Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Transformers Prime

When we started production on this CG animated series over two years ago, we always set our sights on putting together a show that would set a new standard for TV animation quality. If you haven't seen the series, please check it out in HD. The first season is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. I know I may be a little biased, but every aspect of the show, from the writing, voice acting, designs, animation to the soundtrack is so stellar. The show impressed enough in the industry last year to earn two Daytime Emmy awards for outstanding individual achievement in animation for background design (me) and color design (Christophe Vacher).

Anyway here are a couple of early production designs I generated for the first season.

Cybertron after the civil war

The Autobot headquarters. A very complex set that turned out really well. I was hoping that Hasbro would make a toy playset out of this...


  1. Hello, Mr.Toyama.
    I really appreciate your works!
    It's been a long time since I started watching almost everything about TF, from animations to movies, and also 'Transformers Prime' of course. They started to broadcast it also here in my country from last September.
    Keep up the good work! This world deserves more talented people like you.
    Sincerly, Chiara from Italy.

  2. Hi Chiara,

    Thank you for your kind words. It's always very gratifying that our efforts on this production are appreciated by the fans. All the artists on the team are talented and very dedicated to making this a really cool TV show!

  3. Thank you for your reply, Mr. Toyama.
    I am sure of your devotion, and you all must be proud of yourselves! :)
    The series is a success, and the more I look at your designs (not just Trasformers stuff) the more I realize there is a really great work behind every single show.
    In particular, I was initially fascinated by your 'manga' drawing style; the accuracy and sharpness of it remembers me a lot of mangas I read, and I was like "Wow, it would be cool if there were a manga about it!"
    Anyway, I admire you, Mr. Toyama, because I'm also an "artist", I like to draw even if mine is just a hobby and I’m of course not good as you are.
    I will keep following your blog, I'm curious to see with which work you will amaze us the next time!

  4. "I was hoping that Hasbro would make a toy playset out of this..."

    That would make an awesome Cyberverse playset, but it looks like they're sticking to vehicles. At least the Energon Driller and the Jackhammer look great, so props to whoever designed those.

  5. On a related note, what was your inspiration for Cybertron's design aesthetic? There have been quite a few different interpretations of the planet's structures and landmarks over the years, and I honestly think yours may be the most unique and memorable interpretation of the planet to date. I was thrilled to see your designs put to use in the second season opening. Hopefully we can see even more new locations in seasons yet to come.

  6. Hey Sprocketman, thanks again for enjoying the Transformers Prime series. Anyway, designing the look of Cybertron started with a simple concept. Because Cybertron is a metallic planet build by machines, it just made sense to create shapes that are reminiscent of an engine and its parts. So building on that theme generated an approach that I use in all projects and that’s to break down the designs into three degrees. The overall primary shapes, secondary shapes and then the textures that are consistent with the theme. With the engine theme, we have spark plugs, valves and pistons creating cylindrical forms for the primary shapes. The circular gaskets create the secondary shapes that also define the circulation patterns both in plan at the skybridge levels and over the roads. And finally the textures that mimic the larger shapes while avoiding too many rectangular shapes and favoring more diagonal patterns. The concept was clear which is important for the overseas studios to quickly grasp. But like anything, there is never enough time to do as thorough a job as you would like. So some things got lost in translation, but overall I can’t complain.