformation.

When asked how the model reacted to animators cutting and slicing, Rassoul Edji explained that UVs were maintained when the model was cut and separated so it picked up the normal shaders and texture workflows. 

"Some pieces we wanted to be able to 'fill in' so that they didn't look weird when cut and moving. For these pieces, the tool would create the UVs and attributes required for our systems in Katana to pick them up and assign the relevant materials to them."

Rassoul Edji has also revealed that Stratosphere was the heaviest asset of this production with over 1400 UDIMs. This number shouldn't surprise you as big-budget movies often deal with high UDIM counts and it's only natural due to the nature of the robots having a lot of pieces, which take up more UV space and surface area than organic creatures.

Stratosphere was the biggest character on the show and this is an impressive technical achievement that looked absolutely great on screen.

"It was a massive technical undertaking pushing this character through our pipeline and workflows. I spent a lot of time working with the team to optimize him and our methodologies for creating him", commented the artist.

Check out Rassoul Edji's showreel featuring more of his work on Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and read this interview we recently conducted with him for an in-depth breakdown of the incredibly realistic Samurai character.

We also highly recommend you following him on X/Twitter for more beautiful art and VFX in film breakdowns. Don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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