We celebrate the second season of the Rugrats animation series and the birth of Tommy’s little brother Dil with a new ‘meet the makers’ interview series. Find out more about the artists who brought this happy bunch of babies to life.
We sat down with Anoop Sudarshan – Senior Lighting and Compositing Artist on Rugrats, to find out more about his work:
Can you tell us about your journey in the animation industry?
I was enthusiastic about CG animated shows from my childhood and that made me join the industry. I first pursued a bachelor’s degree in animation and VFX. I began my career as a render wrangler and was exposed to multiple departments in 3D where I gained in-depth knowledge of different aspects in the CG production industry over 8 years. I have worked at a couple of other studios before I joined Mikros Animation as a Senior Lighting and Compositing Artist and I’ve had very good exposure with amazing and novel projects.
Rugrats is one of the longest-running Nickelodeon shows and is a Daytime Emmy-winning animated series. What was your first reaction when you learned you’d be working on its CG-animated reboot?
Before the main show began, we had pilot testing and I saw a funny shot where a bunch of toddlers were goofing around with some tools in their hands. They were sneaking around the older ones, and it felt like this was a show with a challenging yet creative and funny story. Initially, I was not aware that the reboot was based on the original series released in 1991. Later, when I saw the original series, I had more fun working on the reboot. It was almost like reliving my childhood through the show. I was really overwhelmed when I was chosen to be a part of the team working on this show, and I was also excited to be a part of this crazy project.
The Rugrats reboot is set in the present, with all the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology. It shows the challenges faced by parents today and draws attention to key issues in our society like diversity and inclusion. What do you think is the role of animation in portraying various kinds of families and society?
At present, I believe technology is totally dependent on how you use it, whether it’s good or bad, what really matters is how much knowledge it can be used to share. Animation is one such magical tool to get everyone’s attention – from a small kid to an elderly adult. Through these shows we help people master parenting with all the elements like emotions, caring behaviour, being mature and enjoying the small moments in life. The best solution for parents to guide and prepare their children for life is to make them watch animation, and I believe in the saying, “One episode per day, brings value to life every day.”
While working on this all-CG show, what were the main artistic and/or technical challenges you had to overcome in your department?
The major factors for a project to run smoothly are a proper pipeline and good communication between the neighbouring departments. As long as people are accepting of creative inputs from all members of the team, and evaluate these possibilities, we can have the best output for our clients. Overall, the team is the key for any project to succeed, and we did this by giving freedom for the team to work creatively and ensuring there’s work-life balance. Understanding the client requirements also plays a major role in production work, the better we understand, the more trustworthy we become for clients. For every issue we faced in the project, we have a well-trained team with multiple solutions to tackle those. And the client team was so positive in welcoming our input. Right from the time when we began working on this show while at home, to now, the collaborative process and quality has been great.
What is your favourite sequence from the show, and why?
I liked the complete show so choosing one would be very difficult for me. I do have two episodes in mind which I enjoyed the most artistically and visually. The first one is “Raptor in Space” where the raptor toy goes to the moon and his ship is destroyed by the moon people and they try to attack the earth, but the raptor saves the earth by destroying the machine. The other is “Crossing the Antarctic”. This story takes place in winter where the parents play ice hockey while the kids travel to Antarctica with snow and icebergs throughout the episode, and they travel the through the Antarctic with many obstacles. Both stories are very simple but the visual treatment done for these episodes is extraordinary. Every episode in this show has a unique storyline which connects us to its world.
What are you looking forward to most with the show airing its second season?
The first season of Rugrats was a bang. In the second season there will be a mesmerising journey and thrilling adventures with simple yet funny memorable stories. I personally feel like this new season will be more entertaining than before and it features more moral values, so the audience might get more emotionally attached. With the previous season being honoured with the Daytime Emmy Award, I’m excited for the next season to be received well!
Discover more of our team members by visiting the Talent Spotlights section our website.