Animation Terms and Definitions
The final result of creating animation using traditional ink and paint techniques, this is the art which we
see on the movie screen. Cel inkers transfer the animator's drawings onto transparent acetate sheets,
and cel painters paint the character's colors on the reverse side. Each cel is then photographed against
a background by a special movie film camera...typically two film frames for each cel.
The word "cel" comes from "cellulose nitrate," an early form of the acetate material used today.
'Vintage Production Cel' usually refers to artwork prior to 1970... it is estimated that 95% of the production
artwork from prior to 1970 was destroyed or discarded.
Production Drawing describes the animator's drawings which are used as the basis for creating animation cels.
An 'Animator's Rough' is typically very sketchy and loose, created to establish the look and emotions of a
character in that particular moment... an 'Extreme Drawing' is often two rough drawings that show the
character at the beginning and end of a movement or action. From the Rough Drawings, 'clean-up' artists refine
these drawings and 'fill in the blanks' between the extreme drawings (called 'tweening'). Finally, when the most
refined and usually precise drawings are approved, they are used to transfer the image (called 'inking') onto a
clear acetate cel. Usually rendered in graphite and/or colored pencil on paper, drawings illustrate an animator's
creative process of bringing characters to life.
Limited Edition Hand-painted Cel:
Limited Edition hand-painted cels are created in very limited numbers using the same hand-painting technique as
production cels. They may be derived from actual artwork used in the film or cartoon moment, or from artwork created
by an animator or director inspired by a favorite moment. Limited edition cels are often signed by the artist or
director. They are frequently the only images available reflecting the Golden Age of Animation (1930's, 40's and 50's)
since most of the production artwork prior to the 1970's was destroyed or washed for reuse. Also, with the advent of
computer-finished animation, hand-painted production cels are no longer the end result of the animation process.
Therefore limited edition cels give collectors an opportunity to own important works of art representing classic
moments in animation filmmaking which may otherwise be unavailable. Nearly all animation artists and studios create
animation artwork in limited edition form.
Production Cel and Background Setup:
An original production cel combined with a production background used in the final version of an animated film or short.
Typically, cels and backgrounds may be matched after the filmmaking process for aesthetic reasons. A Keyed Setup is the
production cel and the production background matched together as used in the filming of the scene. This is extremely
rare, since there may be hundreds of production cels used to film a scene which uses only one production background.
This information is provided courtesy of AnimationUSA.com. Their Seattle business has moved and the website is currently not available.
If you know how to locate them please let us know.
The above information courtesy of
Collecting Animation Art Resource
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