They also control the style of trace lines on the cels when matching the new sequences with the stock scenes. “We have three tracers and they’ve all been fantastic. At the beginning of production we decided on the type of line required and gave the tracers example cels to follow. These showed exactly what weight of line should be used for each size of character, close-up, mid-size and small.”
Fifteen field cels were used for most of the production. “You have much more scope for framing fifteen field artwork,” Ward points out. “Even when the characters were small we drew them on fifteen field. This added quite a bit to the material costs but by using the stock system, and taking into account the flexibility of fifteen field, the extra price was considered worthwhile.
The first seven films at least 25% of the animation consisted of stock. Over the next four it rose to 40% and of the last three films two are 65% stock and the other is 90% stock.
In two of the films I noted the same sequence of a character waking up, getting out of bed, going to the window and looking out. “Pre-school children like the familiarity of such scenes,” maintains Ward. “There should be some recognisable situations each time, also it is cost effective.
“We are working to a reasonably tight budget,” says Ward. “Even if the animator wanted to animate the whole thing on singles, for the same agreed price, we would have to stop them because the extra drawings would still have to be traced, painted and shot.”
The dope sheets tell the animator how many frames are available for a given action but this can be varied in some circumstances. “Often they will call me up and say, ‘Look, its impossible! He does this and that and I haven’t got enough time, but in other scenes I’ve got too much time, can we cut the sound track?’ Or the animator might want to go mad with a certain piece of animation, which would take up more screen time. Nine times out of ten it is possible to cut the track for one scene and allow more for another.”
“B5” – the scenic route, can be altered with overlay “B5/3”, the railway station.
OR into a woodland glade (“B 5/4”). See the illustrations below.
These overlays are on D/pan cel and by utilising these each background can take on several identities.