Part 2 of this discussion can be found at CLU and Young Jeff Bridges CGI in Tron Legacy: Another Look
– Updated: March 23rd, 2010
I’ve since read else where that a 3d scan of a current Jeff Bridges was done in Canada and that they were using this as a base to make the younger CLU. Also, if you look at MTV’s director’s commentary on the Tron trailer, you’ll see him mention that the Young Jeff Bridges they were referencing was around the time of his movie “Against All Odds”. So the CGI CLU will look a little older than Jeff Bridges did in the original Tron. –
Ok, one of the most hyped up 3d movie releases coming this year is the new Tron Legacy. If you have seen the trailer, then you will know that there appears to be a Young CGI Jeff Bridges in the movie. I don’t remember much about the original Tron movie, but this new one looks cool. Some industry blogs are actually predicting that it will have better and more impressive 3d than James Cameron’s Avatar. This is not to be unexpected, because they have had many years to fine tune the tech and work pipelines that go in to making a 3d movie. Avatar is basically when they invented it all. So, if Tron is a better 3d movie, we can still thank Mr. Cameron for that.
Now getting back on to the topic at hand, in the original teaser trailer that appeared for Tron Legacy, Jeff Bridges as CLU did appear, but from what I read this was an effects test/trailer. I am actually going to break down what techniques I think were used for the CGI Jeff Bridges in both of these trailers, because to me they appear to be very different versions of CLU. Take a look at both the pics below. They are screen grabs of the CGI Jeff Bridges in the first and second trailer for the film.
The newer effect, which is on the left, appears in Trailer 2. This looks like it was a life cast of Jeff Bridges face from around the time of the original Tron that was laser scanned into a 3d digital model. If you notice the animation in the trailer, it is very fined tuned with little nuances. The eye muscle area is done extremely well. I am guessing that they used the Avatar and Curious Case Of Benjamin Button facial animation techniques to achieve this realistic human head. This is the standard now for digital humans, we’ll be seeing alot more of them in the future as they are closing the gap between real people and CGI looking people. While this is my theory on how this was achieved, I don’t think they used the same airbrushing techniques they used at the end of Benjamin Button to show the younger looking Brad Pitt. If it is, then they did a damn good job with it.
The older effect, on the right is clearly a CGI model. It looks like a current Jeff Bridges was cyber scanned by a 3d scanner then edited in a program like Zbrush to quickly remove the wrinkles and any signs of aging they could. The reason why I think this is, is because the overall face appears to be more puffy looking as opposed to a young lean person. You’ll also notice that the picture of Jeff Bridges on the right has a slightly larger nose, as we age, our noses grow. To me this is a sign that they quickly used a model of a current Jeff Bridges that was altered to “look younger”. The version from this trailer was just an effects test, so the idea of them using older techniques to get a greenlight from a studio isn’t so far fetched.
This is just my theory on how each of these effects were achieved. The movie looks cool and will probably push 3d to its limits and we get a CGI Jeff Bridges as well as an Oscar winning Jeff Bridges.