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Terminology Series:   (2D) Animation and Cartoon Glossary

 
Click to read instructions for the glossary and show links to our other Glossaries.

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Computer & Internet Glossary
A     B     C     D     E     F     G     H     I     J     K     L     M     N     O     P     Q     R     S     T     U     V     W     X     Y     Z
A

Above the Line Costs
All expenditures over and above the production cost of the Crew, facilities, and regular budget expenditures, such as Producer and Director. See also Below the Line Costs.

Academy
Standard 4:3 format screen ratio used in television, videos and film.

Acme
For Film: commonly used peg registration system used in hand-drawn or 2D animation. Comprised of a central round hole and one elongated hole set on either side of it.
For Cartoons: fictitious manufacturing company.

Action Model
Similar to Model Sheets. A sheet(s) showing typical movements and expressions of a character.

Aerial Image
Film process of combining live action with animation. Animation is filmed conventionally on camera with top lighting while the live action is simultaneously back projected through the camera lens and onto the film.

Agency, Advertising Agency
The organization responsible for a company’s advertising strategy, scripted ideas, marketing, and advertising production.

Agent
An agent who presents an artist or animator’s work to prospective clients in pursuit of a commission. Also known as Artist Rep.

Alpha Channel
The fourth channel that digitally accompanies the standard three RGB color channels, allowing for transparency when compositing with other image levels. See also RGB.

Analog Tape
Recording tape which reproduces sound or picture by a magnetic tape process.

Animatic
Storyboard panels on film showing simple animation, camera moves, special F/X precisely timed to a dialogue and/or music track to give a general idea of how the film will look.

Animation
A series of drawings that bring inanimate objects and characters to life. See also 2D Animation, Stop Motion, and CGI.

Animation Characters
Imagined and designed characters that are brought to life by an animator’s skill.

Animation Layout
Accurate drawing which plots out the size and placement of action within a scene, prior to animation. There are conventionally two different kinds of layout in 2D animation; the background layout and the animation layout.

Animator
A skilled artist with the ability to bring life to an inanimate drawings or images. Also known as Key Animator.

Answer Print
The final color-graded film print containing the soundtrack and picture combined.

Anticipation
A preemptive action in the opposite direction to the main action, which provides added emphasis or impetus to it.

Arc
Curved path of action through with an animated movement travels.

Art Director
In animated films will create settings, color palettes, lighting, determine character and prop styles, and may also design layouts. An artist responsible for conceiving the overall visual styling of a film. A creative lead in games production.

Artist Rep
An Agent who represents and presents an artist or animator’s work to prospective clients in pursuit of a commission.

Artwork
All the created visual materials that make up an animated film.

Assistant Animator
Junior (or trainee) animator who assists the Key Animator in putting in the major inbetweens of a scene.

Atmos
Background sound F/X that need to be added to the audio track to give the scene a natural sounding atmosphere (e.g. birds singing, traffic sounds, crickets at night, etc).

Atmospheric Sketches
Experimental color sketches depicting moods or settings for a film.

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B

Background
Finished artwork depicting all that does not move in an animation scene. Usually seen behind the animated action in the form of an overlay level. Opposite of Foreground.

Background Layout
Accurate drawing the depicts everything in a scene that is to appear in the background, prior to the animation or background art being created.

Barsheet, Bar Sheet
Traditionally were printed aids indicating footage and frame counts with space to write music and sound cues beneath. Now largely replaced by computer editing programs.

Beat
A turning point or major change in the plot or action. Also referred to as Story Beat.

Beat Boards
Storyboards showing only the main points of the story and major actions in the film; a visual outline of a story. Also referred to as Outline Boards.

Below the Line Costs
All budgeted costs, other than those indicated in Above the Line Costs. Usually relating to the more general Crew and equipment costs.

Beta
Format of industry standard video tape used for certain broadcast-quality TV production. Also, test software that is freely released prior to version-controlled changes.

Bible
A pictorial guide to all aspects of the characters, props, and backgrounds. Television animation Bibles may include clean model sheets, brief story outlines and written descriptions of the character’s personality and attitudes. Feature film Bibles may include reference and inspirational art assembled as style guides for designers and layout artists. In television, also referred to as a Model Pack.

Bi-pack
Traditional method of combining live action with animation in the camera.

Bid
Budgeting estimate presented to an agency by a production company when Pitching for a contract to produce a short film or commercial.

Blank Leader
Black, white, or colored filmstrip that an editor adds to the beginning (or sometimes the end) of a filmed scene or sequence to provide into time when working on an editing bench. Also known as Slug.

Blue Sky
Early stage of development where any ideas are acceptable.

Blue Screen
Method of filming live action that enables the actors to be separated from the background and composited later with another live action, CG, or drawn background. The color blue is typically used in Blue Screen, however any strong even color will serve the same purpose. Blue and Green Screens are most prevalent.

