Animation is an exacting art, so it is important to have the appropriate tools for its creation.
In addition to the obvious pencils and erasers, there is a whole range of items that, ideally, the animator needs access to when working on a film. The following list has been compiled with a large production in mind and may seem prohibitively expensive to most students and amateur filmmakers. It must therefore be stressed that animation can be produced with a minimum of equipment and facilities.
Paper and Cel. There is no specific paper on which animation should be drawn, although the paper must be substantial enough to flip (that is, for you to hold a whole series of sheets of animation drawings together in one hand and flip them with the other hand to simulate the moving action and check it for obvious flaws). At the same time, the paper must be translucent enough for you to see the essentials of the next drawing through the top sheet. Whatever paper is used, it must first be punched for registration pegs and almost always cut to the standard 12-inch or 15-inch field sizes (described on page 90). Animation supply companies provide ready-punched and ready-cut paper and eel on request.
Acetate, or eel, for animation can be bought in various degrees of thickness. If it is too thick, however, it will not allow sufficient light through for you to see any artwork placed below it when several levels are shot together. The standard thickness for animation eel is 0.090 mm (0.005 inch) with a range from 0.075 mm to 0.125 mm.
Paper and Cel Punch. All animation is registered by placing each punched sheet of paper or eel consecutively on standardized registration pegs, so it does not move in relation to the other sheets. If you do not use ready-punched animation paper and eel, then you will need a peg-hole punch for registration. For the professional, two regular systems are available; each basically consists of one round hole in the center of the animation paper or eel, with a long hole to either side of it, to avoid any pivoting of the paper.
For the beginner and amateur filmmaker, however, it is possible to construct a system using an ordinary office hole punch, available from office supply stores.
Peg Bar. Obviously, if the animation paper or eel is punched for registration, it must be suitable for the registration system used. This registration system involves placing the paper on a peg bar, which can be purchased from any animation supplier or good art store. Before you buy the peg bar, however, make sure that its peg system is compatible with the peg system of your punch, or the ready-punched paper and eel available to you.
The nonprofessional can easily construct a peg bar by inserting two thin wooden dowels in the work surface and making sure they are positioned in perfect alignment with the punch holes produced by the office hole punch.
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