Brought on during the early stages of post-production, we channeled our retro sensibilities to deliver a multitude of visual effects for the latest entry in the Transformers franchise. Working closely with visionary director Travis Knight and VFX supervisor Jason Smith, we were tasked with designing, animating, and compositing multiple HUDs, holograms, monitors, and user interfaces present throughout Bumblebee.
We were hugely inspired by some of the more iconic HUDs and GUIs of the 1980s like Terminator and War Games, and constantly found ourselves referencing some of the more obscure gems like Max Headroom, The Last Starfighter, and concept cars of the time. We also of course referenced The Transformers: The Movie (1986), which, outside of being a very influential piece of the source material, has a ton of really beautiful HUD and technology design in its own right.
Everything in Bumblebee’s HUD vision is very high-contrast and intentionally pixelated to evoke the design aesthetic and technical limitations of the 80s. Nearly all of our 2D and 3D animation was done on threes, which allowed us to convey complicated, high-tech concepts without ever feeling too ahead of its time. We also developed another unique set of HUDs for the two Decepticon villains featured in the film, with a more angular design language and heavier military influence.
It was a unique challenge to design Bumblebee’s technology as a faux piece of history, rather than slickly designed tech from 2018 being forced into 1987. We went to great lengths researching analog video quirks from the 80s to replicate in our hologram designs, such as flickering refresh rates, display aliasing, and color abnormalities.
Throughout the film, two Decepticons attempt to hunt down and destroy Bumblebee using an advanced set of Cybertronian tools and technologies. Keeping with our old-school CG aesthetic, we developed an array of ambient graphics which Shatter and Dropkick would use during various scenes. We also developed another unique set of HUDs for the two Decepticon villains featured in the film, with a more angular design language and heavier military influence.
During the opening sequence of the film, there are a few glimpses of Cantina tech featured on the Transformers’ home world of Cybertron. Perhaps the most iconic of which are the various ambient screens of the Autobots’ semi-sentient computer system, Teletraan I. In wanting to stay true to the rich lore of the franchise, we also generated multiple typefaces based on the two distinct Cybertronian alphabets, with unique styles depending on the source of the technology featuring it on screen.
Client Paramount Pictures
VFX Executive Producer Sean Cushing
VFX Senior Creative Stephen Lawes
VFX Producer Donna Cullen
VFX Supervisor Tony Lupoi
Design Supervisor Andrew Hawryluk
Designers Daniel Zhang, Carly Cerquone
CG Artist Julianne Dome
Compositor Matt Eaton
© 2018 Paramount Pictures