Blues
Pencil animation drawings created using a blue color-erasable pencil.

Boarding
The act of drawing storyboards.

Boil, Boiling
Inconsistently applied color that moves independently of character and background motion. The flickering that occurs when a number of animated images containing differing painted textures are filmed in sequence. Boiling also occurs when there is extensive cross-hatching form drawing to drawing, or if the lines of each drawing differ from each other significantly whether by accident or by design.

Breakdown Drawing
The first inbetween drawing that is created by the Key Animator or Assistant Animator between to key frames.

Breaking It Down
The process where a sound editor or animator produces a frame-by-frame phonetic analysis of an audio track containing dialogue, narration, or song lyrics so the animation may be accurately matched to it. May also include a similar analysis of the Beats and main instrumentation found in a music track for the same purpose.

Budget
Estimated costs of a production based upon a known script, visual stylings, and animation approach.

Burning-in
The traditional film process of superimposing a brighter image onto a previously exposed darker one. The most basic use of this is to add white titles to a previously untitled film sequence.

Byte
A unit of measurement that defines the size of computer data. There are eight bits to a byte, a thousand bytes to a megabyte, a million bytes to a gigabyte, and one billion bytes in a terabyte.

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C

Camera Instruction Sheets
Pre-printed charts on which the animator can indicate the order of their drawings, the timing of these drawings, the layers for each drawing and the location of the background, as well as other special F/X material that will be included in any particular scene. Also known as Dope Sheets.

Cash Flow
Projection of how much, and when, the finances estimated in the Budget will need to be accessed throughout the production schedule, usually on a week-by-week, and sometimes day-by-day, basis.

Cel
Sheets of clear acetate onto which the animation drawings are linked, traced or Xeroxed before being painted.

Cel Paints
Traditional color paints that are applied to the back of cels, once animation has been traced in line of the front.

Cel Punch
Engineered, precision instrument that produces accurate registration holes in animation paper and cel. The Acme punch system is the most commonly used.

Cel Rack
A studio shelving unit that allows animation paper to a stacked or wet painted cels hung to dry. Also known as Paper Rack.

Cel Xeroxing
Traditional method of copying drawn 2D animation artwork onto cels using a modified photocopying machine.

Center of Gravity
The inner point within a character where its entire volume, weight and mass are centrally focused.

CGI
Computer-generated imagery commonly referred to as 3D or three-dimensional animation. Imagery created in width, height, and depth special parameters.

Character Design
The visual representation of a character which is to be animated or created.

Charts
See Dope Sheets.

Cheats, Cheating
A technique that allows a stylized or graphic design to appear to move in three-dimensional spaces. Example: Mickey Mouse’s ears are cheated as the head turns.

Checker
Member of the 2D animation production team who meticulously checks for errors with the animation, background art, and Dope Sheets, prior to filming or scanning.

Checking
The process undertaken by the Checker.

Cinemascope
2.35:1 film screen ratio that is achieved by using a special anamorphic lens which squeezes the image when filmed and then expends it back to the original dimension when run through an appropriate projector.

Clean
A very clean and close-to-final design. Opposite of Rough. Also known as Tight.

Clean Up
The act of standardizing the appearance of a drawing or image by the Clean Up Artist.

Clean Up Artist
The member of an animation team who converts rough animation drawings into finely inked, finished artwork, reflecting the final design style designated for the film, prior to tracing or scanning.

Cleanups
Model sheets, background, layout, or drawings that have had their line quality standardized and rough construction details erased or removed.

Click Track
Guide musical soundtrack, which contains a metronome beat, allowing the animator to time and pace the action prior to the final soundtrack being recorded.

Color Gels
Colored, transparent cels that are laid over finished animation artwork in traditional 2D animation.

Color Grading
Fine-tuning color adjustments made to the look of a film once everything has been completed.

Color Keys
Copies of panels from the storyboard with characters and backgrounds rendered in color to set the palette, mood, and lighting.

Color Models
Standardized color for characters and props. Each character may have several color models depicting its appearance at different times of the day, changes of costume or mood, or in changing seasons. Other terms used are Color Designs and Color Concepts.

Color Script
A series of small color keys in a timeline showing all changes in the color palettes from the first sequence to the last.

Colorist
An artist or designer who uses color in a special or skillful way. Also, a member of the production team. who is responsible for painting the animation drawings once they have been transferred onto cel by the inker. Also known as Painter

Commissioning Editor
Individual employed by film or television companies to identify, develop, and then hopefully green light new projects for final production.

Composer
Individual responsible for writing and arranging the musical content of the film.

Compositing
The procedure of combining various separate elements (e.g., live action with animation, layers of animation, and special F/X) through the editing process.

Concept Art
Images created that define the overall creative look of a film. Also referred to as Design Concepts.

