Cutting the cost of cel animation

Being blessed with the gift of being able to draw, I have never used any other medium – cut-outs, models etc. nor do I use a story board as such, I do often buy children’s books and prepare my cels and backgrounds as the story unfolds. I find this better than a script or story board. I guess some of the purists will say I’m wrong, but I’m a little too long in the tooth (false) to change now.

Still, every Christmas when all the family arrive for the yearly cine show, I do have new short cartoons, which my grandchildren haven’t seen on TV. Often the films are about them or their mums and dads doing the wildest things in the Story of Cinderella or some oldie of that sort. That is one of the joys of this medium, you alone decide the actions and fate of your subjects. These short cartoons etc do certainly help the enjoyment of the younger ones, who after all are not too interested in say – our holiday that year – or some of the ageing library film stock that the new entry of video seems to be leaving us with. Mind you I’m not knocking video. I like it as an entertainment addition to the tripe these TV companies turn out – especially when there is all that Wimbledon and World Cup football cover. If our Japanese friends ever bring out a single frame video camera as good as their cine ones it would ease the cost of film stock if nothing else.

Well I hope these few lines will help someone who is perhaps thinking of trying his or her hand at this delightful hobby. But be on your guard, make sure you have an understanding wife, for you will find it a time consuming hobby, during which time your lawn will keep on growing and your hall will want painting and so on.

D.I.Y. ROSTRUM (Fig. 1 below) Camera mounting plate secured with two conduit clamps at required height on the conduit runners.
Peg board slides in timber dowled runners N to S & E to W as required to frame shot.
A Perspex plate covers the peg board to prevent cels curling with lamp heat.

DRAWING BOARD (Fig. 2 below)
Piece of ply ~ inch thick with 2” x 1” wood back strip. Drill to take cel pegs. Use a piece of punched paper as a marker. Pegs can be dowel rod. A line is drawn on the board to show the ccl divide.

CEL LEVELS (Fig. 3 below)
Cel base is held. Upper cel has the moving parts on it.

PANNING BACKGROUND (Fig. 4)
B/G punched for panning on fixed pegs.

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Originally printed in Animator’s newsletter Issue 2 (Autumn 1982)

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