Excitement was at a fever pitch for the premiere of Walt Disney Pictures’ TRON: Legacy on December 17th, and it is thanks in no small part to Daft Punk’s new video, Derezzed. The first track off the French electronic artists’s TRON: Legacy soundtrack, Derezzed features the retro blinglight cycles, black-and-neon grids, gladiator games of 1982’s TRON classic brought to life by modern-day VFX accoutrements. The Mill NY team worked closely with Partizan’s Warren Fu to create the hypnotic landscape.
‘We are all big Daft Punk fans and fans of the original TRON, so the project was a must!’ says Rob Petrie, our Lead CG Artist. ‘We had a lot to accomplish in a small window of time – 63 shots within four weeks.’
Working closely with Warren Fu, the Mill team set about creating a look that pre-empted the original film: meaning CG circa 1979. ‘With CG today we have all the latest technology at our disposal, something which was not the case when the original TRON was being made,’ Petrie explains. ‘So we took an almost simplistic approach when it came to the rendering and lighting of the CG elements and kept referencing back to the original movie to keep a retro feel throughout.’
The video was shot over one day in L.A. on green screen. A mechanical horse was shot on gimbal. And Olivia Wilde, who stars as Quorra in TRON: Legacy, was on hand for her cameo.
All composition was done in Nuke, a popular tool for handling CG in feature films. ‘Because of the volume of shots, the Nuke pipeline was very appropriate,’ explains Andrew Proctor, Lead Nuke Artist on the promo. Co-Heads of CG Ben Smith and Yann Mabille, who VFX Supervised the project, add, ‘We had up to 10 people working on shots simultaneously, so we could see many shot iterations fast. We had a great team jumping on shots and blasting them out for review.’
That team rolled up their sleeves and spent a week getting rid of green screen and compositing new backgrounds into the shots. Petrie notes, ‘We decided to create certain shots in full CG to help make the edit – the offline was done in-house – as dynamic as possible, and really build tension leading in to the final impact of the joust.’
“Derezzed was a huge team effort,’ say Smith and Mabille. ‘Warren was amazing to work with as both director and designer. He practically lived at The Mill for three weeks, and did a lot of 2D elements himself. He was formerly Lead Concept Designer at ILM so he was very hands-on and really understood the process. We couldn’st be happier to have been involved!’