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 Just HOW advanced were the original graphics?

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Just HOW advanced were the original graphics?

on Monday, February, 19, 2018 12:20 PM
This is a question that recently occurred to me about the original movie.

Although the effects for the first film look horrendously outdated by today's standards they were however cutting-edge in 1982.However, looking back it is amazing just how quickly computer graphics evolved in such a short time.   

In 1984 they released The Last Starfighter which again used pioneering CG effects.
But here's the thing-in just 2 years they went from being the brightly coloured shapes and textures of Tron to a slightly more detailed and rendered style, with a bit more emphasis of shading and texture.

Then in 1985 they released Young Sherlock Holmes, which featured an imaginative sequence of a stained-glass character coming to life.
And the year after that there was Flight of the Navigator which featured an alien craft with a silver mirrored surface again done with computers.
The point I'm making is this-in just about 4 years after the first film CGI had evolved to a point where effects for films like Flight of the Navigator could be rendered with such a realistic feel, a long way from the basic geometric shapes of the first Tron film.
So the question I ask is this-exactly how much of the artistic creativity of the first film was down to the limitations of computer power in 1982 or was the visual style of the film done deliberately to cash-in on the video games department that they knew the youngsters watching the film would be interested in at the time?

Or to put it another way-if they had waited just a few more years instead of 1982 would the CG effects have improved to a point that the detailing and rendering would create a much deeper, more realistic environment? 


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RE: Just HOW advanced were the original graphics?

on Saturday, February, 24, 2018 3:51 PM
I actually really dig the effects of the original film, especially in how they mirror the era the film was set in. My personal favorite is the end, when the MCP bites it, and the computer world is set alight with energy. It looks like an old album cover, simple yet rather beautiful.

I don't think it was hampered by special effects, it doesn't even look terribly dated to me. It is time in a bubble, matching the world it was presented in. That and the overall narrative was much deeper than grid warriors, imparting our presence within the digital. The foreboding concept of computers beginning to think and humans stopping. It is much more intimate than the plot of Legacy, much deeper in my opinion.

What was sort of more apparent was the cgi in Legacy, and how they tried to press a more realistic face on Bridges than what was capable at the time. That looks glaringly unsettling by today's standards. Rather than work with what they had within the limitations they tried to overshoot it and it shows. CLU almost should've been more visibly distorted to make up for the lack of tech, and kept Flynn in the dark more to avoid breaking that 4th wall. Just an opinion though, I'm fond of Legacy (and the soundtrack is amazing).

Tron, on its own, to me is perfect. It is a reflection of the times, of the wonder and possibilities of digital animation. Would it have been more vibrant a few years down the line? Probably. Does it suffer for it? No, not in my opinion.

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