Cel Animation

Cel Animation

If you want to create a cel animation, you’re in the right place! Video Igniter’s comprehensive guide to creating cel animation has answers to all the most common questions including an explanation of the production process, how long it takes to make a cel animation and what it costs to make a cel animation.

But first, let’s answer the following question:

What is cel animation?

Cel animation, short for celluloid animation, is a traditional animation technique that involves creating animated sequences by hand-drawing characters and objects on transparent sheets of celluloid, known as cels. Each cel represents a single frame of the animation. These cels are then layered on top of static background artwork and photographed or scanned to create the illusion of movement when played in sequence.

Cel animation offers a unique aesthetic appeal, characterized by its handcrafted quality and vivid colors. It has been widely utilized in traditional animated films, television shows, and commercials, lending a distinct charm and personality to the animated characters and their surroundings.

While cel animation was predominantly used in the pre-digital era, it continues to be celebrated and employed in contemporary animation, either through traditional methods or digitally-assisted techniques that replicate the look and feel of traditional cel animation. Its timeless allure and artistic value make cel animation a cherished and respected form of animation in the industry.

Examples of Cel Animation


How is cel animation different from other kinds of animation

Cel animation stands apart from other animation techniques, like computer-generated animation or stop-motion animation, in its unique approach to creating movement. Unlike computer-generated animation that relies on digital software and algorithms, cel animation requires painstaking craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each frame is meticulously crafted by hand, capturing the essence of the characters and bringing them to life in a tangible way.

Here are several key ways in which cel animation differs from other animation techniques:

Traditional Handcrafted Process

Unlike computer-generated or 3D animation, cel animation involves the meticulous process of drawing and painting each frame by hand. Artists create individual cels that are layered together, allowing for a tangible and tactile quality to the animation.

Timeless Aesthetics

Cel animation has a distinct visual appeal, characterized by its vibrant colors, expressive linework, and hand-drawn textures. This traditional look can evoke a sense of nostalgia and charm, creating a unique connection with viewers.

Frame-by-Frame Animation

Cel animation requires animators to create a series of individual frames, each slightly different from the previous one, to convey motion. This frame-by-frame approach allows for precise control over the movement and enables animators to create fluid and nuanced performances.

Artistic Flexibility

Cel animation offers a wide range of creative possibilities. Artists can experiment with different styles, techniques, and visual effects to achieve their desired artistic vision. The handcrafted nature of cel animation allows for expressive character performances and intricate detail in the animation.

Our Expertise in Cel Animation

At Video Igniter, we pride ourselves on our expertise in cel animation. Our team consists of talented artists, animators, and storytellers who have years of experience creating captivating cel animations. We are passionate about the art form and dedicated to delivering exceptional results to our clients. With a deep understanding of cel animation techniques, proficiency in industry-leading software, and a knack for creative storytelling, we are well-equipped to bring your vision to life through the magic of cel animation.

What is the cel animation production process

Now we’ll dive into the production process and explain how a cel animation video is created. The cel animation production process involves several steps, from concept development to final delivery. Our team at Video Igniter follows a streamlined production process to ensure the successful execution of your project while keeping you involved and informed every step of the way.

What is the cel animation production process

1. Concept Development

We start by collaborating closely with you to understand your vision, goals, and target audience. This phase involves brainstorming ideas, developing a script, creating storyboards, and refining the concept until it aligns with your expectations.

Concept Development

2. Character & Scene Design

Once the concept is finalized, our talented artists will create unique and visually appealing character designs that reflect your brand identity and resonate with your audience. You get an opportunity to review the key illustrations for the video and request edits before animation begins. 

3. VoiceOver & Sound

Our team auditions voiceover artists and selects soundtracks that will enhance the presentation of your video. You get to select your favorite voiceover artists and soundtrack(s) for the video. Our team will oversee the recording of the full voiceover and acquire the license to use both the voiceover and soundtrack(s) in your video. You will be given an opportunity to review the full voiceover and request edits before approving the files for production.

Voiceover & Sound

4. Animation

With character designs in place, our animators will bring the cels to life by animating the characters’ movements, expressions, and interactions. This process requires exceptional skill and attention to detail to ensure fluid and convincing animation. You will get to preview a rough cut of the black and white animation and request edits before color is added.


