Ahh! My Goddess
Animation - screenshots courtesy of www.gateway.cjb.com
First, in producing traditional animated movies or cartoons, you come up with a storyboard. A storyboard is like a huge comic strip where the images and script is present. This is how animators plan the flow or the plot of the production. Afterward, a preliminary soundtrack or scratch track is recorded for the animation. A complete cartoon sound track will include music, sound effects and a dialogue performed by voice actors. A scratch track contains just voices and vocal songs that the voice actors must sing to, and it also includes temporary music scene tracks. In past-production, the final scene and sound effects are added in Japanese animation, however, the soundtrack is added after the animation is completed.
After making a soundtrack, an animatic or story reel is created. It contains a storyboard synchronized with the soundtrack. This allows directors and animators to crack out any script and timing issues that may exist with the current storyboard. They will keep revising this until they are satisfied. This is usually done before full animation begins.
Once the story reel has been approved, character designers begin designing characters. They draw all the important characters and props in the film. They draw them in different poses, angles and expressions, so that all artists working on a project can deliver consistent work. Sometimes, maquettes (small statues of characters / props) are produced so an animator can see what a character looks like in three dimensions. Background stylists do similar works for the locations and settings in the project. The art directors and color stylists determine the color scheme and art style to be used. The timing director takes the animatic (story reel) and analyzes what poses and drawings and lip movements will be needed on what frames. He or she does this during the time when designing process is going on.
After the designs are completed and approved by the director, the layout begins. It is here where the background layout artists determine the camera angles, lighting, camera paths and shading of the scene. The major poses of the characters in the scene by the character layout artists. Then they will create a drawing to indicate each pose. Once the animatic is made up or all layout drawings, it is called Leica reel. "Leica reel" originated from the Disney Studios in the 1930's from the frame format used by Leica cameras.