Part of my last press trip for Disney movies included a press day for “Ralph Breaks The Internet.” We sat through many sessions throughout the day and it was fascinating to hear how so many people came up with so many different concepts and ideas to bring this new Wreck-It Ralph world to life, and not just to life, but to the most believable form of “created internal Internet world” that you could imagine. Read my first preview post here!
Today’s post is broken up into a information from the three sessions we attended to learn about how “Ralph Breaks The Internet” came to the big screen.
First, we spoke about the story download with Josie Trinidad (Head of Story), Jason Hand (Story Artist) and Natalie Nourigat (Story Artist). They explained the unique roles that the story team played not only in developing a new adventure for Ralph and Vanellope, but also in envisioning the ever-evolving world of the internet.
How does it all start? Wreck-It Ralph was hugely successful for Disney and it is not long after the results come in that a studio wants to consider another movie with the same characters. Thirty artists from the story department started trying to come up with ideas. They finally agree to an idea and then the work is divvied up between the writers, the head of story, and the story artists. Can you imagine how many meetings, throughout the day and night, must go into the making of these movies, especially one as intricate as this!
Then we talked abut the Wide World of the Web with Matthias Lechner (Art Director, environments), Larry Wu (Head of Environments) and Ernie Petti (Technical Supervisor). They talked to us about the daunting task of turning the abstract concept of the internet into a complex, thriving metropolis.
Inspiration came from how the physical Internet works. These brilliant folks used the basis of the physical aspects of the Internet, and then added to it creatively. Like I illustrated in my first post, eBay is an auction site, so the physical manifestation of eBay in this movie, is that of an actual auction. This is one of the reasons why watching this movie is such a delight, we get to see the reimagined world behind our computers, as if that world came to life.
So, with that in mind. how would you imagine the deep, dark web is imagined? Yes, just as you guessed, the world underground, the world you reach by going into the sewers, the dark, dirty, underbelly of the Internet city that Ralph and Vanellope had been exploring, except this part of the world is under the streets. Discarded items like your old dial-up system are down there, and then as you go further into this dark world, you find Internet viruses! So be careful!
They shared that the virus area was actually fun to do, and Ernie said that the marriage of art and technology was great fun to work with!
We talked about populating the Internet with Cory Loftis (Production Designer), Dave Komorowski (Head of Characters and Technical Animation), Renato dos Anjos (Head of Animation) and Moe El-Ali (Crowds’ Supervisor), they talked about the process of creating the inhabitants of the internet, from the “Netizens” to the “Net Users:”
The Internet as we know it is so incredibly vast, it was almost mind boggling to hear how these folks worked on populating the characters, and then, they had thousands upon thousands of variations possible with each character:
Ralph himself in the first movie had 223 character possibilities with 421 variants (just as an example of how intricate the process is). Each frame, each hair placement, every aspect is coded this way (this is my simple interpretation). It was explained to us that in this movie, Ralph had 434 character possibilities with 6752 variants. That means there were over 500,000 options for each frame that contained Ralph. I share this info so that you can try to wrap your head around the intricacies required for this animated movie.
Here is an example of just a fraction of the variants for Netizen Knowsmore (I talked about this guy in my first post linked above, he is the search bar!):
I enjoyed the conversation about netizens. They are the Internet workers, when you send an email, this movie illustrates that process by showing a netizen putting the mail on a mail truck. If you order something from Amazon, and then stop to watch a video, this movie shows you the netizen behind the scenes trying to push the sale forward! These guys had to imagine what would happen in a made up computer world to illustrate all the things we do on the computer, from the perspective of a behind the scenes view if the internal Internet were alive and not just coding.
As further illustration, I will share something that did not make it into the film. We all know that some computers are slower than others, some search engines work differently, etc. This was illustrated by showing different sections of the Internet that had their own escalators. For the older, slower models, the escalators moved more slowly. And for the others the escalators ran at a faster speed.
The ideas and thoughts that the Disney folks came up with, to bring the internal workings of the actual Internet we know to life, absolutely blew me away. That is one reason I cannot wait to see the movie in its entirety, I got a peak behind the scenes and got to see the brilliance behind the concepts. Plus we saw some scenes and they are brilliant!
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• When “Wreck-It Ralph” opened on Nov. 2, 2012, it turned in the highest opening weekend ever for a Walt Disney Animation Studios film at the time of release.
• “Wreck-It Ralph” won the PGA Award for outstanding producer of an animated theatrical motion picture as well as five Annie Awards, including best animated feature, director, screenplay and actor. The film was named best animated feature by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, earned outstanding achievement in casting for an animated feature by the Casting Society of America, and won the Kids’ Choice Award for favorite animated movie. The film was also nominated for an Oscar® and Golden Globe® for best animated feature.
• The film re-teams the original director, producer and co-writer behind “Wreck-It Ralph.” The screenplay is written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon.
• Director Rich Moore, producer Clark Spencer, and co-writer Phil Johnston partnered with fellow director Byron Howard and co-writer/co-director Jared Bush to create the Academy Award®-winning blockbuster animated feature “Zootopia.”