TRON (1982)

TRON (1982)


First combination of 3D CGI and live action, first talking and moving cgi character (Bit), first onscreen combination of CGI character and live action character,  first extensive use (15 min.) of  fully computer generated polygonal animation in a movie, first fully CGI backgrounds

Original Poster

Video (HD 1080)

 CGI making of video


1) First extensive use (15 min. fully computer generated) of 3D CGI including the famous Light Cycle sequence. Also includes very early facial animation (for the Master Control Program) (first time facial animation used in Computer Animated Hand (1972).

2) At the time, computers could generate static images, but could not automatically put them into motion. Thus, the coordinates for each image, such as a lightcycle, had to be entered for each individual frame. It took 600 coordinates to get 4 seconds of film. Each of these coordinates was entered into the computer by hand by the filmmakers.

3) TRON is a sci-fi movie produced by Disney and directed by Steven Lisberger, starring Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn.

4) The inspiration for Tron occurred in 1976 when Steven Lisberger, then an animator of drawings with his own studio, looked at a sample reel from a computer firm called MAGI and saw Pong for the first time. He was immediately fascinated by video games and wanted to do a film incorporating them. According to Lisberger, "I realized that there were these techniques that would be very suitable for bringing video games and computer visuals to the screen. And that was the moment that the whole concept flashed across my mind".

5) To create the computer animation sequences of Tron, Disney turned to the four leading computer graphics firms of the day: Information International, Inc. of Culver City, California, who owned the Super Foonly F-1 (the fastest PDP-10 computer ever made and the only one of its kind); MAGI of Elmsford, New York; Robert Abel and Associates of California; and Digital Effects of New York City. Bill Kovacs worked on this movie while working for Robert Abel before going on to found Wavefront Technologies. The work was not a collaboration, resulting in very different styles used by the firms.

5) Presented first fully CGI background - predecessor of virtual studios (Nano-Space (1991).

6) First combination of 2d CGI and live action was in Computer Image Demo (1979).

7) First human and CGI character interaction was in Interface (1985).