Long before animation is actually begun and the Director is trying to establish the exact look of the characters maquettes are made of various characters. These are 3D models of the characters that animators can use to see the character from all sides and angles.
Walt disney began the practice of using maquettes to establish characters and models in the film Pinocchio and they are still created today by studios making new films. The Maquettes are altered as the character design is established and the sculptor becomes a key part in realising the directors inner vision for the film. Perhaps the most noted sculptor of animation maquettes is Kent Melton and his works are snapped ups by collectors worldwide.
From the original sculpt only a few models will be made for the animators working on the film, they are rarely painted and usually left grey.