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Art Directors Add Production Design Category for Animated Features for the First Time

The Art Directors Guild have decided to add a production design category for animated feature films, as a response to the way the genre is expanding and evolving. Loving Vincent and Pixar’s Coco seem primed for this nod. Wall-E and Ratatouille would have won it hands down.

Qualifications for Excellence in Production Design in an Animated Feature Film eligibility include:

  • Animated feature films representing 2D (hand drawn), 3D (CGI), clay animation/puppet and motion–capture (live-action/CGI hybrid) will all qualify for this award category.
  • A feature film must have the majority of its sets and locations created using a frame-by-frame technique, and usually falls into one of the two general fields of animation: narrative or abstract.
  • Some of the techniques of animating films include but are not limited to hand-drawn animation, computer animation, stop-motion, clay animation, pixilation, cutout animation, pinscreen, camera multiple pass imagery, kaleidoscopic effects created frame-by-frame, and drawing on the film frame itself.
  • Motion capture and real-time puppetry are not by themselves considered animation techniques.
  • Animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s total running time.
  • A narrative animated film must have a significant number of the top eight (8) major characters animated.
  • If the picture is created in a cinematic style that could be mistaken for live action, producers must submit information supporting how and why the picture is substantially a work of animation rather than live action.


LOS ANGELES, August 16, 2017 – “Production Design in Animation: Celebrating 100 Years of Imagination” will be this year’s theme for the Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) 22nd Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards where the guild will debut its new award category Excellence in Production Design for an Animated Feature Film, it was announced today by ADG Event Producers Thomas A. Walsh ADG and Thomas Wilkins ADG. The annual awards gala honoring Production Design in theatrical motion pictures, television, commercials and music videos will take place on Saturday, January 27, 2018, in the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

Said Walsh: “It is our intention to honor and celebrate great Production Design achievements in the remarkable and evolving art form of animation through this new award. By separating feature animation into its own constituent category, we wish to pay tribute to these creative works in a manner equivalent to all our other feature design categories.”