Motion Design: Tron Legacy Opening Titles

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I remember the hype behind Tron Legacy, there was so much anticipation and excitement for the sequel of the classic Tron. The movie was good, I really like it but of course I am biased because I was amazed by the visual effects. The opening titles had this incredible motion design work of the grid that becomes a city all with the neon style. It was and still is incredible. I always wondered the team behind that motion design work and today for my surprise I saw this post on Behance shared by Bradley G Munkowitz giving a lot of details. I had to share it here with you. 

Motion Design 

Opening titles overview

The GFX team was deep in production on the epic Solar Sailor sequence when Joseph Kosinski awarded them the Opening Titles, enabling the opportunity of a lifetime coupled with a steady stream of intensely late evenings... 

Joseph communicated the motivation of the opening titles as evoking the sensations of the original light bike battle while slowly evolving the iconic light-walls into more complex patterns in all dimensions, ultimately revealing a city wireframe that transitioned seamlessly to the Vancouver BC skyline... 

Design Process

The creation of the Opening Titles had Munkowitz designing out the line work in Illustrator, then adding Z travel reliefs in Maya, and handing them over to master animator David Lewandowski to flex his Cinema4D muscle, bringing to life each path by hand using the mograph module and rendering using vray... The two exchanged scenes back and forth to ensure a design that adhered to a strict grid framework and a animation motif that perfectly synced to Flynn's voiceover during the sequence.. 

Many iterations of detailing techniques were explored, including a very intriguing 3D grid structure designed by Jake Sargeant in addition to a blanket of data point clouds, but in the end Kosinski kept the design clean and simple for fears that an overly detailed sequence would date easily... 

Architecture 101

Director Joseph Kosinski, with his Architecture degree from Columbia University, entrusted the GFX team ( and mostly Lewandowski ) to design all the graphic buildings from the ground up, having them reference the skyline of Vancouver but mostly innovating and designing from scratch... A terrifying proposition that miraculously came under very few revision cycles... 

Food for thought

Certainly would've been visually intriguing to put the camera at street level looking down the passageway of an emerging city, as the line work and graphic elements would have taken an immensely different aesthetic, mostly for beneficial results... 

Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.

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