Home  |  Gallery Guides  |  Appraisers  |  Art Consultants  |  Art Fairs  |  Art-Services

Museum & Non-Profits |  Auctions |  Artist Websites  |  Collecting Art  |  Types of Collecting

Animation Terms and Definitions

Production Cel: 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: 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 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

Return to:
Collecting Animation Art Resource

Home  |  Gallery Guides  |  Non-Profits  |  Auctions  |  Art Fairs  |  Art News

Collecting Art  |  Types of Collecting  |  Bookstore  |  How to be Listed

Copyright 2014 by All Rights Reserved
Terms of Use    |   Privacy Policy    |    Contact
 Updated June 29, 2019