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Behind the Scenes of The Walt Disney Animation Studios Ink & Paint Department

Behind the scenes of Ink & Paint at Disney Animation Studios

I have been lucky enough to visit The Walt Disney Animation Studios many times over my career, and I have seen almost every part of the studio lot expect the Ink & Paint Department. It is a department that not many people are given a chance to see and is a special place where the traditional art of animation is staying alive.

Walt Disney Animation Studios

ink & paint department building

Hallway to the animation ink & paint department

As many people know, animation has transitioned from hand drawn and hand painted cells to computer drawn images. When Disney made the film “Snow White” every image in the film was hand drawn, and hand painted, making the film a true piece of art.

using xerox maching to make an animation cell

tools to make an animation cell

Tinkerbell animation cell

When we walked into the Ink & Paint Department of the Walt Disney Animation Studios, it was like stepping into another era. There were rooms filled with jars full of paint, antique equipment, paint swatches on the wall and the amazing people who are keeping this type of animation alive.

The steps to make an animation cell

the ink and paint offices

the ink & paint department work table

The finished process of making a cell

Currently, the department is creating commemorative cells centered around films and special events. They are using all the same technology to create these cells as was used in many of the first Walt Disney Animation films like “Snow White.”

The animation cell creation process

Talking about paint in the animation department

talking about animation

taking a picture of an animation cell

The incredibly talented staff walked us through the entire process of creating a cell. It was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life getting to see the amount of work that goes into making just one single image of the film “Snow White.”

Supplies to make animation cell

second step in the animation cell process

printing on animation cell paper


Once we were done watching them create a cell, we got to watch them ink & paint a cell right before our eyes. They even demonstrated how they would use a special air brush technique to make Tinkerbell’s wings, and give dimensions to the characters.

paint swatches

Paint room at Disney Animation

official walt disney animation stamp

making a snow white animation cell

Enjoy going behind the scenes of the ink & paint department of the Walt Disney Animation Studios while looking at these pictures. Then share the magic of animation with your children by watching “Snow White” that will be released in stores tomorrow, February 2nd.

Looking at an animation cell

looking at a Tinkerbell animation cell

Inside the Disney ink & paint

inking an animation cell

Ink & Paint department room

ink used to make a cell

Giving Tinkerbell wings

filing the drawing for animation cells

filing cabinets that hold animation cells

drawing the lines on an animation cell

Disney Animation

Disney paint colors filing

Disney Paint

Door to the Disney Ink & Paint Department

Disney Animation

different colors of paint used to create an animation cell

desk in animation department

creating an animation cell

Collectable disney animation cells

colors of paint

Comparing colors in an animation cell

creating a cell

Collectable cells

cleaning the plate that makes a cell

animation xerox machine

animation paper

animation paint

Animation Cells

Animation cell paint swatches

animation cell paint mixing

animation cell ink

a tool used to create an animation cell

a duck animation cell

xerox paper

xerox ink

xerox at Disney animation

Walt Disney Studios ink

We attended the tour as a guest of Disney

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