Computable Minds -

TRON - The beginning of the computer graphics in the movies

Posted on: Dec, 10th 2010
Tron cover of 1982
The next week is the world release of TRON Legacy the adaptation of the old TRON, a cult film of the science fiction that launched Disney in July of 1982, being the first movie in the world that used animated computer graphics in a intensive way, in a epoch where begins to appear the first personal computers.

Some prior movies as Star Trek were made a sporadic use of the computer in some frame, but in Tron was generated by computer totally 15 minutes of the movie and was used in a lot of scenarios of the rest of it. It was a great achievement for that epoch, because the computers didn't had a lot of performance. The computers even couldn't play the frames as a movie, after spend several hours generating every one. Also, the 3D animation software was in diapers, making the task more difficult.

After, over the generated image, the actors was overlapped using a technique called backlit that consist in project a light behind of the film of de movie to created something seemed to a neon effect. For that, as Matrix, Tron was a milestone in the world of the special effects.

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In the project, worked four different enterprises of computer graphics: Information International Inc. (Triple-I), Robert Abel & Associates, Mathematic Applications Group Inc. (MAGI) and Digital Effects. Every one did a different kind of graphics. MAGI generated basic geometrical forms with a technique developed by them called Raytracing, that don't use polygons and today is very used. Triple-I did polygonal scenarios that they draw by hand in a computer using a graphical tablet (Disney hire them when they show this technique in the SIGGRAPH of 1981). All of them used software and hardware different and incompatible, so the results did must be mounted superimposing layers.

The movie wasn't Oscar nominee by the best special effects claiming that use the computer was make trickery, an argument that today we can hear too. In my opinion without doubt it would deserve the Oscar, because use a computer, don't guarantees do something good, if you don't know use it in a creative way.

Tron didn't have a lot of success, by one hand because was released together with Blade Runner and ET and on the other hand, because was an argument advanced for its epoch. Was the epoch where the people began to play to the first videogame in the arcades. Due to that, imagine that a ray disintegrate and reconstruct you inside a virtual world, wasn't easy for the majority of people of the moment.

If we simulate every atom of our body in a virtual world, the virtual being that we have created Will be like us? Will can do more things than us or less? Is the mind computable? Will you to see Tron Legacy? I'll do, although will not be the same compared to the original.

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