TRON (1982) Demo

Here's a few "TRON" shots which I'll be incorporating into my new film. Whilst the sequel "TRON Legacy" was all very sweet, I can honestly say I am a bigger fan of the original 1982 version. I believe the original lightcycle scene looked far more "dangerous" to the riders with all those lightning quick right-angled turns. can't wait to get my actors into these machines :)



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator


  • Extremely well done. I would remove the circuit board backgrounds though - I don't think they were in the movie.

    Also the light cycles should be leaving a trail that matches their color.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @DannyDev is incorrect about the circut board (scene attached for reference), but correct in the walls matching color of the light cycles. Danny, you'll see in the original movie the walls are duller and purple  but we'll let Paul have artistic license - or we'd have to grump about glows and lens dirt. ;)

    How are you doing the walls, Paul? Particle sim attached to the bikes or are you actually building it with planes and scaling/masking as they draw? Some other method? 

  • Hey guys.....thanks for the input! Yeah.....just slight little "artistic license" being applied here. The light cycle walls I even made a little transparent, and at one point I attached a "flicker" to them. I'm still blocking the scene, so colors etc I'm still tinkering with :). I'm thinking that half the people that end up seeing my little film wouldn't remember the first TRON film anyway, so I'm doing little personal tweaks...hehe.

    As for the walls Triem..........yes, just planes at the moment.......but am wanting to see if I can do something else. If it's easier (and possible) with particles I would prefer to do that.

    And damn...just love those lightcycle models :)

  •  Oh, I should point movie is not a recreation of TRON, it's just gonna incorporate sequences of the lightcycle scene from it. An homage if you will. It will also have homages to Star Wars, Titanic, Flashdance etc :)

  • This looks really good! It seems to me that you could set up a procedural method of creating the lightcycle walls using the particle sim. Axel did this tutorial on creating ribbons in HitFilm 2 Ultimate about six years ago...

    I think this could be tweaked to create the result you are looking for.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited April 2019

    Someone else did a Tron (Legacy) Wall test with the particle sim. I did an enhancement (original creator was aiming for curves - all I did was up the comp to 60 fps for more temporal resolution). I may still have the file, so, if I find it, I'll Dropbox it and people can tear it apart. 

  • Hey thanks heaps guys!!!! I have a day off tomorrow....gonna study these and do some tests, Truly appreciated!! :)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei good pull! I

  • @WedgeOz While I had a few minutes this morning, I put together this very rough test video. This uses the Particle Sim and a Light Cycle Model parented to a Master Control Point. They were pretty easy to put together. I think the first one (2D) looks better because I was able to drop an effect on the wall to make it look more solid. The second one I had to beef up the Particle per Second, but that will probably break down the closer the camera gets to the wall. You may have to use planes for up close shots.

    @Triem23 The problem with keeping the 2D Particle Sims is relative occlusion between the two light cycles and the two walls. In order to keep the sims 2D, maybe I could render pass each of these using a blacked out version of the other cycle and wall (similar to what you taught me on how to create an engine light glow on a spaceship model) to create the appearance of occlusion? Then bring it all together into a Final Comp in order to pull it all together?

  •  @Triem23

    There are no circuit boards in that clip, just simple geometric patterns.

  • Alright everyone, clear the floor! @Triem23 vs @DannyDev


    FIGHT! :)

  • edited April 2019

    My VFX has changed

    No circuit boards

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator
    edited April 2019

    @FilmSensei wrong movie.

    @DannyDev @GrayMotion I concede. @WedgeOz the circut boards are cooler :-p

    Greg it gets crazier when you realize only the Light Cycles, Recognizers, Tanks, Solar Sailer, Bit, MCP and digitization tunnel were CG.

    Everything else in the costumes and sets was hand animated backlight work. And roto. Lots of roto. The 20th anniversary DVD has a great interview that brings the roto into perspective. We have mocha. Woot!

    That GIF? Ok, the costume circuts are a hand-roto back-lit layer, the costume is a different roto from the face, the eyes are a separate roto. So is the disc glow and interactive lighting. All optically composted! Man, we have better tools now! 

  • I had to get some work done this morning. After I finished my real work, I went back into this project and rescaled the cycles, added edge walls (sorry, no circuit boards - maybe @Triem23 or @DannyDev could write up a way to create those procedurally... I know, I know, it's called don't be lazy and find a good image!), threw in motion blur, and put some camera animations in just for fun. Check it out!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei looking giid. 

    Procedural circuit boards.... I used to have a Photoshop trick for that... How the heck did I used to do that? 

  • Haha....all great stuff guys! Gonna have fun tinkering with this today. As for the "circuit board" backgrounds, yes, I took my own personal liberties here. As I mentioned before, I'm not duplicating TRON, but making a TRON inspired scene for my next film. The circuit boards look nicer and brighter I think...and when I finish the light trails from the cycles, I'll make them slightly transparent and "shimmer" (which is also different from the film).