Construction Model
A simple breakdown of a character into its component shapes. It enables an artist to move and judge proportions in dimensional space.

Copy
Written text material specifically contained in a manuscript.

Copywriter
Member of an advertising agency creative team who is responsible for writing a commercial script.

Corporate Sponsorship
Finance from a major industrial corporation or business entity that can help finance the production of a film.

Creative Team
Members of a team responsible for developing a proposed project for final production.

Crew
The artists working on an animation production team. A Story Crew works on storyboards, character design, and development.

Cut
The point in a film where one scene ends and another begins.

Cut Outs
Separate pieces of hand-shaped and cut-up animation artwork that is moved under the camera or on the screen, frame by frame.

Cutting
The process undertaken by the editor when assembling all the scenes of a film together.

Cutting Copy
A film double-head presentation of the production. The visual action of the production is projected on one strip of film while the soundtrack is played on another.

Cycle Animation
A process of economizing animation; the same action can be repeated (e.g., a walk or a run action) to get a maximum screen time out of a minimum of moves.

CYMK
Color management system used in printing where all the color representation is broken down into varying degrees of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

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D

Dailies
The initial film print of shot film, often received the day after it has been shot. Sometimes referred to as Rushes.

Dead Zone
The first six frames of a scene where it is said that the human brain cannot detect image or movement.

Design Concept
Images created that define the overall creative look of a film. Also referred to as Concept Art.

Design Stage
The phase in the production schedule at the beginning of the film when all the design work is undertaken.

Designer
Member of the production team who is responsible for the design content of the film.

Development Package
A collection of presentation material (script, design, budget, cash flow, legal documents, etc.) so investors can assess the production from every conceivable angle.

Dialogue
All the spoken material in a soundtrack.

Diffusion Filter
A filter that is placed over the camera lens to create a soft, diffused look to the scene.

Digital Tape
A process which captures audio material digitally as opposed to the old analog approach.

Director
Member of the production team who is responsible for the overall interpretation, styling, performance, and timing of a film.

Dissolve
The moment in a film where one scene fades out as another scene fades in. A transition between two scenes. Also known as Mix.

Distribution Rights
An agreement negotiated between a producer and a distributor of a film, where the right to show the film in specific regions of the globe is legally obtained.

Dope Sheet
A printed or digital graph depicting each frame of a scene, with specific layers assigned for animation. It also contains action and dialogue columns for timing and track breakdown. Also known as Exposure Sheets or Camera Instruction Sheets.

Double Bounce
Style of animated walk where the character’s body bounces up and down twice during one step.

Double Take
An animated character’s exaggerated reaction to an event that he or she has just witnessed.

Double-head
The film when picture and soundtrack are projected separately but in sync with one another.

Drawing Board
The artist’s drawing surface.

Dub
Process of mixing the music, dialogue, and sound F/X onto one soundtrack.

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E

Edit Suite
Audio facility where all the visual elements of a film are edited, or dubbed together.

Edit
The process of joining all the scenes of a film together, often in conjunction with the soundtrack.

Editor
Creative member of the production team who supervises the edit.

Electric Pencil Sharpener
Important time-saving equipment for all cartoonists, artists, and 2D animators.

Establishing Shot
A shot at the beginning of a film which sets up the story setting for the audience.

Evolution
In hand-drawn animation, the simplification and refinement of a character as test animation indicates areas to improve upon.

Exposure Sheet
A printed or digital graph depicting each frame of a scene, with specific layers assigned for animation. It also contains action and dialogue columns for timing and track breakdown. Also known as a Dope Sheet.

Exposure Test
A test undertaken by the cameraman to ascertain the correct exposure of a scene or special F/X within it.

Extra Charges
Costs that are incurred outside of the original budget.

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F

Feature Film
Full-length movie most commonly shown in a cinema or on television.

Field Center
The central point within a field guide from which all measurements are made.

Field Size
Area within the animation artwork that the camera will see.

Film Optical
The traditional process of joining live action with animation or of adding graphics, titles, dissolves, or visual F/X to an existing piece of film.

Film Size
Defines the specific width of film stock being used (e.g., 8mm, 16mm, Super 8, etc.)

Film Stock
Defines the nature of film stock being used (e.g., color, black and white, film speed, etc.)

Final Shoot
Stage of filming where the finished color animation artwork is shot.

Final Track
Stage of recording when the soundtrack is completed and approved.

First Pass
In animation, character design, and storyboards, the first pass is the initial presentation of the artwork to the leads or directors.

Fixed Costs
Overheads contained in the budget (rent, rates, leases, etc.)

Flipbook
A simple process of movement created by drawing small figures in the corner of a book and watching them move as the pages are flipped.

Flipping
A technique where a 2D animator can review up to five animation drawings positioned on the pegs of his desktop at once by interweaving his fingers between each drawing and flipping them sequentially as if they were a simple Flipbook. Also a process of reviewing a whole scene of drawings by holding them up in one hand and flicking through them at a constant pace with the other. Also known as Rolling.

