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Friday, January 07, 2011

TRON movie and Jeff Bridges' faces? (SPOILERS)

(I suspect a lot of people that wanted to see the movie already have, but for those that haven't and don't like spoilers this is your second "Turn Around" marker)

Okay, while there were things I liked about the movie as a whole the Tron tech, vehicles and the overall aesthetic sensibilities that are the core of what TRON is about in terms of describing life inside of a machine for man was updated with justice for the most part I thought  There was one thing that was just major thorn in my side watching the movie, what was up with the Jeff Bridges digital double?  I knew when I saw some behind the scenes snippets on TV and he had old school markers on his face instead of using the Mova method it was going to look bad, but I didn't think it was going to look that terrible.  Even though a lot of ImageMovers work looked a little suspect while they were still operating I still feel like had Disney not shut them down they would have done an exponentially better job on the performance capture work for this film given the opportunity.

With the face capture work as it is knowing they were using markers I didn't realize that they would just "Put it out front" as much as they did.  I guess I figured that maybe the decision to go the fast cheap way with the markers for face capture was because they weren't going to use it much or maybe they were using it to animate an imperfect villain copy of the main character within the machine which could have been interesting, but Disney used the face marker capture material far too much knowing that it looked bad and I guess that's almost the most disturbing thing at least that's what has me posting about it.  It wouldn't have be bad if there just wasn't another way to do it, but there is and several better methods are in use regularly so you have to chalk it up to Disney's incompetence and/or poor taste.  The most disturbing thing for me is looking at Disney, in this industry, at the precipice of the performance capture era owning the first studio to pioneer this method and having seen the success of Avatar and Gollum in LOTR and Kong in King Kong they still shutdown ImageMovers Digital and then did a movie with A LOT of really bad performance capture work.     

After seeing the story I thought it would have been cool to use Mova captured face anim. for the real world young version of Jeff Bridges and the markers for the character "Clue."  Even if that didn't look great, considering direct Human to Human CG will almost always encounter the a large fail in the uncanny valley it would have looked a LOT better and it would have visually carried a lot more weight on the story end. 

From the story standpoint I really liked the idea of TRON being a separate entity, being evil and still being kick ass.  I was hoping they would bring back the original helmet at the end just for nostalgic purposes, but it seemed irritating that they chose not to show TRON's face at the end.  (I guess in my mind I was like, "Oh and now at end of the journey you just discovered that the the face capture stuff looks like shyte and you embarrassed? WTH?"     

I don't want to sound completely negative, because like I said there were some really nice things in the movie that helped it out considerably.