Making Of 'Robot In Disguise'
Like any other peace even this has a background and a little bit of story to it. When I started to think what I want to make, I was very excited by the transformers movies. I'm a big fan of the animation series and the movies, and there were so many awesome robot designs that were really cool, but no-where was featuring really cool old types of Russian or German cars, and that disappointed me.
Well let's not blame Michael Bay for that! Since there were so many robot designs over the internet, I wanted to come up with an idea for a robot transformer that was powerful and angry looking but based on an old car. I started to come up with designs but nothing fit the idea I had in my head, and then whilst I was walking to a date one night I got hit by a girl driving a Trabant. I was ok, but the idea to make Trabant Transformer just HIT me in the pure meaning of the word!
When I got back home I started to collect Trabant references from all over the net.(Autobot)
Firstly I started to model the Trabant. When I create a robot I want to have the base ready so I can go nuts if you get what I mean, when I start to move things around on the robot. This is how my Trabant model looks after the modeling stage. I tried to put as much detail as possible in the model. (Fig.01)
After the modeling stage I looked at my concept and started to move onto the robot. First of all I set a biped in the scene. I wanted to have all the correct proportions and joints. After putting the biped in my scene I looked at a few of my sketches that I had drawn. I drew my designs like black silhouettes and chose one for my robot. (Fig.02)
Then I started to build the base skeleton of the robot using the biped that I put in the scene earlier. I started setting up the parts in groups and thinking how to connect the different parts of the robot using the car, the car engine, the wheels and anything else that is interesting, and I did this until I was happy. (Fig.03)
After that stage I continued with the robot using parts from the Trabant. I started to cut to scale and to edit some parts to fit the type of design I wanted. Some of the elements were re-modeled to fit my needs for the robot design and that's how I come up with this: (Fig.04 - 06)
All I did after that was to join the parts to the biped, because it looked the way I wanted it to. (Fig.07)
I was happy to come up with different ideas for the robot whilst I was modeling, so I was posting W.I.P images in a Bulgarian 3d forum, where my friends commented and critiqued the process. Then one of them came up with an idea that set the foundations for the Decepticon version. (Decepticon)
He saw the final artwork and did a quick paint over in Photoshop to make the robot look mean. When I saw the concept I just fell in love with it.(Fig.08)
The quick paint over was done by Tsvetomir Georgiev (http://ceco.cgsociety.org/) thank you for this my Friend if you are reading this :)
The next stage was to change to this concept, so firstly I edited the biped and then set up the pieces to fit the new concept. Then I started to try to edit and re-create the mean look of the robot. This is what I come up with. (Fig.09 - 10)
Then like the first model he was rigged, and I made a test render and a quick paint over in the back ground to see how it would feel in the environment. (Fig.11)
The next step was to make the robot look powerful, so I looked at different pictures from the transformers movie and tried to come up with a cool and original idea. I studied photography for 2-3 years, so I tried to capture the perfect angle, and from it to move and set up the pose of the robot and everything else in the scene.
The scene setup I created was really simple, there is nothing fancy about it, also the materials and the lights are really simple as well. (Fig.12)
Since I was using Mental Ray to render the picture I used simple Photometric Light for the top light, and 2 spot lights for the Trabant.
For the car paint I used simple Arch & Design material and metal preset for the skeleton of the Trabant and the robot. I added car seats in the car and a steering wheel to make the picture more visually interesting, since I didn't need them in the beginning. Once the car was in the scene I could see that these were needed.
Many of you asked on the forums why the car paint is so simple. The answer is quite simple. If any of you have ever seen a Trabant it's a kind of plastic/paper looking car. It's an old german car which is little and cute, that's why making it look like an evil robot was my goal. Once I had set up my 3 cameras I viewed all them and choose a final image for rendering. (Fig.13)
For the render settings all I did was to change the final gather to medium and to set my sample rate to Mitchell and the sample rate to 1/16, nothing to fancy.
And here is the final Render: (Fig.14)
I didn't adjust it much in Photoshop, I usually go crazy with my post production but I wanted to show the cool quality of mental ray, even without any major post production. Sometimes the simple things are most beautiful. All I added was a little sharpness to the image in Photoshop.
I hope you've enjoyed this making of.