the vfx show #114: Tron: Legacy

Mike Seymour, Matt Wallin and Ian Failes discuss head replacements and light cycles in Tron: Legacy.

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Mat Graham and Todd Scholton story related to ‘Tron: Legacy’
Legacy, Face off

Show Notes:

Director Joseph Kosinski
Cinematographer Claudio Miranda
VFX Supervisors and Visual Effects Companies:
Eric Barba — Digital Domain
Christian Beckman — Quantum Creation FX (VFX Suits)
Aaron Weintraub — Mr. X
Chris Harvey — Prime Focus (Freight train sequence)
Charlie Iturriaga — Ollin Studio

Tron (1982)
The Black Hole (1979)
The Genesis Sequence – youtube Making of video
The Wrath of Khan (1982)
Set Pieces: The Look of ‘Tron: Legacy’
Olivia Wilde
The Social Network
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Joseph Kosinski’s Personal Website
‘Creating Tron: Legacy Lightsuits’ – Popular Mechanics Article
Cillian Murphy
Sony F35 Stereo Rig
Codex Digital
Mr. X
Prime Focus
Quantum Creation FX
Digital Domain
Mark Miller

7 thoughts on “the vfx show #114: <em>Tron: Legacy</em>”

  1. Gotta say – listening to podcast. Can’t disagree more on the face replacement on TRON. I didn’t buy it once. The mouth never looked right. And the excuse of “we all know what Jeff Bridges looks like” is a total cop out. The facial animation, mouth movement and eye movement didn’t come close to Button or Avatar. I think DD bit off more then they could chew and the facial work didn’t make it. I don’t think a director like Fincher or Cameron would have said that it was good enough. And every non VFX person I have spoken to agree. It was ambitious yes – but successful, no. Matt should have stuck to his guns – it was stiff and didn’t look natural. And if “he was a computer” than all the other characters should have looked the same way. Finally just because it was hard and “so close” doesn’t let it off the hook to it not being natural or realistic. The volume of work, look – all of it was insane and amazing. Just wanted the face to work so bad and was so bummed when it didn’t work.

  2. It’s really interesting. I think the face replacement was fairly successful, at least in terms of the comp. But I can’t help but feel that facial capture from an older person, and re-targetting it for a younger character is not ideal. The performance felt a little restricted, and whilst that may be a technical constraint, I just don’t think the musculature of the two faces were quite in balance.

  3. +.75 about face replace. The first shot with bad lip synch blew it out of the water for me. It’s no wonder they obscured almost all of those father and son shots.
    Young Jeff B seemed to have waaaaay to much botox in his top lip! and the eyes lacked the finesse that Avatar had (extra animators?). Is it just me or did the skin render in CLU look the same in every shot? Did this have a full SSS render or some photo montage solution as in Facebook movie?

    I sat in awe of the art direction though, that was Mega-Mead. I’m sure Syd would approve. sort of what I expected Matric to look like, while the extended scenes of Avatar Earth has shown me Blade Runner 2. Speaking of which, didn’t that last scene seem just like the last shot from Blade Runner, driving in the countryside…

  4. Just a quick rebuttal to Mike’s comment about the bikes not doing right angle turns and the laws set up within the original film not being adhered to. I think the reason this doesn’t break with continuity is that computers, more specifically games, have advanced and the limitations of the computer game circa 1982 aren’t in play anymore. You compare something like Pac-Man ( and I realize it was released a few years before the film), where the gameplay happens in perpendicular lines, to something like the Call of Duty franchise, where the lines of gameplay are practically infinite, I think you can make a parallel comparison. The computer world has been evolving, shaped by Clu, since the mid-80s. Clu’s directive was to make it the perfect virtual world, and so, wouldn’t it be presumable that Clu would institute accurate physics within the world? Thus, the bikes now bank, they are also able to make curved lines, and even in the hand-to-hand combat the laws of gravity are utilized. They are able to manipulate the gravity, but it’s still in play.

    Obviously, it’s really geeky to debate the inner workings of a fictitious computer, but I think the central idea behind the whole computer world is that Clu has been shaping it to be the prefect world, and that has to mean he’d implement better physics engines and more advanced AI. I can see wanting an homage to the original film, but I think they actually did than, while at the same time acknowledging that things have advanced.

    Plus, it was just cool to watch.

  5. I thought the head replacement was much more successful when there was an actual set involved(the bar sequence and when Clu breaks into old Flynn’s 2001 house). Perhaps having real-world lighting and values to match to made a difference? Does anyone know if the technique was different in some way on those shots?

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