5. Coloring and Backgrounds

After the character animation is complete, our team will carefully color each cel, adding depth and vibrancy to the visuals. Static backgrounds will also be created or selected to complement the animation and enhance the overall aesthetic.

6. Post-Production

Once the animation and coloring are finalized, we will add any necessary sound effects, music, or voiceovers to create a fully immersive experience.

Cel Animation Post-Production

7. Client Feedback and Revisions

Throughout the production process, we value your input and feedback. We encourage open communication at every stage of the production experience to ensure that the final product aligns with your vision and exceeds your expectations.

8. Final Delivery

Once the animation is complete and approved, we will deliver the final video in your preferred format, ready to be shared with your audience and make a lasting impact.

Why should I use cel animation for my project? 

Here are the top advantages and reasons for choosing cel animation for your project:

Timeless Appeal

Cel animation has a timeless quality that evokes nostalgia and emotional connection. Its handcrafted aesthetics and attention to detail create a unique charm that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Narrative Power

Cel animation is a powerful storytelling tool. It allows for complex narratives to be conveyed effectively, capturing the imagination of viewers and immersing them in your brand’s story.

Brand Differentiation

In a competitive market, standing out from the crowd is crucial. Cel animation offers a distinctive visual style that can help your brand leave a lasting impression and differentiate itself from competitors.

Customization and Flexibility

Cel animation allows for a high degree of customization, ensuring that the animation style, character designs, and visual elements align with your brand identity and target audience.

Customization & Flexibility: Tailoring Cel Animation to Meet Your Needs

At Video Igniter, we understand that each client has unique needs and goals when it comes to their cel animation projects. That’s why we take pride in our ability to provide customization and flexibility, ensuring that the final animation aligns perfectly with your brand identity and resonates with your target audience.

How much does cel animation cost?

How much does cel animation cost?

Determining the cost of cel animation can vary significantly depending on various factors. It is essential to consider the complexity of the project, the length of the animation, the level of detail required, and the experience and expertise of the animation studio. Each project is unique, and the cost will be tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of the client.

Cel animation typically involves a labor-intensive process that requires skilled artists and animators to create each frame by hand. This level of craftsmanship and attention to detail contributes to the overall cost of the animation. Additionally, factors such as the number of characters, backgrounds, special effects, and the duration of the animation will also impact the cost.

For smaller-scale projects or simpler animations, the cost may range from a few thousand dollars to a tens of thousands of dollars. For more complex or longer animations, the cost can increase significantly.

It is important to note that while cel animation can be more costly compared to other forms of animation, it offers a unique aesthetic and timeless appeal that can elevate the storytelling and visuals of the animation.

When considering the cost of cel animation, it is crucial to work with a reputable animation studio like Video Igniter. Our team has the expertise and experience to provide accurate cost estimates based on your specific project requirements. We offer transparent pricing and work closely with clients to ensure that the animation aligns with their vision and budget.

If you are interested in creating a cel animation and would like to discuss the cost and feasibility of your project, we invite you to contact Video Igniter or schedule a call with our production team. Our team of experts is ready to guide you through the process and provide you with a detailed cost estimate tailored to your animation needs.

How long does it take to create a video using cel animation?

The time required to create a video using cel animation can vary depending on several factors:

✅  The complexity of the animation

✅  The length of the video

✅  The level of detail

✅  …and the resources available can all influence the timeline for completion.

Cel animation is a meticulous and time-consuming process that involves hand-drawing and painting each frame. This level of craftsmanship and attention to detail contributes to the overall time required for production. Additionally, factors like the number of characters, backgrounds, special effects, and the overall duration of the video will impact the production timeline.

For shorter videos with simpler animations, the production time can range from a few weeks to a couple of months. This includes the pre-production phase, where the concept, storyboard, and character designs are developed, as well as the actual animation and post-production stages.

For more complex or longer videos, the production time can extend to several months or even a year. This is especially true for projects with intricate visuals, detailed character movements, and elaborate backgrounds. The artists and animators meticulously work on each frame, ensuring that the animation flows seamlessly and captures the desired storytelling and emotion.

