Vero and HepG2 cells were cultivated on macroporous gelatin microcarriers prepared by the calcium carbonate inclusion method. Cell attachment to these microcarriers was slow. For HepG2 cells the subsequent growth was poor. Modification of the microcarriers by incorporation of (diethylamino)ethyl‐HCl improved HepG2 attachment and subsequent growth. Optical sectioning with confocal microscopy allowed visualization of the distribution of cells within microcarriers. In most microcarriers, cells were found to preferentially populate regions close to the external surface and some cavities in the interior. Despite the incomplete occupancy of the interior of the microcarriers, high cell concentrations were achieved.