About CelAction

CelAction Ltd is a technology services company for the animation industry. Based in London, England, we provide expertise in state-of-the-art graphics programming to film-makers and production companies looking to produce high quality animation at high speed.

We have been operating for over 15 years and have always been independently owned. We create and own our technology, but we also have a philosophy of interoperability with other software, enabling our clients to pick and choose the right tools for their pipeline.

We are a development-led company, not a sales-led company - our programmers outnumber our sales staff, and most of our profits are put back into the development of new features, so that animators benefit directly from our continued success. We don't sell off-the-shelf software, we provide technology solutions that include empowering customizations and in-depth support. So we don't see ourselves as having customers - we only have clients, and we have always operated with a deliberately small client list, so that we can afford them the time and effort necessary to give them a competitive advantage.

Our focus is on professionals and production companies only, and we concentrate on developing powerful, high-end toolsets that enable efficiency and quality at unprecedented speed.

Our history

The first television series we worked on was The Big Knights, created and directed by Neville Astley and Mark Baker, and produced by Claire Jennings. They required bespoke animation software that could allow them to produce a 13x10' series for the BBC without outsourcing the animation to another country. When they first spoke to us in 1997, there was no software that could achieve that aim. We adapted our existing in-house tools to create a focused application that enabled outstanding animation to be made in a fraction of the time that traditional methods could produce. We called this software CelAction2D.

During the production of the series CelAction had a staff member permanently on site in the studio, to help the animators get the best from the software and also to get vital feedback on the development of CelAction2D. Because of this intensive development experience, our software was created from the very start to be user-friendly and fast so that animators can be creative and productive with no hindrances or limits. The series was launched in 1999 to great acclaim and several awards.

Even before the broadcast of The Big Knights, people in the industry were hearing about this "amazing new software" that was allowing production to be kept completely in London, and several companies contacted us during that time wanting to know more. Soon, without any advertising or fanfare, we became the driving force behind the 2D animation industry in the United Kingdom.

In 2001, our software was instrumental in the production of the first prime-time topical animated series in the world - the award-winning 2DTV. Broadcast on ITV1, at its peak 2DTV achieved ratings of 6 million viewers, and ran for 5 series. The majority of the sketches in each episode were written and animated in the 3 days before broadcast, and some scenes were animated on the day of broadcast itself. This feat has never been equalled on such a high-end show.

All forms of production from 30 second commercials to cinema-released feature films have been made in our software, in a variety of styles. In 2006 the Anthony Lucas short film The Mysterious Geographic Explorations Of Jasper Morello was nominated for an Oscar, which is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the nominations and awards our clients have won using our software.

One of our proudest achievements has been helping the production of the first major animated TV series to be made in Africa, Tinga Tinga Tales. Production began in 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya, using local artistic talent and telling stories from African folklore, all in the Tanzanian Tinga Tinga style. This series is set to be a landmark in East Africa's animation history, and the beginning of what everyone hopes will be a fruitful industry in the future.

In 2010, we were the first dedicated 2D animation software developer to truly embrace 3-D stereoscopic production, catering to the audience's desire for 3-D even when still working with 2D drawings. Our innovations in this area are leading the industry in a fast-changing marketplace.

In 2014, we released a program for storyboarding called CelAction Animatic, designed to be the fastest way of producing storyboards and animatics, enabling story artists to be as efficient as possible, getting their ideas on to screen as soon as they think of them. We also took on the reselling and marketing of Digital Video's Toonz products, Harlequin and Bravo, enabling us to provide the best ink-and-paint software in addition to our existing software.

Our Vectrinsic technology was seen for the first time in 2015 with the second season of Mr. Bean - The Animated Adventures. This allows 2D animation as good as traditional hand-drawn techniques to be created but with all the benefits of modern computer power. The crew size, compared with the original series drawn on paper, was reduced by 90%, allowing the work to be done in-house and to the highest standard possible.

Our future

Since we began, our passion and knowledge of the industry have become well-known, and our staff are regarded as experts in the animation field, being called on to lecture at Universities and to sit on juries for animation awards. We have experience in all aspects of the production process, and act as consultants for companies both new to the industry and those looking to create a digital paperless workflow.

Our story has always been that of working on cutting-edge productions, where we have customized our software to save our clients time and money. We pride ourselves on working very closely with each of our clients, giving them the tools they need to produce the animation they want. Now, we have clients in Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Australia, producing superb in-house work and keeping their local industries alive, and as our clients have grown, we too have been able to improve our software and give back to the industry we care strongly about.

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