Flop
To reverse the staging on a storyboard drawing, or mirror the action without making other changes in staging. Flopping the drawing is not the same as flipping it over.

Footage
Length of a film, or sequence, in feet and frames.

Footage Rate
Amount of film footage to be completed each week (or even each day) by the animator or assistant animator to meet the schedule.

Foreground
Finished artwork depicting all that does not move in an animation scene. Usually seen in front of the animated action in the form of an overlay level. Opposite of Backgrounds.

FPS
Abbreviation for frames per second. A rate of speed the film is projected. For example cinema and U.S. television = 24fps, British television = 25 fps, High Quality = 30 fps.

Frame
The fixed boarder of the screen or monitor. A set area where all animation action takes place. In storyboarding, frame is synonymous with Panel. Might also refer to a single panel within a strip of film.

Freeze
A moment in the action where an animated character stops moving for a specific number of frames. Also known as a Hold.

Frosted Cel
A diffused sheet of acetate used in traditional 2D animation that may be drawn on with regular lead pencils. When drawing is completed, the frosted cel is lightly sprayed with lacquer which turns all undrawn areas transparent like a regular cel.

Funny Money
Term given to film finance derived from unorthodox sources such as private investors who have a personal interest in the nature of the film they are backing. Alternatively, finance that comes from dubious or illegal sources, such as money launderers and drug dealers.

FX or F/X
Abbreviation for “effects” (visual or sound).

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G

Graded Print
A double-head film print which has been corrected to match the colors of the original animation artwork.

Graticule
A grid guide that allows the animator to calculate and define the field sizes of various scenes within a film.

Green Light
The approval of a project by an investor or distributor.

Green Screen
Method of filming live action that enables the actors to be separated from the background and composited later with another live action, CG, or drawn background. The color blue is typically used in Blue Screen, however any strong even color will serve the same purpose. Green and Blue Screens are most prevalent.

Guide Track
A preliminary soundtrack that gives the animator an idea of what the final track will be like. Especially useful when blocking out animated action before the final audio track is available. Often used for Animatics when a sequence is being planned out.

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H

Hand Tracing
The process where the animation is traced, by brush or pen, onto the cel by an inker.

Handout
A storyboard, animation, or design assignment.

Hi-Definition (Hi-Def)
TV system which uses 1000 scan lines to provide a picture on the screen, as opposed to 625 lines (in the U.K.) or 525 lines (in the U.S.). See also NTSC and PAL.

Highlight
An effect element which creates an illuminated effect on the brightest side of an object or character.

Hit
Strong emphasis created in the animated action usually in synchronization with an important sound or beat in the music.

Hold
A moment in the action where an animated character stops moving for a specific number of frames. Also known as a Freeze.

Hot Spot
Area on the animation artwork which is over-exposed due to uneven lighting on the camera table or in the scanner.

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I

Image Map
A term used in game animation to indicate the background image.

Implied Geometry
The process in drawing where objects in the foreground take successive precedence over objects that are further away from them in the background to create the illusion of scale, form, and perspective. For example, when a character points toward the camera, the nearest part of the forefinger will take precedence in size and line over the next part of the finger, which will in turn take precedence over the third part of the finger, followed by the various elements of the hand, the forearm, the upper arm, shoulder and body.

Inbetweens
Drawings that are positioned between two key drawings or key frames.

Inbetweener
An assistant animator who produces inbetween drawings.

Inbetweening
The process of drawing inbetween drawings.

Inker
Member of a film production team who is responsible for transferring the original drawing onto animation cels or individual sheets of paper prior to scanning. Also known as Tracer.

Inking
The process undertaken by an Inker.

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J

Jockey
The nickname for someone who is adept at using software.

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K

Key Animator
Skilled artist with the ability to bring life to inanimate drawings or images.

Key Drawing
A major animation drawing, created by a key animator, which represents an extreme position within a movement.

Key Frames
Specific scenes within a film.

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L

Lab
Film processing laboratory.

Lay Down, Laid Down
Timing dialogue, music, or F/X to a soundtrack. See also Slugging.

Layout Drawing
Detailed sketch which indicates everything that appears in a scene.

Layouts
Layout is developed from storyboard and includes backgrounds, camera angles and apertures, props, overlays, and rough character poses for each scene as a guide for the animators and background artists.

Leica Reel
Filmed layout drawings that are shown in sync with the approved soundtrack. See also Animatic and Story Reel.

Line Drawing
Pencil animation drawing, prior to the inking and coloring process.

Linetest
Hand drawn animation that is shot against layouts and used to refine timing and action before coloring the art. Also known as Pencil Test.

Lip Sync
A character’s mouth movements that animate in synchronization with the audio track.