Rushing through production can compromise the quality of the animation, so it’s crucial to allocate sufficient time for each stage of the process.

When working with an animated video production company like Video Igniter, we can provide you with a realistic timeline for your specific project. Our team of talented artists and animators will work closely with you to ensure that production stays on track and meets your desired deadlines. Contact our team or schedule a call to figure out the production timeline for your video.

How to get your cel animation video project started

If you’re ready to begin your cel animation project, here’s how you can get started:

  1. Define your project: Start by clearly defining your animation project. Determine the goals, target audience, and key messages you want to convey. Consider the style, tone, and overall aesthetic you envision for your animation.
  2. Reach out for a consultation: Contact Video Igniter to schedule a consultation. During this initial discussion, you can share your project details, goals, and any specific requirements you may have. The experts at Video Igniter will provide guidance and insights to help bring your vision to life.
  3. Receive a quote: Once the concept and storyboard are finalized, Video Igniter will provide you with a detailed quote tailored to your project’s scope and requirements. The quote will include the estimated cost, timeline, and deliverables.

To initiate the collaboration process and take the first step towards creating your cel animation, reach out to Video Igniter today or click here to schedule a call

Cel Animation Conclusion

Cel animation is a captivating and timeless art form that continues to capture the hearts of audiences worldwide. By choosing Video Igniter for your cel animation needs, you can trust in our expertise, creativity, and commitment to delivering outstanding results. Whether you’re looking to create captivating commercials, engaging explainer videos, or memorable brand stories, our team is dedicated to bringing your vision to life through the magical world of cel animation. Contact us today to explore the possibilities and start an exciting animation journey together.

Still have questions about cel animation?

Do you have a question about cel animation that wasn’t addressed in this FAQ? Use this form to send us your question and we’ll follow up with an answer. We’ll also post the question and answer to this page so other people can benefit from the knowledge.

Still have questions?

What is Video Igniter Animation?

Video Igniter Animation is an online animated video production service. By working with our team online, you can get your custom animated video produced faster and for less than hiring a brick and mortar animation studio.

We can help you create any kind of 2D animated video or 3D animation you can imagine. Check out our animated video portfolio!

Need help syndicating your animated video? Ask us about video promotion!

Watch our explainer video on our home page to learn more about how we can help you create an animated video. For examples of the kinds of animation our team can produce, check out the demo reel below:


Looking For A Cel Animation Producer In The U.S.?

Video Igniter is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Success Stories & Testimonials

Don’t just take our word for it – these testimonials highlight Video Igniter’s reliability, creativity, flexibility and ability to deliver animations that exceed expectations. When you choose Video Igniter Animation, you can rest assured that you are working with a trusted and reputable studio.

“Video Igniter were very easy to work with and the entire process for creating and suggesting edits was seamless and stress-free. I would work with them again and would recommend to others looking to create a modern and stylish explainer video.”

Clair Simpson – VP Marketing, Repool.com

“I run a video production company and outsource animation. The team at Video Igniter did a great job in taking the concept I very crudely drew out and making it into a beautiful animation. The review process was easy and their turnaround time was very quick. I’d def recommend them if you’re looking for an animation project.”

Pat Henderson – Founder, Path8 Productions

“Video Igniter offered us the critical combination of creative value, clear communication, and patience with stakeholder feedback. We ended up with truly high-quality design assets for our video series largely due to the extra level of commitment — and the right balance of efficiencies with flexibility in the process when called for.”

Larry Schlessinger – Sr. Creative Program Manager, Amazon Web Services

“Video Igniter came to us with a number of creative and engaging ideas and were able to create an exciting, impactful video in a short period of time. And the best part was that it cost much less than other options of similar quality. The video they made is a great marketing tool for us.”

Alex Raymond – Founder, Kapta Systems


Success Stories & Testimonials

Get in touch!

Schedule a call with our production team to discuss your animated video project.

Get a quote for us to create your animated video.

Request access to our newest price sheet.

Create your Video Igniter account, fill out a creative brief for your video and we’ll begin production as soon as we receive your production deposit.

Schedule a call with our production team.


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