Cel

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A cel, short for celluloid, is a transparent sheet on which objects are drawn or painted for traditional, hand-drawn animation. Actual celluloid (consisting of cellulose nitrate and camphor) was used during the first half of the 20th century, but since it was flammable and dimensionally unstable it was largely replaced by cellulose acetate. With the advent of computer-assisted animation production, the use of cels has been all but abandoned in major productions. Disney studios stopped using cels in 1990 when Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) replaced this element in their animation process, [1] and in the next decade and a half, the other major animation studios phased cels out as well.

Celluloid chemical compound

Celluloids are a class of compounds created from nitrocellulose and camphor, with added dyes and other agents. Generally considered the first thermoplastic, it was first created as Parkesine in 1856 and as Xylonite in 1869, before being registered as Celluloid in 1870. Celluloid is easily molded and shaped, and it was first widely used as an ivory replacement.

Traditional animation animation technique in which frames are hand-drawn

Traditional animation is an animation technique in which each frame is drawn by hand on a physical medium. The technique was the dominant form of animation in cinema until the advent of computer animation.

Camphor group of stereoisomers

Camphor is a waxy, flammable, transparent solid with a strong aroma. It is a terpenoid with the chemical formula C10H16O. It is found in the wood of the camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora), a large evergreen tree found in Asia (particularly in Sumatra and Borneo islands, Indonesia) and also of the unrelated kapur tree, a tall timber tree from the same region. It also occurs in some other related trees in the laurel family, notably Ocotea usambarensis. The oil in rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus officinalis), in the mint family, contains 10 to 20% camphor, while camphorweed (Heterotheca) only contains some 5%. Camphor can also be synthetically produced from oil of turpentine. It is used for its scent, as an ingredient in cooking (mainly in India), as an embalming fluid, for medicinal purposes, and in religious ceremonies. A major source of camphor in Asia is camphor basil (the parent of African blue basil).

Contents

Technique

Painting with acrylic paint on the reverse side of an already inked cel. File-Inkandpaint.jpg
Painting with acrylic paint on the reverse side of an already inked cel.

Generally, the characters are drawn on cels and laid over a static background drawing. This reduces the number of times an image has to be redrawn and enables studios to split up the production process to different specialised teams. Using this assembly line way to animate has made it possible to produce films much more cost-effectively. The invention of the technique is generally attributed to Earl Hurd, who patented the process in 1914.

Studio artist’s or photographer’s workshop

A studio is an artist or worker's workroom. This can be for the purpose of acting, architecture, painting, pottery (ceramics), sculpture, origami, woodworking, scrapbooking, photography, graphic design, filmmaking, animation, industrial design, radio or television production broadcasting or the making of music. The term is also used for the workroom of dancers, often specified to dance studio.

Team group linked in a common purpose

A team is a group of individuals - humans, horses, or oxen, for example - working together to achieve their goal. As defined by Professor Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg School of Management, "[a] team is a group of people who are interdependent with respect to information, resources, and skills and who seek to combine their efforts to achieve a common goal".

Assembly line manufacturing process

An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added as the semi-finished assembly moves from workstation to workstation where the parts are added in sequence until the final assembly is produced. By mechanically moving the parts to the assembly work and moving the semi-finished assembly from work station to work station, a finished product can be assembled faster and with less labor than by having workers carry parts to a stationary piece for assembly.

The outline of the images are drawn on the front of the cel while colors are painted on the back to eliminate brushstrokes. Traditionally, the outlines were hand-inked but since the 1960s they are almost exclusively xerographed on. Another important breakthrough in cel animation was the development of the Animation Photo Transfer Process, first seen in The Black Cauldron , released in 1985. [2]

Xerography

Xerography or electrophotography is a dry photocopying technique. Its fundamental principle was invented by American physicist Chester Carlson and based on Hungarian physicist Pál Selényi's publications. Chester Carlson applied for and was awarded U.S. Patent 2,297,691 on October 6, 1942. The technique was originally called electrophotography. It was later renamed xerography—from the Greek roots ξηρός xeros, "dry" and -γραφία -graphia, "writing"—to emphasize that, unlike reproduction techniques then in use such as cyanotype, this process used no liquid chemicals.

<i>The Black Cauldron</i> (film) 1985 American animated dark fantasy adventure film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation

The Black Cauldron is a 1985 American animated adventure dark fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation in association with Silver Screen Partners II and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 25th Disney animated feature film, it is loosely based on the first two books in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, a series of five novels that are, in turn, based on Welsh mythology.