Literary Rights Agreement
Negotiated legal contract which enables a filmmaker to animate material that is based on an existing book or published story.

Live Action
The filming of actors in natural scenery, as opposed to drawn or animated action on painted backgrounds.

Location
A place where live action is filmed or an animated scene is set.

Locked Down
Items that are finished, without the possibility to make further changes.

Log Line
A single sentence that describes the story.

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M

Mag Track
Soundtrack which is recorded onto 35mm or 16mm magnetic film stock.

Map
The background behind any games production action.

Maquette
A three-dimensional sculpture of a character allowing artists to view it from all sides. They help determine lighting on characters when combined with backgrounds. French term meaning model or mock-up.

Mark-Up
The percentage of a budget that represents profit for the filmmaker.

Master Background
The animated equivalent of a live-action master shot. Establishes the setting, lighting, and scale of a sequence but may not be an actual production background.

Match Cut
An editing device where a character is in a set position at the end of one scene and in the identical position at the start of the next scene, but possibly with a different background. A match cut can work with either a static image or a moving sequence.

Matchline
Different colored line, drawn onto an animation drawing, which indicated the limits of the coloring area, to create the illusion that the part is behind an object on the background when it is composited. Alternatively, a line which indicates where a body part on one level matches the rest of the body on another level.

Matte
An area which blanks-out a specific area on the background or character, so another image or character can be composited into it.

Matte Run
An F/X element, used in compositing work, which extends the matting process throughout a scene of animated movement.

Merchandising
A means by which extra revenue is obtained from the exploitation of a film, such as toys, games, books, etc.

Mix
The moment in a film where one scene fades out as another scene fades in. A transition between two scenes. Also known as Dissolve.

Model Pack
A pictorial guide to all aspects of the characters, props, and backgrounds. Television animation style guides that may include clean model sheets, brief story outlines and written descriptions of the character’s personality and attitudes. In television, also referred to as a Bible.

Model Sheet
A sheet(s) showing typical movements and expressions of a character. A guide for construction and appearance of a character or prop and standardizes several animators work with the character or prop. See also Rough Model, On Model, Off Model, Action Model, and Cleanups.

Morph, Morphing
A change in attitude or motion that is accomplished by modifying the character’s design and growing (or morphing) it into the next pose. Unlike Cheat, this is usually visible to the viewer.

Multi-Plane Camera
Specially designed camera from the early Disney studio which offered the opportunity to film separate levels of animation at different speeds, creating the illusion of three-dimensional depth.

Mute
A film sequence that contains no audio track.

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N

Neg Cutting
The traditional process requiring the careful cutting of a film’s negative to match the cut arrived at with the double-head version.

Negative Pick-Up
Distribution deal which states that the distributor need not pay the film’s producer any investment money until final version is completed.

NTSC
TV broadcast system used in the U.S. and other selective countries. Because it uses an inferior definition standard of 525 lines, NTSC has been jokingly described as Never Twice the Same Color. See also Hi-Definition and PAL.

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O

Off Model
Character appearance that does not conform to the Model Sheet. Normal distortion is considered On Model.

On Model
Character appearance that conforms to the Model Sheet.

Optical Track
Visual soundtrack stripe that is seen along the edge of a theatrical film print, which enables the audio material to be heard simultaneously as the picture is projected.

Option Agreement
Negotiated legal arrangement which allows the filmmaker to purchase the right to develop copyright material for a set period of time, with a view to seeking final production funding for the project.

Outline
A brief written description of the story.

Outline Boards
Storyboards showing only the main points of the story and major actions in the film; a visual outline of a story. Also referred to as Beat Boards.

Overlapping Action
Technique used by animators which offers a more fluid look to the action by delaying some of the secondary movement behind that of the main movement.

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P

Packshot
The scene usually at the end of a commercial which presents the product a client is advertising.

Painter
Member of the production team who is responsible for painting the animation drawings once they have been transferred onto cel by the inker. See also Colorist.

PAL
TV broadcast system used in the U.K. and other countries which provides a 625-line resolution to the picture. See also Hi-Definition and NTSC.

Palette
The selection of color swatches available within a print program. The range of colors available is usually severely limited with game or web productions.

Pan
Film action that has the camera traveling across a scene to suggest breadth and movement.

Panel
An individual storyboard; synonymous with Frame.

Paper Rack
A studio shelving unit that allows animation paper to a stacked or wet painted cels hung to dry. Also known as Cel Rack.

Passing Position
The midway position between two extreme key/stride positions in an animated walk.

Peg Bar
The peg device upon which punched animation paper or cels are placed for consistent registration.

Peg Hole Reinforcements
Adhesive paper or plastic reinforcements that are fixed around the punch holes of animation paper or cels, preventing them from tearing.

Peg Holes
Specific holes punched into animation paper or cels to aid the precise registration of drawings.

