Stuck Cels:How to unstick from sketches?

I'm hoping to get some advice from this community on the best & least damaging way to get cels that are stuck to it's pencil sketch apart? I've researched and so far I've seen that some reccommend anything from freezing the cels in the freezer and pulling apart to using a blow dryer to heat up the paint on the cel a bit to unstick it from it's sketch. How have you gotten you stuck cels apart?
Baron V's Animation Cel Gallery
Mar 11 at 4:07 PM
Hello, Baronv
Don't use the freezer or blow dryer this will cause the paint to flake and come off your cels.
The way it is done is with a cool mist box.
The reason the cels stick is that the paint drys out and shrinks in the dry wheave of the paper and the only way to release it is to replace the water and the paper will lose it's grip on the dryed paint This is done in a box that has a cool mist humidifier in it and the cel with the drawing are placed in the box cel side down with the drawing on top and it is checked every few minutes to see if the drawing will come off yet if not it is put back in to the box for more time.
The water will not hurt the cel paint in the amounts used but can stain, warp or shrink the drawing it will also bleed the colored inks used on the drawing sometimes it best to leave the drawing on the cel if it's a pricy cel and you wish to save the drawing also.
Some folks don't care about the drawings only the cel, This Will remove the drawing from the cel without pulling paint off the cel but at a cost?
I hope this helps out some.
Mar 11 at 6:08 PM

That is the **best advice** that I have ever heard so far on this topic, that is a recurring one. I have tried the "freezer experiment" several times with mixed results, both good and bad. But my freezer is one of those misty types, so it kinda blows frosty air around, so that may have something to do with my limited success.

I have also sponged off sketches that have been so paint stained that they wouldn't quite qualify as sketches anymore. In those cases when I have taken my time and not overly soaked the paper, the results have been great, but of course no sketch. Even then I would only recommend it on cheaper cels, if at all.

But I would have to say, that given all of my experiments (on dime store cels mind you) your advice makes the most sense.

Now where can we find that little box? =)
Edited Mar 11 at 8:41 PM
Mar 11 at 8:40 PM
The freezer works because it shrinks the paint and as it shrinks it (pulls) the paint out of the paper but it is like bending a strip of metal the paint on the metal will flake off at the bend if you go to far and this can happen to your cels also when you freeze them.
The paper is dry and will not freeze so it does not shrink when you put it in the freezer and therefore the cel is made smaller than the paper and this fact is what makes the paint come free from the paper in the freezer,but it will degrade your cels just like freezes crack sidewalks the freezer can and will degrade your cels.

The cool mist box is a homemade thing, I've not found anyone that sells them.
It is a box like your fridge with racks in it to hold the cels on and a mister is added to the top to let the mist flow down on to the drawings to wet them evenly, I've seen one that had one mister on top and one half way down the stack so the water is put on the drawings the same all the way down the stack.
*DON'T USE A STEAM MISTER*!!! it's to hot for the cels.
**(Only use "distilled water" it has no minerals or salts in it to stain your cels)**.
The cels are checked every few minutes to see how moist the drawings are to remove them from the cels.
After you remove the drawing have a rack to lay them down flat to dry on and some will be ok and some will not, so it's a 50/50 chance that you will lose your drawing but you will get the drawing off your cels with very little paper left on the cel.
The cels are cleaned at the production company with water and a soft rag just before shooting to remove dust,finger prints, ect. so a little bit of water will not hurt the cels.
(note)*When cleaning your cels be careful not to wipe off any airbrushed FX on your cels it comes off very easy and this is not good thing blot to dry don't wipe or you can have some line loss from the wiping.
Thanks for letting me add a few more active brain cels to everyone and I hope this helps you out if you need it.
Edited Mar 14 at 3:12 PM
Mar 12 at 8:38 AM
Does Roy remind anyone else of MacGuyver? You know, like Richard Dean Anderson, prior to Stargate?

Maybe Martha Stewart, prior to the whole prison thing?

Neat advice. I always thought the freezer thing worked because of the condensation that forms after you remove it from the freezer.... but your explanation is probably more correct.
Plastic Future
Mar 12 at 11:19 AM
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