Sailormoon Production Artwork - Intro
Age Rating: 10 +
If you've seen any of my recent additions to the Sailormoon image galleries, you might have noticed that many items are defined as "Sailormoon Production Artwork". What this means is that these items were actually used in the making of the anime. They are as authentic to Sailormoon artwork as one can get.
Production artwork consists of several different items. In this introduction, you'll find a list of all the major kinds of artwork. Further installments under this title will include more details about the specific kinds of artwork around and where to locate these items should you want to add some to your collection.
Let's get started, ne?
All animation starts from an idea and a pre-existing group of characters needed to help bring this idea to life. This is where Settei comes into play. Settei are sheets of paper that introduce a character to an animator. They are generally designed by the show's Key Animator(someone who has 10+ yrs of drawing experience). Settei vary - some may feature 'front' and 'back' sketches of what the character may look like or several different expressions that a character has or some feature backgrounds that are commonly used throughout the series.
Once the characters have been developed, a script needs to be made. This gives the animators a plot and helps them visualize the action.
When the script has been finalized, the episode director will create a storyboard. Unlike the large versions that you might have seen with US animation companies, since space is limited in Japan, all storyboards are done on 11x15 pieces of paper. The director will sketch out the characters and write the dialogue next to them.
Once the storyboard has been finalized, the key animators analyze the storyboard and brainstorm ways of how to express the dialogue visually. If a sequence is particualarly important, an animator may sketch out a particular sequence or create a test cel. Test cels are cels that show a character in a particular outfit or moment. They aide animators in that they give them a visual representation as to how that character will look like when it's on the screen. The settei, storyboard and rough sketches/test cels are generally referred to as "pre-production artwork" because they were never used in the final product.
After the brainstorming concludes, the animation team will prepare layouts of each 'scene'. Layouts are done on pieces of paper and generally highlight the principle action of each sequence. These scenes are called cuts and each cut is done on one background(though, rarely, multiple backgrounds are involved). A cut will be divided into movements and anywhere from one cel to 200 will be used.
Once the layouts and backgrounds are created, the key animators and their understudies begin to draw the action. A key animator will draw several sketches to be used in each sequence while the understudies will work on sketches to be used inbetween those that the key animator draws. There are several different types of sketches that are used during this process and something that I will elborate on later.
Once the sketches are finished and examined by the key animators and directors, they are sent to another studio to made into pieces of plastic called cels. Cels are made from pieces of plastic called acetate. Cels are the final product of this process, and they are the items that you see shown on the screen.