Pencil Mileage
Highly detailed and rendered artwork or difficult design.

Pencil Test
Hand drawn animation that is shot against layouts and used to refine timing and action before coloring the art. Also known as Linetest.

Percentage Exposure
A traditional F/X technique which enables one aspect of the artwork within a scene to be seen as transparent.

Photo-Rotos
Full-size photographic prints of live-action footage, printed frame by frame to match the animation field size being used, which enable an animator to register their animation drawings to elements within the live-action footage. Also known as Rotoprints.

Pickup
A line of dialogue that is recorded after the original recording session to incorporate script changes or a partial retake of a line.

Pilot Film
Short taster sequence of finished animation, created specifically to show potential investors what the final proposed film will look like.

Pitch, Pitching
The real time presentation of artwork to an audience. Pitching the boards provides instant feedback on the read-ability or understanding of the story or artwork.

Pixel
The smallest visual unit in a digital picture when viewed on a TV screen or computer monitor. The images seen on the average TV screen or computer monitor are made up of 72 pixels per inch.

Placeholder
A character that is used for Rough Boards before its final appearance has been standardized. Temporary artwork to hold the place for inserting the final image at a later time.

Plus-ing
A creative interpretation or additional that improves the original story or design.

Pop, Pop It
A graphic shorthand used to turn a character in space without actual three-dimensional movements. The views change abruptly with no in-between poses. Many characters will pop from three quarter views to full face or profile.

Post-production
Compositing of pre-existing visual and audio elements to create the finished picture.

Pre-production
The conception, planning, and development of a film and characters. Pre-production artwork does not appear in a finished animation.

Presentation Boards
Highly rendered storyboards with detailed tonal work on characters and backgrounds. Finished illustrations and may include a lot of Pencil Mileage.

Previsuals
The fourth-dimensional interpretation of a three-dimensional storyboard. Moves the camera through scenes and blocks character actions in real time using rough models as placeholders.

Producer
Key member of the production team responsible for ensuring that the film is created on time and on budget, who (within reason) supports the director’s vision for the production and who negotiates all distribution (and incidental) deals with outside investors and distributors.

Production
Creation of artwork that appears in the finished film. This can include CGI models and rigs, animation tests, backgrounds and layouts, soundtracks, and finished color scenes.

Production Company
The organization or studio responsible for the creation of a film.

Production Folders
Pre-printed folders containing all the necessary instructions for the animation team to execute the scene.

Production Line
The processes involved in the production of a film.

Production Team
All the relevant personnel required to create a production.

Projector
Equipment required for the projection of all film in cinematic conditions.

Push It, Pushing
Exaggeration of a design, character, pose or point in a story.

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Q

None Defined.

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R

Readability
Character designs, actions, expressions, or storyboards that are staged in a clear and understandable fashion. Points that don’t read well are generally redone.

Recording Session
The event during which a film’s soundtrack is recorded.

Reds
Pencil animation drawings created using a red col-erase® pencil.

Registration
The 2D process of ensuring that each animation drawing is in perfect alignment with the rest. See also Peg Bar.

Renderer
A member of a 2D animation production team who is responsible for applying textured shading to flat-colored, 2D animation artwork usually with pencils or wax crayons, to create a more 3D or illustrative look. Or a dedicated piece of hardware used exclusively for rendering out completed 3D animations.

Rendering
The work undertaken by a renderer, or the process that comes at the end of 3D animation production.

RGB
The additive form of color management used in TV screens and computer monitors, where all color representation is broken down into varying degrees of red, green, and blue.

Rolling
A technique where animation drawings are flipped while still on the pegs. See Flipping.

Rostrum Camera
Specialized vertically mounted film camera that undertakes the shooting of 2D animation artwork.

Rotoprints
Full-size photographic prints of live-action footage, printed frame by frame to match the animation field size being used, which enable an animator to register their animation drawings to elements within the live-action footage. Also known as Photo-Rotos.

Rotoscope
Device invented by Max Fleischer for tracing live action movement, frame by frame.

Rotoscoping
The process of tracing live action as reference for 2D animated action.

Rough Animation
Loosely and speedily drawn 2D animation that allows an animator to rapidly check the proposed action, prior to any detailed and more time-consuming drawing being attempted.

Rough Boards
Quickly drawn storyboards with basic tonal values designed primarily to tell a story. The may use Placeholder characters or characters that are not On Model.

Rough Model
Model sheets that include standardized Construction Models, Action Models, and comparative sizes for the final characters but do not include Cleanups. Details may not be final and line quality varies. In hand drawn animation Rough Model Sheets are used by animators to maintain the consistency of the character’s construction.

Roughs
Drawings that retain construction lines and may contain variations in line quality.

Rushes
The initial film print of shot film, often received the day after it has been shot. Called dailies in the U.S.