Typically, an animated feature would require over 100,000 hand-painted cels. [3]

Collector's item

Production cels were sometimes sold after the animation process was completed. More popular shows and movies demanded higher prices for the cels, with some selling for thousands of dollars.

Some cels are not used for actual production work, but may be a "special" or "limited edition" version of the artwork, sometimes even printed ("lithographed") instead of hand-painted. These normally do not fetch as high a price as original "under-the-camera" cels, which are true collector's items. Some unique cels have fetched record prices at art auctions. For example, a large "pan" cel depicting numerous characters from the finale of Who Framed Roger Rabbit sold for $50,600 at Sotheby's in 1989, including its original background. [4] [5]

Lithography printing process

Lithography is a method of printing originally based on the immiscibility of oil and water. The printing is from a stone or a metal plate with a smooth surface. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works. Lithography can be used to print text or artwork onto paper or other suitable material.

Collectable object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector

A collectable is any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector. There are numerous types of collectables and terms to denote those types. An antique is a collectable that is old. A curio is a small, usually fascinating or unusual item sought by collectors. A manufactured collectable is an item made specifically for people to collect.

Panorama wide-angle view or representation of a physical space

A panorama is any wide-angle view or representation of a physical space, whether in painting, drawing, photography, film, seismic images or a three-dimensional model. The word was originally coined in the 18th century by the English painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh and London. The motion-picture term panning is derived from panorama.

Disney Stores sold production cels from The Little Mermaid (their last film to use cels) at prices from $2,500 to $3,500, without the original backgrounds. Lithographed "sericels" from the same film were $250, with edition sizes of 2,500–5,000 pieces. [6]

Disney Store company

The Disney Store is an international chain of specialty stores selling only Disney related items, many of them exclusive, under its own name and Disney Outlet. Disney Store is a business unit of Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products.

<i>The Little Mermaid</i> (1989 film) 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation

The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy romance film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Pictures. Loosely based on the Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel, who dreams of becoming human; after falling in love with a human prince named Eric. Written, produced, and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, with music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman the film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, and René Auberjonois.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Animation is a method in which pictures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film. Today, most animations are made with computer-generated imagery (CGI). Computer animation can be very detailed 3D animation, while 2D computer animation can be used for stylistic reasons, low bandwidth or faster real-time renderings. Other common animation methods apply a stop motion technique to two and three-dimensional objects like paper cutouts, puppets or clay figures.

<i>Toy Story</i> 1995 American animated film directed by John Lasseter

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Animator person who makes animated films

An animator is an artist who creates multiple images, known as frames, which give an illusion of movement called animation when displayed in rapid sequence. Animators can work in a variety of fields including film, television, and video games. Animation is closely related to filmmaking and like filmmaking is extremely labor-intensive, which means that most significant works require the collaboration of several animators. The methods of creating the images or frames for an animation piece depend on the animators' artistic styles and their field.

The history of animation started long before the development of cinematography. Humans have probably attempted to depict motion as far back as the paleolithic period. Shadow play and the magic lantern offered popular shows with projected images on a screen, moving as the result of manipulation by hand and/or some minor mechanics. In 1833 the phenakistiscope introduced the stroboscopic principle of modern animation, and would also provide the basis for cinematography.

Cel shading animation technique

Cel shading or toon shading is a type of non-photorealistic rendering designed to make 3-D computer graphics appear to be flat by using less shading color instead of a shade gradient or tints and shades. Cel-shading is often used to mimic the style of a comic book or cartoon and/or give it a characteristic paper-like texture. There are similar techniques that can make an image look like a sketch, an oil painting or an ink painting. It is somewhat recent, appearing from around the beginning of the twenty-first century. The name comes from cels, the clear sheets of acetate, which are painted on for use in traditional 2D animation.

Walt Disney Animation Studios Walt Disney Company animation studio

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The Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) was a digital ink and paint system used in animated feature films, the first at a major studio, designed to replace the expensive process of transferring animated drawings to cels using India ink or xerographic technology, and painting the reverse sides of the cels with gouache paint. Using CAPS, enclosed areas and lines could be easily colored in the digital computer environment using an unlimited palette. Transparent shading, blended colors, and other sophisticated techniques could be extensively used that were not previously available.

