Tron Wiki
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Real World perspective.

An example of what backlit animation looks like. A matte with a cutout of the circuitry is made and placed underneath a light source with a blue color gel shining through. This is shot onto film and matted with the other elements such as the face, the body, the background and other special effects. The brightness of the light can be increased and can be used to convey emotion.

Backlit animation is an animation process used to create animation with light. By shooting animation mattes with light shining through them, filmmakers can create special effects that have a characteristic "glow" effect to them. This animation process was used extensively in TRON for the glowing circuitry on the bodies of the programs as well as the majority of the effects animation (i.e. sparks, lights on walls, background animation).

Backlit animation was pushed to its limits in TRON and made the animation for the movie very laborious.