A clear plastic sheet on which the character has been rendered. Although there are
variations, the most common method is for the animator's drawing to be inked or
xerographed onto the front of the cel and then painted on the back. Animated props and
special effects - such as water or lightning - are also rendered on cels.
Cellanese Corporation's brand of nitrocellulose. It was the first man-made plastic,
and the first material used in the manufacture of cels. The term cel derives from
celluloid and is still in use today, although nitrocellulose was replaced for animation
industry use by cellulose acetate, a safer and much more stable material, about 1940.
Sequential images of a character or characters, that are rendered on paper, transferred
to cels, placed over a background, and photographed and projected one at at time at the
rate of 24 frames per second to create the illusion of motion.
A piece of artwork, usually a painting, over which the finished cels are placed to
be photographed, and which serves as the setting for the action.
Production Background: A background used in the release print of the film; also
referred to as a master background
Preliminary Background: A background painting created during the production process
of the film that did not appear in the release print.
Art Props or Studio Background: A background painting created by studio artists for
publicity or display purposes.
Hand-Prepared or Display Background: A non-studio background created solely to
accent a cel.
Printed Background: A lithographed reproduction of a background used to enhance
Background Layout: The finished drawing used for the background painting. Often
erroneously called line test background.
A portion of a scene, generally a foreground element, painted on or applied to a
cel and laid over the action to create the illusion of depth.
A combination of a cel, or cels, and background. A set-up may also include
additional elements from a scene, such as overlays or special effects.
Matching of Key Set-up: Cels and backgrounds - and other elements, such as
overlays, if applicable - that appeared together in the final, released version of the
Non-Matching or Married Set-up: Similar to a matching set-up, however, the elements
may have come from different scenes of the film.
A wide variety of drawings are created during the making of a film. The most
characteristic are the animator's drawings of the character. In addition, there are story
and layout drawings to establish direction and staging; concept drawings to work out
elements such as design, atmosphere, or color; character studies; and many other types
created during the different stages of production. These can be large or small, sketchy or
fully rendered, and may be in any media from pencil or charcoal to pastel.
A preliminary cel created to work out the color styling for a character, which may or
may not be in the final colors used in the film. Once colors have been established, color
models cels are created as guides for inkers and painters. Color models are also created
as guides for non-production uses, such as character costumes.
A sheet containing several drawings of a character or characters, showing construction,
poses, expressions, and relative sizes, used as a guide by the animator to assure
consistency of appearance. These may be either originals or stat copies created in small
quantities by the studio for distribution to the artists involved.
Standard cel size of approximately 12-1/2" wide by 10-1/2" high.
Standard cel size of approximately 15-1/2" wide by 12-1/2" high.
A cel, background, or set-up that is wider than standard, and is used for moving camera
The characteristic holes that appear at the edge, usually the bottom, of production
drawings, cels, and backgrounds. These holes fit over corresponding pegs and keep all
elements in exact register or alignment throughout the production process.
Courvoisier Galleries, San Francisco, were the first to offer original Disney animation
art. From 1937 through 1946 they sold and distributed Disney production cels, drawings,
and related materials from several features and shorts in specially prepared set-ups,
which included custom backgrounds, certificates, and mats.
An image from which the excess cel material has been trimmed to the character line.
Cut-outs are usually affixed to a background. They are not uncommon, and are frequently
seen with Courvoisier set-ups and Disney studio-prepared set-ups from the 1950's. May also
be called a partial or trimmed cel.
In Register or Registered
Refers to a portion of a character on a cel that is incomplete or cut off, because it
has been drawn to align with background or other elements.
Artwork created for retail sales in order to meet the demand for animation art of
vintage and classic characters. Characters are usually depicted in ideal poses and the
artwork is numbered, showing the edition number and total pieces in the edition. Limited
edition cels are often presented as set-ups with printed matching backgrounds.
Serigraph or Sericel
Artwork created for retail sales to resemble a cel, but utilizing a mass-produced,
screen printing procedure, instead of production techniques.
A high quality, printed reproduction of a cel set-up.