Cellulose triacetate chemical compound

Cellulose triacetate, is a chemical compound produced from cellulose and a source of acetate esters, typically acetic anhydride. Triacetate is commonly used for the creation of fibres and film base. It is chemically similar to cellulose acetate. Its distinguishing characteristic is that in triacetate, at least "92 percent of the hydroxyl groups are acetylated." During the manufacture of triacetate, the cellulose is completely acetylated; whereas in normal cellulose acetate or cellulose diacetate, it is only partially acetylated. Triacetate is significantly more heat resistant than cellulose acetate.

Mathematical Applications Group, Inc. was an early computer technology company founded in 1966 by Dr. Philip Mittelman and located in Elmsford, New York, where it was evaluating nuclear radiation exposure. By modeling structures using combinatorial geometry mathematics and applying monte carlo radiation ray tracing techniques the mathematicians could estimate exposures at various distances and relative locations in and around fictional structures. In 1972, the graphics group called MAGI/SynthaVision was formed at MAGI by Robert Goldstein.

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The Princess and the Frog is a 2009 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 49th Disney animated feature film, the film is loosely based on the novel The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker, which is in turn based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "The Frog Prince". Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film features an ensemble voice cast that stars Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David, Michael-Leon Wooley, Jennifer Cody, and Jim Cummings, with Peter Bartlett, Jenifer Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, and John Goodman. Set in 1920s New Orleans, the film tells the story of a hardworking waitress named Tiana who dreams of owning her own restaurant. After kissing a prince who has been turned into a frog by an evil voodoo sorcerer, Tiana becomes a frog herself and must find a way to turn back into a human before it is too late.

The animation photo transfer process is a photographic transfer system that can photographically transfer lines or solid blocks of colors onto acetate sheets (cels). A similar process is used in making the stencils for silk screen printing. The process relies on UV-sensitive inks that cure when exposed to light and stick to the plastic sheet, while the ink in the non-exposed areas are chemically removed from the sheet.

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William "Bill" Kroyer is an American director of animation and computer graphics commercials, short films, movie titles, and theatrical films. He and Jerry Rees were the main animators for the CGI sequences in Tron. He is currently the head of the Digital Arts department at Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University.

Cels may refer to:

<i>A Computer Animated Hand</i> 1972 film by Edwin Catmull

A Computer Animated Hand is a 1972 American computer-animated film produced by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke. Produced during Catmull's tenure at the University of Utah, the short was created for a graduate course project. After creating a model of Catmull's left hand, 350 triangles and polygons were drawn in ink on the model. The model was digitized and laboriously animated in a three-dimensional animation program that Catmull wrote.

Hazel Sewell was the first head of Walt Disney Studio’s Ink and Paint Department. She was hired shortly after her sister Lillian Bounds, also known as Lillian Disney, began working at the studio as an artist. Some of Sewell's primary responsibilities as the head of the Ink and Paint Department included: developing new techniques in the inking and painting processes, creating new divisions at the Walt Disney Studio, and overseeing the hiring and training of new artists. Sewell worked with the studio for 11 years until resigning in May of 1938. She was the first woman to serve as the head of a major division in the animation industry. She is known for her work on Disney animated features such as Plane Crazy and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

References

  1. Coulson, William R. (January 1995). "The Art of Disney and Sotheby's". Animation Magazine. 8 (2): 72. ISSN   1041-617X . Retrieved March 19, 2017. Disney’s next animation smash was The Little Mermaid - the last Disney feature to utilize hand-painted acetate cels...Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s next hit animation feature, was the first to use, instead of hand-painted cels, Disney’s “CAPS” computer-generated characters.
  2. McCall, Douglas L. (1998). "The Black Cauldron". Film Cartoons: A Guide to 20th Century American Animated Features and Shorts: 15. [The Black Cauldron was] The first film to utilize Disney's revolutionary Animation Photo Transfer Process, which transfers drawings to cells with greater speed and resolution than the usual Xeroxing Method;
  3. Coulson, William R. (January 1995). "The Art of Disney and Sotheby's". Animation Magazine. 8 (2): 72. ISSN   1041-617X . Retrieved March 19, 2017. A cel-animated feature requires over 100,000 hand-painted cels, so from Beauty there was obviously far less production artwork.
  4. Coulson, William R. (January 1995). "The Art of Disney and Sotheby's". Animation Magazine. 8 (2): 72. ISSN   1041-617X . Retrieved March 19, 2017. Prices at the Roger Rabbit sale went through the roof. One cel, depicting a large group of characters, sold for $50,600!
  5. O'Brian, Dave (January 1, 1990). "The Daffy Demand for Cels". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  6. Disney Store Catalog, June 1993