Tron: Legacy - Portal Island (2007)

As mentioned before, I joined the Tron art department later on in pre-production, so much of my work on the movie consisted of "look and feel" illustrations and keyframes to inform the visual effects department, and detail passes on Production Designer extraordinaire Darren Gilford's sketch-up models. An incredible and accomplished concept designer in his own right, Darren developed amazing block models for many of the sets and vehicles in the movie and passed them on to us to develop further so that he could focus on the big picture. The Portal Island from the climax of the movie was one of those that I got to really sink my teeth into. Initially the script called for the island to "unfold" from a simple form as our heroes approach it. Darren had blocked out the Portal in its final state, assigning me to refine the concept and develop the transformation. Unfortunately for whatever reason the "unfolding" idea was eventually dropped from the movie, but lead to functional design.

The final style guide used by VFX to create the portal. Painted in Photoshop over PD Darren Gilford's Sketchup model. The slate-like stone in the "wings" would have been cut from the levitating rock of the monoliths floating over the Sea of Simulation.

The final style guide used by VFX to create the portal. Painted in Photoshop over PD Darren Gilford's Sketchup model. The slate-like stone in the "wings" would have been cut from the levitating rock of the monoliths floating over the Sea of Simulation.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Photoshop paintover of the portal. Because of my handiness with light, reflections and surface indication, VFX Art Director Ben Proctor nicknamed me  "the human ray-tracer." I can live with that!

Photoshop paintover of the portal. Because of my handiness with light, reflections and surface indication, VFX Art Director Ben Proctor nicknamed me "the human ray-tracer." I can live with that!

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Another view of the Portal. Photoshop paintover.

Another view of the Portal. Photoshop paintover.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

View of the Portal Entrance. Lightjet design by Daniel Simon.

View of the Portal Entrance. Lightjet design by Daniel Simon.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

View of the entrance tunnel leading to the Portal. Never seen in the movie, but I liked the drama of this view.

View of the entrance tunnel leading to the Portal. Never seen in the movie, but I liked the drama of this view.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Underlay image of Darren Gilford's Sketchup model.

Style guide layout for the runway.

Style guide layout for the runway.

A portal transformation test in 3DS Max using Morph targets to simulate what would be a more mechanical transformation on the wings.

Top view of the transformation test showing the final iconic shape.

The final shape I thought could have made an interesting symbol for the Isos, foreshadowing the location of the climactic scene. It would have been cool to see this icon throughout the movie, then to reveal it as the portal before it opens

The final shape I thought could have made an interesting symbol for the Isos, foreshadowing the location of the climactic scene. It would have been cool to see this icon throughout the movie, then to reveal it as the portal before it opens

Raw 3DS render of the portal in folded configuration, but by this time the idea had been cut and I didn't pursue it further.

Raw 3DS render of the portal in folded configuration, but by this time the idea had been cut and I didn't pursue it further.