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S

Safe Titling
Area of a full field size within which all titling has to be created. Without it, the text runs the risk of being cut off at the edges or distorted by the outer curvature of the TV screen.

Sales Agent
An agent who is able to take a film development package and sell it to established film financiers on behalf of the film’s producer, receiving a percentage of the production budget as a fee.

Scene Slate
An indication board, filmed at the beginning of a scene, which shows the production, sequence, and scene number of the material being shot.

Scene
An individual sequence of visual action which occurs within a film.

Scene Planning
The process by which a director plots the sequence of shots which will tell the story. Also, the process of assigning timing and action to the animation by way of a dope sheet or bar sheet.

Schedule
An analysis of the timing required for a film production, from beginning to end.

Scratch Test
A soundtrack that is not the final one for the film. Scratch dialogue and music may be used as Placeholders to time the Story Reels and Animatics.

Screen Ratio
The proportions of the screen where the finished product will be viewed. Storyboard panels can be designed to a specific screen ratio, such as widescreen. All storyboard panels will have the same screen ratio.

Screenplay (Script)
A written description of the story, dialogue, and visual content of the film, written and approved prior to the film’s production.

Sequence
A series of consecutive screens relating to characters, settings, or story points.

Setup
A color test in which Color Models and Props are placed over a background to check the Readability and contrast.

Shadow
An area superimposed onto an animated image to indicate the area farthest from a significant light source.

Shadow Run
An F/X element used in compositing work which comprises the required shadowing material for the movement in an entire scene.

Showreel
Collection of a filmmaker or animator’s previous work, collated on DVD or video tape to show the quality of work that the individual is capable of in the hope of attracting future work from potential clients.

Slash Animation
Old style of animation, in pre-cel days, where the character was animated on the lower level and the background was drawn on an upper level with holes cut in it to allow the action to show through.

Slow-in
The process of adding extra inbetween drawings at the end of a movement to ensure that the action decelerates towards the target key.

Slow-out
The process of adding extra inbetween drawings at the beginning of a movement to ensure that the action begins slowly then accelerates from the originating key.

Slug
Black, white, or colored filmstrip that an editor adds to the beginning (or sometimes the end) of a filmed scene or sequence to provide into time when working on an editing bench. Also known as Blank Leader.

Slugging
Indicating the timing for each storyboard panel prior to scanning or shooting a Story Reel. Also determines where dialogue and sound F/X will appear. Today slugging is usually done with computer editing programs or Exposure Sheets.

Sneak
Traditional technique of producing a tip-toe style walk with an animated character.

Sound Bench
Traditional workplace used by sound editors to produce a phonetic breakdown of an audio track.

Soundtrack
All the recorded audio material used in a film. Also knows as Track.

Sprite Animation
The creation of movement using a minimum of pixels, as seen in hand-held games and cell phone graphics.

Stagger
Animation technique used to create a trembling, hesitant, or shaking visual effect.

Steinbeck
Traditional machine used for viewing film at the double-head stage, utilizing what was once known as a flatbed format. However, with the advent of digital technology, Steinbecks are essentially items of the past.

Sting
Short, sharp note or chord in the soundtrack, used to make a dramatic audio emphasis of moment in the film’s action.

Stop Motion
Animation created by moving a part or joined puppet and photographing one frame at a time; real-time three dimensional animation.

Story Beat
A major change in action or plot. A turning point. Also known as Beat

Storyboard
A visual script for motion. In animation, a guide for character performance, action, editing, and staging for the finished film.

Story Head
The director of the story on a feature film. The Story Head assigns handouts, reviews the storyboards before they are present to the directors, and exercises artistic control over the Crew. The Story Head will develop the story and Beat Boards with the writers and directors.

Storyline
Brief written outline of a film’s dramatic content. Also known as Synopsis.

Story Reel
Storyboards shot and timed to dialogue and music. Walt Disney Studio invented the technique and coined the term. See also Leica Reel.

Studio Overheads
Costs relating to the non-creative needs of a production studio (administration, electricity, telephones, etc).

Studio
Location in which the creative aspects of an animation film’s production takes place.

Superimposition (Animation)
The process of taking 2D animation drawings off the pegs, to make 2D inbetweening easier.

Superimposition (Film)
The process of overlaying an image on top of a previously filmed scene (for example a title over a product shot in a commercial or a light through a window at night).

Sweatbox
Screening the Story Reel, Animatic, or animation for a critical audience. Walt Disney Studios was the first to sweatbox Pencil Tests and Story Reels. This is a common industry practice.

Sync
The alignment of sound and mouth action within a scene.

Synopsis
Brief written outline of a film’s dramatic content. Also known as Storyline.

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T

Telecine
Facility suite used for the electronic transfer of film imagery to video tape.

TGA
A graphic file extension widely used in the graphics industry, originally created by Truvision for their Targa and Vista products.

