WRECK-IT RALPH Concept Art Goes Behind-the-Scenes of the Visual Development Process

     March 9, 2013


With the release of Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph on Blu-ray/DVD, the studio has shared some behind-the-scenes concept art that reveals a look into the visual development process.  The images show early conceptual designs of the title character, Vanellope, the Sugar Rush racers and the virtual worlds of the various games.

Rich Moore’s Wreck-It Ralph features the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Alan Tudyk.  Hit the jump to check out the concept art images.

Check out the Wreck-It Ralph concept art below, followed by an in-depth look into the visual development process:


Meet the visual development artists that helped conceptualize the video game worlds and gaming characters in Wreck-It Ralph. Learn about the research that went into creating the look of this film – from game playing to unexpected trips – and the unique ways these artists found to showcase their ideas. We talk to Mike Gabriel, Art Director; Ian Gooding, Co-Art Director; Lorelay Bove, Visual Development Artist; and Cory Loftis, Visual Development Artist, to bring you the lowdown.


Art Director Mike Gabriel reveals: “Wreck-It Ralph is a completely unique film. I get the feeling it’s one of those movies that a lot of other animation studios are going to see and say, ‘Why didn’t we think of that? Why haven’t we put more than one simple, little world in a movie?’ The way that kids today click around devices and multitask, it’s seems ridiculous to think about trying to give them an hour and a half in one simple world. Why not let them jump into a new world every 20 minutes? That’s what we do with this movie. It’s a different experience for the audience, and it’s exciting.”


Mike Gabriel continues: “There are various different game worlds in Wreck-It Ralph. There is the 8-bit world of Fix-It Felix, Jr.; there is the first-person shooter game, Hero’s Duty; and there’s the candy-kart racer game, Sugar Rush. For each game, we wanted to create a distinct world that’s different to the other worlds, so we put distinct shapes in each one. Niceland [the world of Fix It Felix, Jr.] is based on squares that make it feel very solid and rigid. In Hero’s Duty, we wanted Ralph to be scared, so he gets thrown into this violent world of diagonals with a triangular-shape language. Sugar Rush is cute, benign and childlike, so if you look closely there are circles everywhere.”


Visual Development Artist Cory Loftis adds: “Before I moved to Disney, I worked at a video game company. Whenever they were trying to figure out what type of video game they were going to make next, everyone would sit around and discuss ideas. They would say, ‘We want vampires. We want a Tyrannosaurus Rex. We want a magical bear in a top hat. We want soldiers. We want princesses.’ They wanted all of these random things, but I remember asking what they all have in common? One guy said, ‘They are all awesome. That’s what they have in common.’ I think that’s very true for this movie, too. There’s such a great variety, but the unifying thread is the fact that all of the worlds and characters are awesome.” 


Co-Art Director Ian Gooding explains: “Fix-It Felix, Jr. is an 8-bit world from the 1980s, and at first I thought it would be simple to create, but it turned out to be very challenging – in a fun way. How do you design something that shows that real people live here but at the same time shows the technical limitations of processors in the 1980s? That was the challenge.”


Ian Gooding continues: “The one thing that John Lasseter kept rubbing in is you have to celebrate the 8-bit as much as you possibly can in this world. Whenever we didn’t jump on an opportunity, he would notice it and say, ‘That’s not right here.’ It was fun to squeeze as many square-centric, 8-bit things you can into one environment and still have it look sophisticated, believable and fun.”


Ian Gooding reveals: “We had a lot of fun dressing the [Niceland] characters of this world. When you take something very sophisticated and tailor it with little hats and brooches, and you put it on these funny little people, it becomes hilarious. The more serious you get with the clothing, the funnier it becomes. They dress 80s-centric because that’s their era and they think that’s really cool. Again, really cool and serious becomes funny when you scale to the people of Niceland.”


Visual Development Artist Cory Loftis reveals: “For Wreck-It Ralph, I worked on the world of Hero’s Duty. In the very beginning, Mike Gabriel came into my office and he gave me some ideas to think about before I started designing. First and foremost, he explained that Hero’s Duty needed to feel like a real first-person shooter game; it needed to feel like a legitimate sci-fi shooter. I always kept that in mind when I worked on the design.”


Cory Loftis continues: “Hero’s Duty had to have that really strong triangular-shape language that Mike mentioned earlier, so I tried to pack as many triangles into the design as possible. The whole tower design is a big inverted triangle stuck into this planet. The windows are triangles; the decals are triangles; even the dust and debris that’s floating around in the air are triangles. Everything is sharp and angular.”


Cory Loftis adds: “I watched a lot of sci-fi movies growing up. All of the movies I really liked had one thing in common about the design of the technology featured in them: the spaceships, robots and hi-tech things weren’t made of sleek materials. They weren’t glossy or shiny. They were rough; they were bolted and riveted together; they had hoses and vents; stuff leaked, metal rusted and paint was chipped. I tried to take this idea along with the triangular shape language to create this unique world; not just in the tower and the planet itself, but also into the props and characters that are in Hero’s Duty.”


Visual Development Artist Lorelay Bove reveals: “When we first started working on Wreck-It Ralph, we wanted to create a candy world that was new and different to anything we’d seen before. I’m originally from Spain and I’ve always loved Antoni Gaudi and his modernist architecture. When I was little, I thought his architecture was made of candy. That’s where the idea came to use this modernist architecture movement and mix it with candy to make our own world and our own style.”


Lorelay Bove continues: “We took a research trip to Spain to study the shapes, rhythm and patterns of the architecture of Gaudi and it seemed to fit our new world perfectly. But we did not directly copy Antoni Gaudi or the modernist architecture; we just caricatured and made it a new, distinct world. Alongside the trip to Barcelona, we also took a research trip to the world’s largest candy convention in Germany. It was like the Comic-Con of candy, and we took lots and lots of pictures for reference.”


Lorelay Bove adds: “If you look at the world of Sugar Rush, you’ll see the circular shape language everywhere; there are circles all over the place. Plus, everything is sugar coated; even King Candy’s castle. When it comes to the citizens of Sugar Rush, [Wreck-It Ralph director] Rich Moore had the idea of using Japanese Harajuku girls as an inspiration because they are so unique. It worked really well, especially with the Japanese candy we found along the way.”



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