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Animation Art Definitions

Animation Cel
A cel (short for celluloid) is a blank clear plastic sheet used by the
studio artist to paint an animated character or object based on the
animator's original pencil drawing. The cels are then placed over a
background and photographed in sequence to produce an illusion of life
in the completed film or cartoon short. Every cel is different but
this does not mean that every cel is unique. Often multiple copies of
a cel were created by the Inkers as color models in order to advance
their technique and skills.

Nitrate Cel
An animation cel made from cellulose nitrate which unfortunately is a
very unstable material prone to shrinkage, wrinkling and yellowing
over time. Nitrate cels were used throughout the Disney studios during
the 1920's until the early 1940's. Other studios used nitrate cels
upto and including the 1950's.

Acetate Cel
An animation cel made from cellulose acetate. This material is still
used in the studios today as it is of a very stable nature.

Cel Setup
Simply a combination of two or more cels. The cels can be placed with
a background or without a background, and can be either matching with
the background (the way the image appeared in the short or film) or
non matching (they do not appear together in the film but just appeal
to the collector).

12 Field Cel
This refers to the size of the area on the artwork which falls within
the sight of the camera. Measuring approximately 10.5" x 12.5" this is
the standard size for cels, backgrounds and drawings.

16 Field Cel
This refers to the size of the area on the artwork which falls within
the sight of the camera. Measuring approximately 12.5" x 16.5" this is
the standard size for cels, backgrounds and drawings.

In moving camera shots wider cels, backgrounds and drawings were used.
Panoramic (Pans) were often referred to as a 12 field double pan
(10.5" x 25") or a 16 field one and a half pan (12.5" x 24"). A prime
example of where pan cels were used in numerous scenes in order to
accomodate the need for the wide screen process, are in the films shot
in cinemascope or technorama.

Production Cel
Any cel created for the production of an animated film or cartoon
short. This does not necessarily mean that the piece appears in the
film. Model cels and preliminary art are all production artwork.

Publicity and Promotional Cel
A cel created and painted by a studio artist for publicity display or
promotional purposes. Normally hand painted in the perfect pose.

Color Model Cel
A cel created and hand painted by the studio artist for color
reference purposes.

Courvoisier Setup
A cel setup created and marketed through Courvoisier galleries between
the late 1930's and 1940's. Courvoisier galleries of San Fransisco
were Disney's agent for the marketing of the studio's animation art
between this period. They prepared production backgrounds to
complement the cels and other art.
The Courvoisier setups share a few distinctive features; a simple
presentation or wood grain background, a cream colored matt with the
title of the production (or the name of the character) inscribed in
pencil below the mat opening, a "WDP" stamp or a 3" x 5" label
stating the name of the production. Generally, characters are trimmed
to the size of the image and attached to the backgrounds, and
occasionally were enhanced with airbrushed shading or dry brush
effects. The backgrounds ranged from basic airbrushed techniques
depicting stars or dots, to detailed watercolor backgrounds created
by the Disney background department. Often the cels from Dumbo, Bambi
and Fantasia were laminated.

Disneyland Art Corner
Cels sold at Disneyland's Art Corner Shop in Tomorrowland from the mid
1950's to the late 1960's. These cels are trimmed, placed in a small
mat against either a lithograph background or a sheet of colored
paper. A gold seal is attached to the back of the mat which is the
authenticating sticker.

Disney Seal
Mainly sold in the 1970's, full cels laminated and embossed with
"Original Hand Painted Movie Film Cel"

Sealess Cels
Cels which do not carry any seals, stickers or certificates are not
necessarily forgeries. The majority of this type of artwork either
comes from artists or employees of the studios who received the
artwork as a gift, or is simply artwork which the artist has drawn and
has taken home as a memory of the project. It was also common for
artists to take home other artists work as inspiration for other
projects they themselves were working on.

Limited Edition Cel
A non production hand painted cel created for sale to the collectors
market. It is produced in fixed limited quantities and are easily
identified by a fraction (150/500) in the lower right hand corner.
They were not used in films or cartoon shorts, and the original intent
was to recreate the original production cels. Nowadays many studios
release new images not based on production artwork.

Sericel (Serigraph)
A non production cel created by means of a printing process similar to
silk screening. No work is done by hand, therefore no painting or
inking is involved. They are often produced in limited quantities of
5000, sometimes more or less, and they are marketed as a low cost
alternative to production and limited edition cels.

Animation Drawing
A drawing on paper in pencil, sometimes colored which is created by a
studio artist of an animated character or object for which the cels
are later created.

Rough Animation Drawing
A rough drawing created by an animator on paper, in pencil, indicating
a position or pose of a character or object.

Clean Up Drawing
These drawings are created by the assisting department and represent
the final stage of animation before the image is transferred to the
cel. The sketches can often include color lines to indicate different
ink colors, and notes to the ink and paint department about parts of
the character or background in a relevant scene.

A series of drawings similar to a comic strip depicting a basic
story line of the film or cartoon short. These drawings will be pinned
up on a bulletin board and placed in the order of the story line.

Layout Drawing
A detailed drawing of either the background or environment in which
the character or object exists, or an outline of the characters path
of movement, its expressions and action within the scene.

Concept Art / Inspirational Sketch
Created by the artist to develop the atmosphere, mood or design of the
character or setting.

Model Sheet
Drawings created by artists showing a particular character or object
in many different poses and positions. These drawings will each be cut
out and pasted onto a model sheet. This in turn will be photo copied
and given to various departments to ensure consistency between all
artists working on a project. Hundreds of photostats will be produced
from a single model sheet.

Production Background
A background created for use in a production of an animated film. It
must be noted that a production background may not necessarily
originate from the same production that the cel is from.

Master Background
A background originally painted by a studio artist, and actually
photographed in the production of the final released version of the
film or cartoon short. A background painting sets the scene in which
the animated character appears.

Matching Master Background / Key Master Setup
This is often referred to as a key master background setup, but is
simply a cel or cels with the background from the same scene that were
originally photographed. When framed these will look exactly as they
do in the original film or cartoon short.

Custom or Hand painted Background
This background has been painted by an independent artist to enhance
the cel. Generally it will be in the style of the original.

Reproduction Background
This is the most common type of background. It is a reproduction of
the original background by means of lithography, serigraphy, color
copying or photography.

These images (prints) are created using a simple print process. They
are mass produced items.

Hand Inking
Prior to the late 1950's all animation drawings were traced onto cels
by using a brush or quill pen.

By the late 1950's Disney studios developed Xerographic process to
transfer the animator's drawings directly onto cels. The Xeroxed lines
appear to be more sketchy than hand inked lines. This is because they
are transferred direct from the animator's drawings and seem to keep a
sense of life. This is something that hand inking often lacks.
Sleeping Beauty was the first film to adopt this process.

The French term "Giclee", literally meaning "spray of ink," is used to
describe these prints. Four precision nozzles spray up to a million
microscopic droplets per second on to fine art paper. Then, each piece
of paper is individually hand-mounted. Displaying a full color
spectrum, the prints are lush and velvety, capturing the subtle
nuances of the original artwork.

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