As you know I was invited to the red carpet premiere of Oz: The Great and Powerful – but did you know that I ALSO got the amazing opportunity to see how Wreck-It Ralph was made? Yes. I was downright GIDDY to saunter into the Walt Disney Animation Studios…
As we walked in we saw something pretty fabulous right there in the lobby that set the tone for the entire experience…
Wreck-It Ralph had taken over the studios! It was so exciting to see it all again – since it’s out on DVD/Blu Ray March 5th it’s a BIG deal. Also – Oscar nominated 🙂
My husband and I took our kids to see it in the theater when it came out. It was SO much fun! My favorite character was totally Vanellope – she’s feisty, stubborn, but has a great heart. She reminded me a lot of my daughter – and not just because she had candy stuck in her hair 🙂
We were led up to the conference area – a big open space complete with a coffee bar and loads of Disneyana. I was given my guest badge and delighted to see – I had been digitized! I now have an 8-bit avatar.
And, since it was Valentine’s Day I was given a special treat – anyone who has seen Wreck-It Ralph will understand this!
We got to look at the officially licensed Wreck-It Ralph merchandise – I wanted it ALL!
There were dolls, games, collectibles, pillows, even party supplies!
After a coffee and danishes we were led to our first stop on the tour – a visit with Raymond Persi, storyboard artist for Wreck-It Ralph and voice of Gene and Zombie in the film.
He walked us through the concept for the film. There were a ton of ideas initially – like the idea of Ralph going to a new game called Easy Living 2 where everything was happy and perfect – “It’s All Good!”. There were several other funny scenes that never made it into the movie. We got to see concept film – basically pencil drawings that were put together along with some dialogue in the voices of the characters. My favorite was a scene where Ralph and Felix meet Vanellope. She has such a mischievous side to her that was brought out in this scene that Felix tries to counteract with his positive outlook – and Ralph just doesn’t know what to make of it all! It was so neat to see how Raymond worked – almost like putting puzzle pieces together. By the way? Wreck-It Ralph took 4 years to complete!
Next on our tour was a meeting with Mike Gabriel and Bill Schwab – the visual talent behind creating Ralph, Vanellope, and the rest of the cast of characters. Bill and Mike walked us through the process of creating Ralph – from the first sketch to the final character we all know and love today. The entire process took about 2 years from start to finish. There were a TON of ideas – at one point Ralph was even a gopher! And there were so many little details that were fine-tuned, like the way his shirt laid and the size of the buttons. One thing remained constant though – from the start the one-shouldered overalls seemed right.
Just a few of the MANY concepts of Ralph!
From there I learned about rigging – which is a fancy word for giving the character motion. Here the rigging supervisor of Wreck-It Ralph John Kahwaty showed us how to give 3D models some character and personality by doing some basic animation – facial features, expressions and body movements. There’s SO MUCH you can do with a character! I had a lot of fun playing around with Ralph! Here’s my (feeble) attempt at giving Ralph some life using state of the art software (I really shouldn’t be allowed to lol!)
Motion Capture Stage
We then headed over to the Motion Capture Stage where Evan Goldberg and his team demonstrated motion capture – pretty amazing (you can read about that in my post here!) I even got to use the motion capture camera!
Amy Smead in Animation showed us that the work was just beginning. She along with 60 other animators worked on Wreck-It Ralph. A small 10 second clip can take 2 weeks or more just to animate! She really gets into her work – many times animators will film themselves “acting out” the characters they are animating to get things like breathing motions, facial ticks, even something a slight as the way a hand is moved or a finger is bent – if it doesn’t look perfect it can just ruin the whole scene. There’s so much work involved in just one short bit!
*sidenote – Amy’s cubicle/office is built to look like a little cottage house. I wish I had snapped a picture!
Lastly we were shown how digital copy works with Anthony Mutalipassi and Nicole Elmes. I love the idea of not having any DVD’s to scratch or lose! Plus you can view the movie on any device using iTunes – computer, laptop, tablet, phone, or if you have a digital feed on your TV you can access it there too! Plus Digital Copy has all of the great extras that DVD’s do – bonus features, games, and more!
I had an amazing time at the Walt Disney Animation Studios! It was a real treat to see all of that technology – 4 years of work went into making Wreck-It Ralph (and the time was well spent!)
Official release date – March 5th, 2013
Disney provided me with an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the red carpet premiere of Oz: the Great and Powerful and to attend a Wreck-It Ralph press day at Disney Animation studios. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.