Ralph Breaks the Internet's production team explain how cities like Shanghai and New York inspired the design of the world wide web city

The creators of Ralph Breaks the Internet took on a huge challenge when they decided to take their video game characters into the Internet

Nicola Chan |

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You’ll be as wide-eyed as Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz (right, with Yesss, voiced by Taraji P. Henson, centre) when you see how the artists have represented the internet.

Wreck-It Ralph saw destructive video game baddy Ralph hop through different games around an arcade to prove himself a hero. Now, if you thought leaving his game and taking on challenges in other games was risky, what’s coming will shock you.

In the upcoming sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, the loveable bad guy must risk it all and delve into the expansive World Wide Web to help his friend Vanellope von Schweetz find a replacement part for her game, Sugar Rush.

In way over their heads once they enter the massive realms of the internet, the misfit duo must rely on netizens, to help navigate their way.

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“Going into the ultra-modern world of the internet was not only a nice contrast to the first film’s nod to the arcade, it offered unlimited possibilities,” said producer Clark Spencer.

“We could personify stores, social media and search engines ... [and] give people a look inside their computers when they go online.”

In the hopes of creating a bustling and spacious environment, artists looked to big cities such as Shanghai and Manhattan for inspiration.

“Each building represents a website – the bigger the building, the bigger the site,” said Larry Wu, the head of environments.

Visualising the internet as an interconnected megaworld was a very challenging task, said technical supervisor Ernest J. Petti.

“It’s the sheer scale of it with thousands of buildings, and crowds and crowds of characters.”

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The cinematography and lighting team also worked hard to make sure the hectic planet appears to never sleep.

“The sun doesn’t set on the internet,” said team director Brian Leach.

“The lights are always on.”

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To depict the boundlessness of cyberspace, the production team objectified the World Wide Web as an entire planet with multiple layers, just like the one we’re living in.

“The really old websites are down at the bottom, and then as you move up towards the surface, the websites are newer and more modern-looking,” said production designer Cory Loftis.

The aim, he explained, was to imitate the nature of the internet, a place where new things are constantly being built, but with “old things that never really go away”.

A lot of testing and research was also done to ensure the online world looked infinite.

“If Ralph does indeed wreck the internet,” said visual effects supervisor Scott Kersavage, “we needed to figure out what that would look like – it’s destruction, but unlike anything we’d done before.”

Edited by Nicole Moraleda