    By the your work Film Sensei! Gonna try and dabble with that today! However, I will say that I'm not going to insert "motion blur" as I don't think they had that in the original film. So as you can tell, I'm taking bits and pieces from the old and the new together :)

  • @WedgeOz If you are going to play with the Particle Sim, here are a couple of tips...

    I created a 3D point that I attached the particle sim and the model to. In the particle sim, I turned off illumination. Under appearance, I used the built-in texture Drizzle. I checked on the billboard but I checked off the align to motion and intersect layers. Of course, speed needs to be set to 0 and life to 60 seconds. You will need to adjust the scale and particles per second to fit you light cycle models. You may want to rescale the models as well. I did!

    All you have to do is keyframe the 3D point to animate however it is going to go. You will want to change the spatial interpolation to linear to get those perfect corners. When the point goes in a different direction, rotate the point so the model rotates also. I used constant keyframes to do this. In the first video, I didn't use 3D Unrolled, but I left the particle sim as a 2D layer. That way I could add an effect. The effect I added was Crushed Blacks & Whites Alpha, and I changed the Opaque property to .01. This just helped to solidify the light cycle wall. The problem with that is when I added the second light cycle wall, I couldn't get the occlusion right. I have some ideas on how to make that happen, though. I will have to spend some time on it.

    Have fun and good luck! If you have any questions or want to swap project files, let me know. I would be happy to provide them for you.

  • Thanks heaps for that! Admittedly, for much of my sequence, I'll be doing close ups (as I want to incorporate actors into the bikes), so like you said before, I'll probably be using planes for that. But definitely for the long shots use the Particle Sim! Appreciate all the help.....and stay tuned :)

  • edited April 2019

    This was an early test using planes (very painstaking). I'm going to try and capture the manic speed and danger of those harsh right angled turns (and as you can see, I love moving the camera around) :). Once I have blocked my scene completely, and do some storyboards etc, I'll know exactly how each shot will look.

    Oh yes....I'm going to make my light trails a different color to the bikes...….just like to differentiate them more  :)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @FilmSensei @WedgeOZ I haven't finished my testing yet, but, here's some observations regarding the particle sim in general.

    A particle sim can have as many emitters as you wish to add.

    A particle emitter can have as many particle systems as you need to add.

    Everything in a particle sim layer is, well, in the same layer, so any particles in the layer self-occlude.

    3D models can be used as particle textures.

    From this, we can extrapolate that two cycles and their walls can be controlled inside the same particle sim, and everything will occlude correctly.

    The trick is how would we connect a lightcycle model to a point and have it move inside the particle sim. We COULD (Paul this might be new to you), animate the lightcycle outside the sim. Since particles in a sim inherit animation from the source model layer a particle cycle would move as animated. However, this becomes a little tricky because we'd have to link a point to the animated cycle and use that for the wall.

    Incidentally, cranking up Attachment to Emitter to 100% then dragging the cycle animation point around doesn't drag the spawned particle with the point. Too bad, I thought that's how Attachment to Emitter was supposed to work, but it doesn't do that as far back as hitfilm 2017.

    What I'm trying at the moment is creating an emitter that spawns a single model particle that only lasts for a single frame (0.05 sec) and spawning one particle per frame. This is working as expected - a particle spawns then dies on the next frame, so the next frame has an appearance of motion. The issue is, since the individual particles aren't moving I don't think I'll get motion blur.

    Jay, there are other ways to approach the occlusion issue, but I'm still on this avenue to see how it works out.

    Ok, I was kinda typing up this thread as I experimented. This is almost a live-tweet.

    What I've done is figure out a method that doesn't work. The model particles I'm spawning aren't reacting to rotation and orientation of the emitter's point. This feels like incorrect behavior to me - I would assume a particle emitter attached to a point would follow the rotation of that point, which would affect trajectory?

    I've tried different emitter types (like a 1x1x1 sphere) using a cone trajectory with 0 radius and emitter attachment cranked up to 100%, but it's still not following the rotation of the point.

    So it's looking like one might have to animate the model (parent a point to the model for the wall emitter), then generate a single model particle, allowing the model particle to animate according to its source layer and grabbing the second point to drop the walls. SHould still be able to combine both walls and cycles into a single particle layer.

  • Love a bit of Tron.... Engage!

  • Love it! Also love this forum and you peoples on here who are so helpful. It's great to see friendly people helping people sharpen their craft.


  • all the suggestions, advice and help on this. Gonna do more experimenting this weekend!

  • Don't forget the vertical lines in the ribbon to help with the sense of speed. How you'd do it: I have no idea. :)

  • Haha.....yes Palacono, was only looking at that myself again tonight. Love the challenge :)

  • @Palacono What do you mean by "vertical lines in the ribbon?"

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

     @FilmSensei if you look at the original light cycle scene there are vertical striations that are supposed to run up the cycle's walls at it crosses grid lines. 

    If half the shots they are mis-aligned. Ooops.

  • @Triem23 Ah! I think you could add a duplicate Particle Sim, decrease the Particles per Second to match the grid lines, and simply change the color. It would take some work, but you would probably also have to keyframe the PPS to match the gridlines, especially if the Light Cycle changes speed.

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