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Two cel setup with lithographic background,
King Stefan and King Hubert
Sleeping Beauty, 1959


About Cels - Production cels short for celluloids come in a variety of differnet sizes depending upon the nature of the scene involved. Typically animator's work with varying field sizes to create character animation for different backgrounds or scene requirements. Traditional film animation requires a minimum of 24 frames taken per second. "12 field" animation refers to a specific size of the of the area (paper or cel) for a camera shot. There are many different sizes depending the field of vision required. Sleeping Beauty in the mid 50's was created using technirama or widevision 70mm. Drawings and cels from this feature as well as Lady & the Tramp may be over 30 inches across to accomodate the large field of vision. Common field sizes for animation are 12 and 16 field.

Production Cels - a painting of an animated character on a transparent piece of celluloid that was photographed for the production of an animated film or television production. Using tradtional methods, the clean-up drawing is transferred to the front surface of the cel either by hand-inking with colored inks or xerography. The reverse side is carefully painted using guoache or acrylic paints. Once the cel is complete it maybe composited with other cels for the camera shot. Today, feature animation employs a digital ink & painting method, whereby the clean-up drawing is scanned into a computer. There the image is digitally painted, composited with other images and then transferred directly to film.

Publicity Cels - a cel created for media, print advertising and other other display purposes. Publicity cels, which may or may not have been photographed, were typically given to out to promote a current release for feature animation. They were created utilizing the same methods as production cels described above.

Cel Setup - a cel setup refers to compositing multiple character or special effects cel levels to create a completed image. Typically the cel are matching to each other, meaning they were originally placed together in the same frame of the film. However, it was not uncommon during the vinatge years to have differing cel images/levels composited to enhance the sale of a production cel.

Art Corner Setup - a special cel setup defined about that was sold through a store in Fantasyland at Disneyland from the mid 1950's through the 60's. These setups were normally priced from just a few dollars on up and featured production cels with lithographic backgrounds (not always matching) from the films that Disney was currently producing. They are charaterized with a plain colored matt and a gold label on the revserse side.

Backgrounds - these are paintings created from the originally designed layout drawings to set the stage for character animation. Background paintings are one of the rarest forms of animation art and highly sought after considering there many only be a few hundred backgrounds produced per film compared to the thousands of cels. Background paintings are colorful, detailed and will appear in numerous frames of the film compared to a production cel. Sometimes backgrounds may appear in mulitple shots of the film.

Overlay/Underlay - a background painting on a transparent celluloid that maybe place on top of a production cel (overlay) or underneath a production cel (underlay) that was photographed in the making an animated film or television production. Overlays/underlays are created from separate layout drawings sometimes called books to create a sense of depth for filmed shot using the multiplane camera developed by Walt Disney during the 1930's.

Key Master Setup - this term refers to the complete grouping of production cels (character & special effects), overlays, underlays and backgrounds that are needed to complete a camera shot. All the elements that appear in the final version of the film are referred to as a matching setup and typically one cel level will be referenced to another or the background. This is the rarest form of animation art and the most sought after by collectors.

Courvoisier Setup - The Courvoisier Gallery was licensed by Walt Disney to sell animation art from 1937 to 1946. In normalized condition, Courvoisier setups usually possess a non-production background and a cream colored mat with the character name or film title written in pencil below the mat opening. In addition, it will also display an encircled "WDP" or "WDP embossed or stamped on teh mat and/or the background. "WDP" indicates that the set-up was created before 1939. There may also be a Courvoisier label on the reverse side.

Cel Setup with lithographic background,
Scrooge McDuck and nephew,
All New Adventure of Disney's Sport Goofy, 1987.

Production Background (music room),
Aladdin, 1995.

Key master setup,
Scrooge McDuck
Ducktales, circa 1980's.

Key master setup with multiple overlays,
move mouse over to view different overlays,
Hercules, 1996.

Art corner label

Copyright 1996, The Animation Artshop, Inc.
Last Updated Februay 1, 2000
Mickey Mouse and other related images Copyright, Walt Disney Company