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Glossar des Zeichentrickfilms

Vintage Ink & Print (Originalseite) /


Cels: Nitrate Cels / Acetate Cels / Cel Setups / Cel Levels
Fielding: 12 Field / 16 Field / Panning Shots
Ink & Paint Materials and Techniques: Hand Inking / Photographic Lines / Xerography / Dry Brush / Gum Arabic Based Cel Paints / Casein Based Cel Paints / Vinyl or Acrylic Based Cel Paints
Production Artwork: Concept Artwork / Character Models / Storyboard Panels / Layout Drawings / Rough Animation Drawings / Breakdowns & Inbetweens / Clean-Ups / Color Model Cels / Animation Cels / Background Paintings / Title Cards
Non-Production Artwork:Publicity & Promotional Artwork / Merchandising Artwork & Book Illustrations / Inker's Tests & Clean-Up Tests / Limited Edition Cels / Serigraphs
Packaging & Merchandising: Courvoisier Setups / Presentation Setups / Art Corner Setups / Recent Art Packaging



Sheets of clear plastic, containing theimages of the characters, which areplaced over a background, and then photographed in succession to give the illusion of movement in the completed film. The outline of the image, whether hand-inked or xerographed, is applied to the front of the cel. The colors are painted by hand onto the back of the cel to eliminate brushstrokes. Large areas of black paint were sometimes applied to the front of the cel to reduce glare.


Nitrate Cels : Animation cels made from cellulose nitrate, a flammable, unstable material prone to wrinkling, yellowing and shrinkage over long periods of time. Decomposing nitrate emits fumes and resins which can accelerate the rate of decomposition of any cel in close proximity. Nitrate cel stock was used throughout the 1920's, '30s and the early 40's at the Disney Studios, and well into the 1950's at other studios.

 Acetate Cels: Animation cels made from cellulose acetate, a much more stable material which remains the industry standard to this day.

 Cel Setups : A combination of two or more cels, with or without a background, which work together to form a complete image. These can be either Matching (the way the image appeared in the finished film) or Non-Matching (combinations of elements which are pleasing together, but do not appear together in the film).

 Cel Levels : The individual cels that go together to make up a cel setup. Due to technical considerations, it was very rare for two or more separate characters to be included on a single cel level. Usually, each element was on its own cel, with up to a maximum of five levels to a scene. Because of the added density of the multiple cel levels, the paint colors were corrected for the discoloration caused by the plastic, making the colors on a bottom level cel much brighter than those on a top level cel. 



 Refers to the size of the area on the artwork which falls within the sight of the camera. Thus, a 12 field is roughly 12 inches across and a 9 field is 9 inches across. Even though a drawing or cel may be of a standard 12 or 16 field size, the camera may have been zoomed in to a 8 or 9 field, focusing on a tighter area of the artwork, eliminating the outer margins of the sheet. Most early pictures conformed to a squarish rectangular field referred to as the Academy Format. Later films, which were shot in widescreen or Cinemascope had a more rectangular active area.

 12 Field : An industry standard size for cels, backgrounds and drawings, measuring roughly 10 1/2" by 12 1/2".

 16 Field : An industry standard size for cels, backgrounds and drawings, measuring roughly 12 1/2" by 16 1/2".

 Panning Shots : Wider cels, backgrounds and drawings were used in moving camera shots. Pans were often referred to as a 12 field double pan (10 1/2" by 25") or a 16 field 1 1/2 pan (12 1/2" by 24 1/2"). In films shot in Cinemascope or Technirama (like Lady & the Tramp or Sleeping Beauty, panning cels were used in many scenes to accomodate the wider fields needed for the widescreen process.





Hand Inking :Prior to the late 1950's, all animation drawings were traced onto cels by hand using a quill pen or brush. A variety of inks were used, but in general, the colored ink lines were simply cel paint thinned down to the proper consistency. Contrary to popular belief, hand inking is not a lost art. It is still widely used in animated commercials, special effects shots and in publicity artwork.

 Photographic Lines : The Disney Studios developed a method of reproducing animation drawings to cel by means of a photographic process as early as 1936, for use on Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs. The technique continued to be used as late as the early 1950's. In scenes where the camera was required to focus in tight on a very small character, this process was able to produce a fine hairline which was much more accurate than could be achieved by hand inking. The animation was rendered at full size, and then would be reduced photographically to fit the scene. The photographic lines could be dyed several colors as well, but on close inspection, they sometimes appears to be slightly translucent. This technique was discontinued after the development of xerography, and very little information on how it was accomplished has survived.

 Xerography: In the late 1950's, the Disney Studios developed a xerographic process to transfer the animator's drawings directly onto cels. Sleeping Beauty was the first film to include scenes utilizing this process. At first, only black toner was used, but in the early 70's, browns, greys and other colors were developed. Xeroxed lines appear to be more sketchy than hand inked lines, but since they are transferred directly from the animator's drawings they often retain a sense of "life" and spontaneity that hand inking often lacks.

