In the world of animation, whether it's for a feature film, a television series, a video game, or even a short clip, storytelling is paramount.
The animation storyboard is a critical step in the creative process that acts as the blueprint for the entire production before the first frame of animation is drawn or generated.
In this post, we'll look at what an animation storyboard is, what it does, and how it fits into the world of visual storytelling.
What is an Animation Storyboard?
A storyboard is an essential component of animation and filmmaking. A storyboard is an essential stage for any prospective director having a concept in their brain.
It should visually reflect the essence and structure of the planned animation.
The storyboard is essentially a sequence of sketches that map out the important events of the plot in chronological order.
This creates a visual link between the narrative or general concept and the completed animation.
Each doodle often represents a pivotal shot or frame. Panels can also collect technical details, which are often stored in distinct boxes.
An animation storyboard panel must include the following things:
- Frame: A rectangular box in which the storyboard artist will sketch the scene – essentially sketch what the spectator may see from that viewpoint.
- Dialogue notes: Any dialogue that will appear in the frame will be noted. Not exactly from the script, but a quick synopsis of the gist.
- Action notes: Make a note of any activity that occurs, such as pebbles tumbling or a car spinning out of control. Character activities could also be listed.
- Camera shots: The desired camera shots for each scene should also be captured on the storyboard panel. From far to close-up.
A Quick Overview of Storyboarding
During the early 1930s, the famed Walt Disney studios pioneered the storyboard concept.
Webb Smith, one of the studio's writers at the time, was known for creating consecutive scenes on sheets of paper and attaching them to a bulletin board to tell a whole story.
For the 1933 Disney short film Three Little Pigs, the first complete storyboards were developed. By 1938, all animation companies in the United States were employing storyboards prior to production.
Creating storyboards, however, benefits more than simply animators. Pre-production has also become an important aspect of developing live-action films.
Gone with the Wind (1939) was one of the earliest live-action films to use storyboarding, and many studios continue to use it today.
The storyboarding step assists directors in determining which shots are the most difficult and expensive, which is critical throughout the planning stages of any live-action film.
Types of Storyboards
Now that you understand what a storyboard is, you should be aware of the three forms you might utilize while designing your animations. Some forms of storyboards are better suited to working alone on a solo project or with a team on a large production.
1. The Traditional Storyboard
Traditional storyboards are often composed of a sequence of pencil sketches accompanied by written explanations of what happens in each scene.
The picture above is a typical storyboard created for a Tom and Jerry episode named Jerry's Cousin. The sketches are quite loose, but they nonetheless represent the figures' movement and emotions. The notes below include character conversation as well as essential scene specifics.
2. The Thumbnail Storyboard
Thumbnail storyboards are usually utilized by solitary animators or small teams who already know how they plan to develop their projects.
There is little need for language here, and the drawings are usually completed quickly. A thumbnail storyboard's objective is to simply visualize an action sequence.
When designing huge productions, directors with different styles may also employ thumbnail storyboards. The drawn storyboard for the famous shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's classic live-action thriller, Psycho, is seen above. Because the storyboard depicts exactly how each shot should appear on the screen, no written direction was required.
3. The Digital Storyboard
A digital storyboard is created using specialist software, as you may have imagined.
If you'd prefer to skip the paper and pencil stage and go right to digital tools, there are lots of free options. Boords, Milanote, and Storyboarder are all worth a look.
This type of storyboard is especially useful for anyone making videos using pre-made images.
You may already utilize the same visuals that will appear in the final film, giving clients a good concept of how the final animation will seem.
What is the Importance of a Storyboard?
We understand that animation is already a time-consuming process, but it's worthwhile to add a storyboard to your to-do list. This is why.
Keeps You Organized: When you initially have a wonderful concept for an animation, it's tempting to dive straight in and start working on it. However, if you don't have a whole image, it's simple to become disoriented and unfocused. A well-thought-out plan makes everything easier, and this is where storyboards come in.
Saves Time: Even though constructing a storyboard is an additional step that may require some effort, it will save you time in the long run. If you're creating an animation for a customer, offering them an initial storyboard allows them to make modifications before production begins. It's far easier (and less expensive) to change a scene in a storyboard than it is to change one that's already fully animated.
Keep You Updated: Another reason storyboards are significant is that they enable you to spot weak points and gaps in a plot. When looking at a storyboard, it's typically rather obvious whether a scene is off or something is missing. You can focus on filling in the gaps at this step until your ideas are fully fleshed out. Once you have a solid plan in place, you can begin production with confidence.
How to Make an Animation Storyboard?
The writing must be completed before a storyboard can be generated. It should ideally be as close to completion as feasible so that the storyboard can accurately depict the storyline.
The following are the steps for creating an animation storyboard:
- You'll make your storyboard with thumbnails, often 4-6 on each page. Your template can be printed or saved digitally.
- Before labeling and detailing a scene, many animators like to start by making rough sketches of it.
- The storyboard animator will add color and detail. It allows you to catch any errors before the final drawings are made.
- Add speech bubbles, captions, and any other details that are required. If you drew your sketches by hand, you'd scan them into the computer first, then make remarks. This stage will most likely require the usage of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Toon Boom.
- As seen in the Mansour example above, the storyboard is converted into a simple animation movie sequence. They can also be exported as a sequence of still photos.