Theatrical Film
Feature length film to be shown in cinema outlets.

Three Dimensional computer or geometric space determined by width, length, and depth.

Three-Dimensional Animation (3D)
Animation using models, puppets, and/or solid objects, but usually that which is created in a computer program.

Thumbnails
Rough drawings or sketches, usually very small in size. Illustrating a story point with small, sketchy drawings to determine Staging.

Tied Down
Finished, finalized, and standardizing a character model, storyboard sequence, or animated scene. After rough art is approved, you will be instructed to “tie it down”. Also known as Locked Down.

Tight
Very clean and close-to-final model design. Opposite of Rough.

Tile
A small graphic image that can be repeated many times to create a larger image with no appreciable increase in file data size. (For example, a single tile of a tree in sprite-based game animation can be used over and over again to produce a forest with no increase in file size).

Tile Ripping
The process of breaking a graphic image down into individual, repeatable tiles so that it can be re-created with minimal file sizes. (Specifically used in hand-held game design).

Tileset
The collection of individual tiles that make up an overall game design.

Tiling
The process of scanning extra-large artwork in sections, then compositing it back together again by overlapping and merging the layers within a computer program such as Photoshop.

Top-lit/Back-lit Shoot
The traditional approach to dual shooting of animation intended for live action/animation composited work.

Tracebacks
Procedure where non-moving portions of an animation drawing are precisely traced for a required number of times from an originating drawing.

Tracer
Member of a film production team who is responsible for transferring the original drawing onto animation cels or individual sheets of paper prior to scanning. Also known as Inker.

Tracing Down
Process of transferring the drawing of a background layout onto a stretched sheet of water-color or cartridge paper, ready for coloring.

Track
All the recorded audio material used in a film. Also knows as Soundtrack.

Track Breakdown
The process whereby the sound editor analyzes every individual sound on a track, frame by frame.

Transfer
The transferring of the soundtrack from the original recording tape to the relevant mag track. See also Mag Track.

Treatment
A written description of the story this is more involved than an Outline. A treatment will include sub-plots and may include rough dialogue. Not as comprehensive as a Script.

Triple Bidding
Procedure undertaken by many advertising agencies, where three competing production companies are invited to bid on a specific commercial script.

Truck-In (Track-in)
Action where the camera moves in on the artwork.

Truck-Out (Track-out)
Action where the camera pulls out from the artwork.

Turnover Session
A review session where directors and story artists make changes to the story boards in real time after a Pitch. Panels that are discarded or changed are literally turned over to show the blank side toward the viewer. Changes may be noted on sticky notes placed over the panels.

TV Cut-Off
Area within the filed size which represents the outer portion of the artwork which may be cut off when viewed on a TV monitor.

Tweak
A minor change or improvement to nearly-finished artwork.

Tweening
The process of adding inbetween positions linking two key positions, either by accurately drawing them or by having a computer render them. Also known as tweening.

Twinning
The effect that is achieved when a drawing or character is too symmetrical. This can be particularly apparent in special F/X animation where cloud, wave, and smoke shapes are too symmetrical and therefore need to be varied and randomized to make them look more natural.

Two-dimensional Animation (2D)
A common term for hand-drawn animation. Animation working in two dimensions (width and height) but lacking the third dimension (depth).

Tying Down
The act of finalizing, finishing, or standardizing a character model, storyboard sequence, or animated scene. After Roughs are approved, one is asked to tie it down. Also known as Locked Down.

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U

Universe
A consistent design element or technique that relates animated characters to one another, props, and backgrounds. An imaginary world.

Up on Reels
Storyboards assembled and timed on film with soundtrack. This may be a Scratch Track produced for a Story Reel, Leica Reel, or Animatic.

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V

Voice-Over
In film, television, video, and multimedia production, any spoken dialogue not attributed to anyone actually in a scene, such as a narrator.

Voice Talent
Actor/Actress used for voice-over recordings.

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W

Wedge Test
A range of varying exposure tests – produced before a final shot – where different degrees of exposures are tested until a satisfactory one is reached.

Weight
Technique in animation that gives the animated character a real sense of heaviness.

Wild Track
Sound recorded without a script, such as chatter, murmurs, sound F/X, or animal noises. These are usually added to the soundtrack near the end of the Production.

Widescreen
Cinematic screen ratio where a standard Academy format is reduced at the top and bottom to give the picture an extended landscape look.

Wooden
A word used by animators to describe a character’s action when it lacks weight, energy, or flexibility. A stiff-looking movement.

Workbook
An intermediate stage between Storyboard and layout in which camera moves are designed to work with Rough feature boards. Workbook drawings are Thumbnails for cinematic staging.

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X

None Defined.

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Y

None Defined.

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Z

Zip Pan
The technique of extremely fast panning across animation artwork.

Zoom
A fast truck-in or truck-out.

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