View Full Version : FXWars! TRON TRIBUTE !: Dirk Bialluch, Rez FX

Dirk Bialluch
05 May 2010, 04:37 PM
Hi there,

I have been watching this challenge for some time now and have seen a lot of impressive renderings and animations. I was not sure if I could manage to enter this challenge due to time restrictions since I had to come up with a technical solution to create the Tron Rez effect I had in mind.

Actually, this entry is an offshoot of Kay's contribution ( I have been working with Marco Windrich on a slightly modified version of our lightcycle model, that supports the effect and has additional mechanical components beneath the chassis.

In addition this entry is an appreciation of the technical achievements made by Ken Perlin for the original Tron movie. I guess everyone working in the field of computer graphics has used randomization functions based on the Perlin noise algorithm. All procedural motion effects done in this entry are randomized using a custom Perlin noise class.

That's how things currently look in Maya:

A test rendering applying the effect to the chassis:

A test rendering of the procedural mesh assembly effects:

I hope Kay will have time to finilize the shading as the challenge draws to an end ;)

Cheers and good luck to everyone,

Final Version


Our movie shows the Tron rez/derez effect of a lightcycle. The lightcycle has been split into 34 individual parts. We used custom software programmed in C++ with Maya's API to dissolve the mesh into polygons and create wire geometry at edges/vertices. The polygons are animated using UVN space animation curves. In addition to translation, rotation and scale we can also control extrusion and shading on a per polygon basis. Using a spatial control, we "move" the effect through each mesh.

Team Members

VFX, Animation, Shading, Compositing, Programming, SFX, Music: Dirk Bialluch
Modeling: Marco Windrich
Textures: Kay Poprawe


Maya, Fusion, MR, Visual Studio, Fruity Studio

Custom Software Development

Poly Transform, Poly Wire, MR Panorama & Material Shader, Procedural Object Placement


See last posting.


05 May 2010, 05:06 PM
Killer Stuff man! You guys over at Lightstorm got some serious Talent!

My feedback would be to play around more with variety and pacing. Having larger, structural defining elements slam down first, then have the smaller plating over it.

Adding layers of motion, offse and size difference will make the piece really come together and provide more visual interest.

Keep it up!

Dirk Bialluch
05 May 2010, 10:40 PM
Hey Kiel,

Thanks for the feedback. You are absolutely right about the uniformity of the effect. I noticed this once I started applying it to the lightcycle model. I was hoping to create a little more variety by modifying the effect for each of the 6 layers that will be used to construct the final model, with the chassis being almost the last one.

Initially I had planned to add more movement controls to the mesh dissolve node such as support of multiple input meshes, to be able to move individual parts around while the lightcycle is being assembled. Being able to influence the motion based on element size is a nice idea and moving larger things around more slowly would give things some "weight". I'll have to check how interactive performance in Maya is affected by size computations.

Next I wanted to put all lightcycle elements into the scene, make a rough timing and find an interesting build order. I hope to have a little time over the weekend to add more motion and timing controls to the dissolve node. Being able to randomize the wire effect to some degree would also be handy. I have to be careful about the amount of time I can spend to programm new features, due to the deadline closing in.

Kiel, I have been watching the animations you postet here and a huge chunk of the stuff you show on your website. Overall really great work man and a noticeable passion for computer graphics. Keep it up! :)


05 May 2010, 06:37 PM
This entry is awesome!!!
I was thinking about how to do this very effect, and decided upon detaching each polygon and animating it by hand. Your approach is much more efficient :)

It's cool to read about your process as well! Keep it up man!

Dirk Bialluch
06 June 2010, 03:51 PM
Long time no post, but we have been busy refining the effect. The lightcycle is now build from 34 individual parts. The polygon tools were extended to support face extrusion. This helps to add some volume to polys floating around in space and make their motion more visible. We iteratively modified the lightcycle model to keep the poly count as low as possible and at the same time make the effect interesting. We also added more geometry to build several layers on top of each other.

I am not sure if I'll have the time for another version. There are a few things I'd still like to add.

The latest animation:


Thanks :) Moving the polygons by hand would have been a tremendous amount of work. Even with this API plug-in things have become very slow. In the current version we move about 3 million polygons around and animating procedural parameters was a pain in the neck due to several seconds of recomputation time.


06 June 2010, 04:48 AM
This animation is really good! There's a lot of detail in the effect.
My only input would be to add more light on the bike - it looks like a sweet model!

Dirk Bialluch
06 June 2010, 04:24 PM
I'll have a look at the light setup. Some parts of the model are completly in shadow and non reflective. Initially, I wanted to use indirect lighting due to all that self illuminated geometry, but in the end I could not afford it because of render times (have just a single quad system here to do all the rendering). The thin wireframe lines require very high subsampling settings. I did not take that into account when planning the project. I hope to be able to do one last rendering till deadline. In retrospect it would have been much more efficient to output the wire geoemtry as hair curves and write a simple Mental Ray geometry shader to render it, but that was completely out of scope for this project.

Dirk Bialluch
06 June 2010, 01:10 AM
Not much time left, so may be this is the final version.

This is a complete compositing, including title and credits. I spend the last week to create the sound effects and come up with a credits tune.


Dirk Bialluch
06 June 2010, 03:54 PM
I took the last two days to add a very simple derez effect using the existing setup. Parameters have been modified to move the polygon pieces around a little less structured by using pure randomization, which hopefully helps to make the effect appear to be a little more aggressiv.

I also added new sound effects and did final adjustments to the sound mix.

Final Images



Final Movie (Resolution: 800x450, Codec: Foto JPG)


06 June 2010, 05:59 PM
Wow! Really solid work you got there. The de-rez and audio are killer.

Congrats on your entry!

06 June 2010, 01:01 PM
First I would like to thanks you for joining our last FXWars challenge.

I would love to hear your opinion and ideas for the future...

Roberto's Bullhorn: Tron Tribute Postmortem: LETíS TALK (

Thanks again for all your effort,

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