Background ponies are ponies that appear in the background, and possess character models that are used frequently to fill out crowd scenes and incidental characters in the show.
- Main article: Animation
Each episode goes through several stages in pre-production: premise, script, dialog recording, and storyboard. The storyboards detail each shot and most of the layout, posing, and camera actions. After storyboarding, backgrounds are created or re-used, and the preliminary staging, composition, and color balancing is refined by the layout department, who ship the layouts to the animation department. After animation and animation revisions, the episode is further refined in post-production.
Background characters are dropped into scenes only in the layout phase, after storyboarding has already finished. From a story standpoint, they are interchangeable and serve the purpose of populating scenes whenever ponies other than the main or supporting characters are needed. Crowd scenes are often filled with multiple copies of the same designs, in crowd scenes in Friendship is Magic, part 1, Friendship is Magic, part 2, The Show Stoppers, Luna Eclipsed, and many more episodes. In The Ticket Master, Boast Busters, Fall Weather Friends, and The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000, there is a galloping "mob" of ponies, consisting of Diamond Mint, Berry Punch, Shoeshine, Lyra Heartstrings, Lemon Hearts, Daisy, and Amethyst Star, and in some shots the entire group is duplicated to increase the number of ponies.
The design for all characters and their color schemes are subject to approval by Hasbro. The background ponies mostly share two body types–one male and one female-and are generally only differentiated from each other by pony type, mane style, mane color, coat color, eye color, and cutie mark, There are hundreds of different ponies whose color schemes or designs are distinct from each other even though they share the same design, although some of the background ponies are used more frequently than others, such as Lyra Heartstrings and Bon Bon. These two ponies are used by a layout artist for added visual gags.
Recurring background ponies
Among all of the background ponies that are used in the show, there are twenty-two that are used consistently in Ponyville and as a result are the most commonly seen in the series. They typically occupy crowd scenes and react to actions performed by the main cast, or--on rarer occasion--even interact with them. These twenty-two distinguished mares consist of six Earth ponies, six Unicorn ponies, and ten Pegasus ponies; each one sharing her design with at least one other. Their names as given by the show, toy line, or currently held with a placeholder, are as follows:
|Background Ponies||like design|
|Earth Ponies||Berry Punch||Cherry Berry|
|Cloud Kicker||Merry May|
|Unicorn Ponies||Twinkleshine||Lemon Hearts|
|Lyra Heartstrings||Amethyst Star|
Other recurring background ponies include Rose, Lily, Candy Mane, Lyrica, Royal Ribbon, and an assortment of male ponies, but they are absent from the list due to a relative lack of appearances and/or an offset of shared designs.
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