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Imaginary Forces Helps Design ‘Transformers’ Teaser

Entertainment and design company Imaginary Forces (IF) recently designed and animated the dynamic title reveal in the TRANSFORMERS teaser trailer. The teaser for the Michael Bay-directed film is online now at the official website, www.transformersmovie.com, and will play in theaters with Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST beginning July 7. IF creative director Peter Frankfurt led the team of artists, and IF art director Sean Koriakin spearheaded the design and animation for the titles, which employed advanced kinematics and realistic engineering similar to the Transformers characters themselves.

The trailer begins with quick shots of a rocket preparing to launch. Motion graphics introduce it as the Beagle 2 Mars Rover, which was launched in 2003 and crashed onto the surface of Mars as seen from a variety of cameras aboard the probe. "Its final transmission was classified top secret," continues the text as a silhouette of a humanoid robot shape steps into the probe's view. After a beat, the robot smashes the rover with its fist. "It was the only warning we would ever get."

As the orchestral theme swells ominously, the TRANSFORMERS logo begins to reconfigure, its pieces and panels moving intelligently and dynamically. They open, expand and contract with purpose to take on the new form of 7.4.7 marking the feature's release date. The breathing mega-structure then transforms into the Autobot symbol.

Imaginary Forces, along with several collaborators, was charged with establishing the brand of the film via the teaser trailer. Since limited footage was available, the IF team derived the design for the titles based on artwork and previs drawings presented by Michael Bay in initial meetings. The live-action feature departs from the old TRANSFORMERS cartoons and 1986 animated film by employing a more real-world approach.

"The teaser marks the first branding effort for the film," explained Koriakin, who was also Imaginary Forces' lead animator and designer. "We knew there would be limited footage available and only a glimpse of a robot so it was important that we define this new world and aesthetic in the title reveal. The title is a detailed piece of architecture that is intricate, logical and clearly articulated. There are many elements and panels that fit into each other perfectly like a giant jigsaw puzzle. We spent a lot of time working on textures and creating the shapes of the parts with interiors that were anatomical and derived from a human muscle form. In keeping with the film's portrayal of the Transformers, we had to make the title appear as realistic as possible."

Koriakin worked closely with IF designer Noah Olmsted on the design and architecture of the titles. Olmsted spent a month researching and culling from various influences, including Japanese mechanical design, Russian constructivist style, Dutch landscape painting, as well as certain ideas of the sublime.

"This project was an exciting opportunity to venture into uncharted territory in terms of movement and architecture," added Olmsted. "We had to work with the conceptual art and make it super robust, high-tech, tough and big yet these mega-structures had to make sense. The machines have a different way of moving, but it also had to be organic. How do you keep that balance of biomorphic mass and metal in the movement? It was really cool to work with Sean and see how the actions of our design informed the animation and vice versa."

The teaser was part of a collaboration with Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Ignition Creative and Asylum Visual Effects.

Other IF credits include:

* Executive Producer: Annabelle Richardson* Producers: Ben Apley, Claudina Mercado* Designers: Ahmet Ahmet, Ronnie Koff* Animators: Brian Broussard, Robin Roepstorff, Hao Cui* Inferno Artist: Rod Basham, Matt Spencer

Imaginary Forces (www.imaginaryforces.com) is an entertainment and design company based in Hollywood and New York. Its award-winning work spans the diverse industries of feature film production, entertainment marketing and promotion, corporate branding, architecture, advertising and interactive media. IF's recent work includes ID packages for USA Network, Animal Planet and MTV, as well as effective and compelling broadcast advertising for Nike, Toyota, Pontiac, Smirnoff and Lexus. In entertainment and media marketing, IF created campaigns for such films as THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, THE STEPFORD WIVES, THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, SIGNS and both MEN IN BLACK films. The company also designed and produced main title sequences for THE BREAK-UP, THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO, RAY, THE LEGEND OF ZORRO, BAND OF BROTHERS, SPIDER-MAN, DR. SEUSS' THE CAT IN THE HAT and SEVEN, and produced the BLADE trilogy.

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