The Making of Tron
December 11, 2008 9:37 PM Subscribe
posted by SpacemanStix (11 comments total)
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Although the movie Tron was groundbreaking due to its unprecedented and extensive use of CGI in 1982, after pre-production, it only took four months to shoot and nine months to complete all of the special effects. From Computer Animation Primer published in 1984
, we learn a bit about the technical process, which seems amusingly tedious by today's animation standards.
For example: "The process of making TRON required artist-designers to interact with programmer-technicians, and this presented some interesting problems. The TRON atists were at Disney studios in Los Angeles, and the programmers were at Mathematics Applications Group, Inc. (MAGI) in New York.... Modems were used to send low-resolution motion tests to the director at Disney before committing the images to film. For example, after MAGI received the storyboards for the vehicular animation from Disney, they took these crude images and plotted them in three views using combinatorial geometry on a 40 x 60 inch Talos digitizing table. They then made flowcharts of the speed and tables of the moving objects for the camera path. The results then went back to Disney for corrections in pacing, staging, and animation."
Here's an interesting background look at the development of the movie, from inception to conclusion, and including a postmortem
: "Science fiction films that are heavily visual are often a tough sell. When George Lucas tried to set up Star Wars, he had a hard time drumming up any interest because it was completely unintelligible in treatment form. The Wachowski Brothers reportedly had to create extensive graphic novel style storyboards for The Matrix before Warner Brothers really got it. When Lisberger and company went out to sell Tron, they were ready. 'We had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in the project when we went to Disney,' he said. 'We had it storyboarded, we had designs, we had budgets, we had staff, we had schedules, we had sample reels - I mean, we had everything but money.'"
If this makes you feel at all nostalgic, perhaps you'll enjoy being reintroduced to some of the merchandising that came out at the time, including the motion picture soundtrack on cassette, collecting cards, and the Intellivision videogame
And just for fun, here's a fan re-making of the Tron light cycle scene using cardboard