Traditional animation techniques.
Traditional animation is made up of several techniques and processes, including cel animation. To give you a better idea of how those iconic animations were put together, we’ve detailed some of those below.
The practice of hand drawing individual frames of animation on sheets of thin, transparent plastic. These animations were called animated cels and the technique, popularised by Disney from the late 1930s, became known as cel amination. The outline is drawn on one side and the colour added on the other and then the animated cel is placed over a pre-created background and photographed.
Cel overlay is part of the cel animation process that transformed how animated films were made in the mid-20th century. Characters were hand-drawn on plastic sheets and placed over existing backgrounds. These sheets of animated cels are called ‘the overlay’ because it’s being laid over the background, enabling characters to move and change their positions and expressions.
Frame by frame cel drawing created animated cels that looked incredible — rich in detail, colour and depth. But the process itself was time consuming and drained resource. Limited animation was developed as a compromise. Where possible, teams using limited animation techniques would re-use existing frames, only creating new animated cels where necessary.
An animation loop is an animation that repeats. Generally, it will be a relatively short and simple sequence of animation set to continually replay. The first animation loops date back to the early 1900s and were used in Steamboat Willie, a short film by Walt Disney from 1928. In more recent years, digital technology transformed what could be achieved with animated loops.