Home made Cels for animation

As well as trying to understand the basics of animation and looking into the actual practice of animating using hand drawn methods, I felt as though I should touch upon the creation of the cel based part of the animation process.
I had looked into some of the methods that people have used to create cel based work and methods without having to purchase cel paints. Cel paints start powder based until you add water of course, but looking at various blogs and discussion pages for animators, alot of people had mentioned using acrylic paints as a substitue.

Here’s the process I went through though to make my own home made style animation cels.
I first took one of the drawings from the walk cycle and I drew it out again, just because of the animation paper size and wanting to experiment, I changed it to work on an A4 sized piece of paper.

With the drawing I had then photocopied the line work onto a sheet of acetate. The first sheet of acetate didnt’ actually work very well simply because the sheet wasn’t thick enough and had wrinkled under the heat of the photocopier. The second time I had photocopied it though, I had used a thicker sheet of acetate which stayed much more flat. With this sheet I had then flipped it over to try to paint on the back of it.
The paint I had used was acrylic with only a little bit of water, but this didn’t turn out great.

My painting skills aren’t great so it struggled with this part and understanding the right consistancy of paint. So after looking around on the internet to only find the same information, I went over to some of my friends in Visual Communications to help with materials and ideas. Bobby and myself went through a few various mediums to see what could work, as can be seen above, as well as a few other people getting interested and pitching in ideas. In the end we couldn’t reach any suitable method but layering the paint.

After looking at the sheet, I thought about, although it was some what of a ‘sell out’, digitally painting the character within Photoshop and then printing it out to then photocopy that to be placed onto an acetate sheet.



As you can see I forgot to flip the image as when you photocopy it, you want the inked side to face the surface so that the shiny side is facing upwards. The results looked great but it doesn’t have as much presence as the inked cels. Although this is a nice alternative, cel paints will always have a greater appeal as well as being cleaner and vivid.


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