Dry Brush : To create motion blurs and special textures, inkers would apply paint to the front of the cel using a small amount of thick paint. In some cases, rouge or greasepaint was drybrushed onto the cheeks of characters to simulate blush. 

Gum Arabic Based Cel Paints : The most common type of paint used at the various studios was a rewettable, opaque watercolor with a gum arabic binder. Some studios bought ready-made paint, but MGM and Disney custom manufactured their own paints in-house. Although most studios abandoned this type of paint in the early 1960's when synthetic binders were introduced, the Disney Studios continued to manufacture and use it in production until The Great Mouse Detective was released in 1986.


Casein Based Cel Paints : In an efffort to lower production costs, some studios, most notably the Warner Brothers cartoon studio, used a casein based paint. Made from dairy curd, this binder adhered well to the cel stock for the short term, but its high level of acidity and its tendency to become severely dehydrated made it very unstable over the long term. Almost every cel painted with this type of paint at the Warners Studio has cracked and chipped over time. Because of this, casein type of paint is unsuitable for archival restoration.


Vinyl and Acrylic Based Cel Paints : Since the early 1960's, non-rewettable opaque watercolor paints with a synthetic plastic binder have become the industry standard. Although these commercially available paints are more durable and permanent than vintage gum arabic based paint formulas, they do not have as wide a variety of pigments as the traditional Disney paint formula. In most cases, the original Disney gum arabic paint formula is preferable for archival restoration.




 Any cel, drawing or painting used in any part of the making of a film. (Note: Production does NOT mean Under The Camera.) Many types of art created for the production of the film were not photographed, but instead acted as a guide for artists to follow. Some of the different types of production artwork are:


Concept Art : Inspirational sketches or paintings used to establish the situations, color choices or mood of a particular sequence. These were rendered in a wide range of media, from pastels and graphite, to watercolor and cut paper.


Character Models : Standardized renderings of characters, expressions, props and costumes. Character Designs would be created by concept artists or lead animators, and once they were approved, photographic stats, called Model Sheets would be produced and distributed to the various departments to insure absolute consistency between the sketches of all of the artists working on a project. Hundreds of photostats would be produced from a single paste-up, consisting of various drawings trimmed and applied to a board. Sometimes animators would create their own model sheets, traced from their own or other artist's drawings.


Storyboards : A series of sketches, similar to a comic strip, which outlines the action and dialogue in a scene. These drawings would be pinned up on a bulletin board and arranged, re-arranged and replaced as the story took shape. Early rough storyboard sketches are referred to as Thumbnails, while more detailed drawings would be called Finished or Final Storyboard Panels.

1. Storyboard: a storyboard is a visual plan of your project. Planning a project on paper before working at the computer can save time and frustration. A separate card or paper for each slide will help organize and prepare students for production on the computer. A storyboard should include the layout, text, graphics or drawn images, and sounds that are going to be included on the slide. How much detail required is up to the assigning teacher. It is also helpful to assign which elements you would like to see on each slide in advance. For example, a teacher might ask for text supported by a hand drawn images, borders, recorded voice, and a title card. (You might also want to require a bibliography for older students.)


Layout Drawings : A detailed pencil drawing that either indicates the fielding, the character's action, or the design of the background which acts as the scenery behind the character. There are two types of layouts: Character Layouts, which outline the character's path of movement, expressions and action within the scene; and the Background Layout, which generally consists of a line drawing of the environment in which the character exists. These layouts are used as reference by the animator and the background painter, respectively.


Rough Animation Drawings : The original, first generation sketch by the animators in creating the movement in a scene. Roughs can be divided into three basic types: Key Drawings, which were drawn by the principal animators themselves, Break-Downs, which were drawn by both animator and his assistant, and Inbetweens which were the work of the assistant animators alone. Generally, the animator would sketch out a key drawing for every five or six frames and leave the drawings between his keys for the assistants to fill in. Once the rough animation was approved, the drawings would be delivered to the assisting department for Clean Up. Many collectors prefer roughs to clean ups, because they are often more spontaneous and full of life, and they are more likely to be the work of a lead animator.


Clean-Ups : Tracings of the original animation roughs which are often more detailed and refined than the drawings which preceded them. Created by the assisting department, these sketches represent the final stage of animation before the image is transferred to the cel via hand inking or xerography. These sketches often include colored lines to indicate different ink colors, color mark-ups to tell the painters which areas to paint which colors, and notes to the ink & paint department about parts of the character that needed to be registered to other characters or background elements.


Color Model Cels : A cel created by the Ink & Paint Department to act as an example for inkers and painters to follow. Color models may be exact duplicates of the cels appearing in the film, or may be test models, exploring various inking techniques or color palettes. Although many collectors assume that color models are less valuable than cels used under the camera, this is not always the case. Since color model cels acted as an example for the inkers and painters to follow, great care was taken to make them absolutely flawless. Cels used under the camera often had flaws due to repairs or corrections quickly done in the heat of production.


