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2D animation Production Pipeline

2D production pipeline

2D Production Pipeline

Before going any further with my blog and my posts, I thought it necessary to firstly understand how traditional 2D animation is developed from initial concept to finished film.Any films, whether live action or animated, require a huge amount of forward planning in order to be completed. Methods of producing animated films are continually changing and adapting, incorporating more modern and automated methods. However, the basic underlying stages behind the production pipeline remain the same. it is the first steps towards a movie.


The first and most important stage of any film production is the crafting of a story. However, with animated films, emphasis is placed on the visual scripting of the action and performance whereas in a live action film there would be more concern for the dialogue and a scripting is necessary for a movie or a production process and it is not only for animation production, it also necessary for live action movies and by seeing the script an actor used to act and dialogues.


This is the stage where the actions and events in the script are visualized graphically as a sequential series of images. The creation of a storyboard allows the director to detect any problems with the script and to make necessary changes to enhance the story. A lot of adjustments are made at this stage as once production commences, it is much harder and costly to correct mistakes. so a storyboard is some bit of good nature for a film because it helps not only the director but also it is helpful for the whole crew members as well as actor because storyboard gives a pre-visualization to a story or to a shot. and by watching a storyboard a cameramen can pan his camera and it gives much better experienced for the sub members in the production process and producer gets to know about the whole story.

Designs or layout

A style and a look must be agreed for all characters, props, backgrounds and any other visual elements at this stage. The aim is to produce ‘model sheets’ for each element. The model sheet for a character would consist of the final designs and proportions along with a series of drawn action poses which the character is
likely to assume during the animation. The model sheets are then used as a reference by the team of animators to help keep the look of the character consistent throughout.

Leica Reel (Animatic)

A Leica Reel, or animatic, is simply a filmed version of the storyboard edited together to test how the final edited film would play out. This stage allows for the director to adjust the timing of each shot, plan out action sequences and the soundtrack before the real production begins. It is also at this stage that animation
Layouts are produced. This stage is best explained by producer Raul da Silva:

‘This step is used in setting up extremes for character to be used by the key animator…It conveys different information to the storyboard as it gives you an idea of the action required in the sequence of motion and shows the most extreme character poses in the sequence.’

Pencil Tests (Animation)

Once the animatic and all the animation layouts are approved by the director, the animation can finally commence. Using the layouts, the animators complete each shot using one of several available animation methods. They are pose to pose or straight ahead and are described in depth in the next chapter. Once a sequence of animation is completed, then it can be checked by either flipping through the images or sent off to be printed and turned into film. This film of the roughly drawn animation is known as a pencil test.


As each animator has their own individual approach to drawing, it is the job of the clean up artist to make sure the animators work is consistent with regards to design and perspective. Animators are encouraged to draw roughly in a sketchy style as it results in drawings that capture the ‘feel’ of motion as well as the pose.
The clean up artist must then take these rough drawings and replace the sketchy Daniel J Barrett 7 lines with accurate ones taking into account all the subtle details left out by the animator. The clean up artist must also remain faithful to the careful timing and action designed by the animator.


Once all the ‘clean’ frames of animation have been approved by the director they are coloured. Traditionally the drawings would be transferred to thin sheets of acetate known as cells. Colour would then be painted onto the back of the cells. However, this process can now be done digitally.


The checker has the tedious job of making sure every frame of a film is correct before it is passed to the final stages of production. This involves, amongst other things, checking for broken lines, dirt on the acetate, painting mistakes and spotting mistakes and flaws in the character that don’t match the designs.


Once checking is completed and the cell approved, all the elements including animation, backgrounds and special effects must be brought together. Traditionally, this was done via a camera man, but can now be done digitally by a compositor.and the work of a compositor is very tough because he have to arrange all the sequence in a single file and it takes lot of pressure and time.

Final Edit

This is simply the compilation of all the finished frames into one long sequence ready for viewing on the silver screen by which the viewers gets to view a perfect movie.


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