Animation Cels :The individual painting on celluloid which is photographed along with other cels and a background in a setup, creating the complete image for a single frame of film. Every cel is different, but this doesn't mean that every cel is unique. Often multiple copies of a cel were created as color models, gifts or as Inker's Tests, which were created by the inkers in their free time to refine their technique and practice their skills.


Background Paintings : A painting or other artwork depicting the environment in which the character operates. First, the Background Stylist made small color sketches called Key Backgrounds, which were created to establish the color scheme and mood. These keys acted as a model for the other background artists to follow. Key backgrounds were also referred to as Preliminary Backgrounds. Backgrounds which were rejected or cut from the film were called N.G. (No Good) Backgrounds. Although hundreds of animation drawings and cels would be required for a scene, typically there was only one background. A setup featuring a cel and background from the same scene is often incorrectly referred to as a Key Background Setup, but a more accurate description would be a Matching Background Setup. A cel and background from the same film, but not the same scene is often referred to as a Production Background Setup, while a cel and background from different films is correctly referred to simply as a Background Setup.


Title Cards : A background painting which acts as part of the the credits for an animated film. The text is often on a cel overlay. Title cards can be divided into several categories: Series Title, Main Title and Cast and Crew Credits.




 Publicity & Promotional Artwork :"Perfect poses" used to promote the release of an animated film. Publicity artwork produced for the original release of a film may often closely resemble production art, while cels and backgrounds created for later re-releases may look quite different. In general, publicity images from the original release are worth much more than ones from later re-releases.


Merchandising Artwork & Book Illustrations : Artwork produced for use on licensed product packaging, educational filmstrips or publications. The quality of these images can vary greatly, since they are rarely created by the same artists that worked on the films themselves. In general, this type of artwork is worth much less than publicity or production art.

 Inker's Tests & Clean-Up Tests : Beginning inkers and assistant animators were often given scenes of animation from previous productions to practice and hone their skills on. Also, this category of art also encompasses test pieces given to prospective employees to judge their level of skill. It can sometimes take a skilled eye to recognize the differences between test artwork and production art.

 Limited Edition Cels : A cel created especially for sale to the collector's market, produced in fixed, limited quantities. Originally intended to re-create original production cels, some studios and artists now create completely new images based on non-production artwork. Although limited edition cels are widely touted as being "good investments", very few editions have ever appreciated in value to any significant degree.

 Serigraphs : A mass produced cel created by means of a printing process similar to silk screening. No hand painting or inking is involved. These cels are produced in large quantities and are marketed as a low-cost alternative to production and limited edition cels. They have very little value on the secondary market.




Courvoisier Setups : A cel setup marketed through Courvoisier Galleries between 1938 and 1946. Couvoisier setups share several distinctive features: a cream colored mat with the title of the production inscribed in pencil below the mat opening, a simple presentation or wood grain background, and a 3" by 5" label stating the name of the production. Cels in Courvoisier setups were often cut out and attached to the backgrounds, and were occasionally enhanced with airbrushed shading or dry brush effects. The presentation backgrounds ranged from simple air brushed settings depicting dots or stars, to elaborate watercolor paintings created by the Disney background department. Many Courvoisier setups from Dumbo and Fantasia were laminated using a heat fused process. Courvoisier setups are highly sought after by collectors. Other studios, most notably Walter Lantz, Warner Brothers and Charles Mintz, packaged and marketed artwork in a similar manner between 1938 and 1940.

 Presentation Setups : After the contract with Courvoisier Galleries expired in 1946, the Disney Studios continued to assemble cel setups in nearly identical packaging to give as gifts to clients, VIP's and studio guests. Since the production cels were often imperfect, damaged or unavailable, these cel setups were created to order by the ink & paint department using poses taken from original animation drawings. These cels were usually combined with a production background, or a simple complemementary painting created by the background department in down-time.

 Art Corner Setups : Cels sold at Disneyland's Art Corner shop in Tomorrowland from 1955 to the late sixties for a few dollars apiece. These setups were usually trimmed to fit a small mat, and included a litho background or sheet of colored paper and a gold foil authenticating sticker on the back of the mat. Despite the quantities of Ar Corner setups sold over the years, good poses continue to be in great demand with collectors.

Recent Art Packaging :

Since 1973, cels sold at the Disney theme parks, studio stores andauthorized dealerships have all been packaged with a certificate ofauthenticity and a certifying seal. Most other studio art programs, likethose of Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera use a similar format fortheir artwork. Desirability and value on recent cel setups varies widely,depending on the quality of the image and the relative scarcity of similarartwork on the market. Cels which do not carry these seals andcertificates are not necessarily forgeries, however. Most unpackaged artwork on the market comes from artists and technicians who received the artwork as a gift from the studio for doing a good job on the production.