Storyboarding

A place to discuss non-Moho software for use in animation. Video editors, audio editors, 3D modelers, etc.

Moderators: Fahim, Distinct Sun, Víctor Paredes, erey, Belgarath, slowtiger

User avatar
AcouSvnt
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:14 am
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Storyboarding

Post by AcouSvnt » Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:48 am

Anyone have any particular software they like to use to assist with storyboarding? Or just use pen and paper?

Any thoughts/insights appreciated.
-Keith
User avatar
kdiddy13
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:26 pm
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Post by kdiddy13 » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:34 pm

This is more than just storyboard advice, hopefully others will find it helpful.

For storyboards I mostly just pen and paper. I created a template in Illustrator that has both 16:9 (letterboxed/HD) and 3:4 (televsion) aspect ratios. I typically use that for quickly thumbnailing a scene together (great for getting your story on to paper).

Then I'll go to a more moveable format, like index cards (which are conveniently, very close to 16:9). What I like about this format is that their slightly bigger for drawing on than my thumbnail size template, I can tape two together for a pan or tilt, and I can shuffle them around to play with the editing. I can also put notes on the back to clarify my chicken scratching that I call drawing. You can clean them up a bit, and mount them to a board if you need to present them to someone, or just see how the whole scene flows.

I'll then scan them all in and play with the timing in an editing app like Premiere, so that I can get a better sense of timing (and again, double checking the editing). I'll also add in supplimental drawings when the action isn't clear.

Now's a good time to put your audio in (especially dialogue). It will give you a better idea if you need to cut away, or it's looking too fast. if you find these errors BEFORE you start animating, it will save you a significant amount of time and money if you find that a shot, a piece of dialogue, or story line isn't working. Nothing's worse than to cut a finaled shot out of the picture when you could have found that out by doing the preproduction. You'll probably still end up cutting finaled shots and scenes, but if you do your homework you can keep them to a minimum.

Then I'll do a layout stage, where I'll set up the cameras, characters and scenery. I'll do basic camera moves, and character moves, or key positions. No real animation other than characters sliding around on the screen, maybe a few quick poses where necessary. I'll render lo-res versions out and put it back in the cut. Again, double checking that I haven't gone too far down a path that's nothing more than a dead end. I've cut entire scenes at this stage, saving hours and hours of work, because I found the errors in my narrative before finishing it.

At each of these stages, I'll re-edit, tightening up the cut. Funny enough, I almost never add more time to a shot. I think most people over estimate how long it takes for their idea to get across. When teaching editing, the first thing I suggest is try cutting a second of the head and tail of every shot. You can do that now with non-linear editors, without creating a headache like cutting on film or deck to deck (believe me). It doesn't always work (sometimes it's less or none at all), but when it does, you'll end up with a much tighter film.

Next I'll do a first pass at the animation, ignoring lip synch for now. If a character "reads" without their lips moving, then when you add the lips moving it will look even better. Mostly I focus on the profile of the character, making sure it reads. I don't spend too much time getting the movement perfect yet, preferring to focus on the overall feel of what their doing. Again, render, edit it in, readjust what you've done.

Finally, (and sometimes this is split into 2 stages, depending on my delivery schedule), I'll add in lip synch and fine tune the animation, adjusting curves and tweaking movement. This stage is the hardest of the bunch, but if I've done my work up until now, I can really focus on the details of the animation. I don't think that it's possible to do this stage well if you're still not sure if it's going to fit in the edit or your still not sure where the camera goes (ie. trying to do everything at once).

Camera and staging changes do happen. You may find yourself going all the way back to the beginning and thumbnailing the scene over again or rewriting and rerecording dialogue. But if you do things in a logical, metered progression, you'll find yourself doing it far less than if you bust out full animations without double checking your progress throughout the life of the project.

I may also do compositing at this stage, combining elements as necessary. Sometimes a single render does the trick. But I'll usually sweeten the image in After Effects with subtle tricks, like clamping the color values for NTSC (pure white and red are no good, especially if their getting projected or transferred to VHS, unless you don't mind noise in the white and the reds bleeding). I'll also add a .5 pixel blur to everything. This usually gets rid of any flickering that may occur on lines that are about or less than a pixel wide as they pass between projected pixels (you'll see this alot on 3d stuff with really detailed textures). All pretty subtle stuff that doesn't degrade your image enough to hurt it.

Finally, I'll edit the final renders all together, trimming off stuff that doesn't work. I'll spend a good percentage of time on tweaking and mixing sound at this point. Up until this point I've used temp sound FX and unsweetened dialogue. Sound in my opinion, can make or break a film/animation. Good sound adds legitmacy to the weight of an object that never existed. Bad sound reinforces that it's fake and distracts the viewer.

Bam, your done! Output to tape, video, print out a flip book, whatever you want. It sounds like extra work but in the long run, if quality is your goal, you will save a lot of time with a similar work flow. But keep in mind, that this work flow works for me, but not everyone works this way. It's important to find your own workflow, but it doesn't hurt to learn from the mistakes (or successes) of others.

I hope this helps.

Kdiddy
________
Yamaha ym2151
Last edited by kdiddy13 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Banterfield
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:40 pm
Location: Colorado

Post by Banterfield » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:45 pm

I wonder if there would be a way to create the storyboards in moho (with some minimal animation), render them to a flash file, then show multiple flash files on a single html page, thus creating a moving storyboard that you can look at and scan through in your web browser.

Does flash let you have more than one flash file running in a single browser instance? I don't know anything about how flash works, so this whole idea could just seem kookier than kooky.

I guess you could set up each page to have a clickable link to the next page, then could browse sequentially page after page, watching your storyboard as you went.

Anyway, thanks for the great description of your process, kdiddy.
Dave
User avatar
cribble
Posts: 899
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:42 pm
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Post by cribble » Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:48 pm

The storyboard software i've seen are generally the same concept with differetn prices. They usually consist of a 3D model, plain back ground and the ability to import sounds and music etc. But really, nothing is better then a solid sketchbook (as my art teacher would always say).

Do whatever you want with the story boards, they don't always have to be pages and pages of boxes. For a current project I'm doing probably 3 boxs and then a large drawing (depending on how detailed i want the scene to be) and I use alot of media, like: crayons, pencils, pastels, watercolour and felt tips all experimenting with different colour scales depending on the scene.

Oh and a mistake i made with my last project: include movement, light, character, whatever notes under each box if you can.... otherwise it'll bugger the project up later.

Have fun, be original and experiment.
--Scott
cribble.net
User avatar
AcouSvnt
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:14 am
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Post by AcouSvnt » Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:38 pm

Thanks, people, especially -- my god -- Kdiddy, you wrote an essay. Thanks!
-Keith
User avatar
kdiddy13
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:26 pm
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Post by kdiddy13 » Fri Dec 17, 2004 6:59 pm

Heh, my pleasure. I'm feeling wordy and I got on a role.
Last edited by kdiddy13 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
foundmarble
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:33 am

Post by foundmarble » Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:36 pm

In my opinion, drawing story boards is the best!

Some of my examples (first two pictures):

http://www.hamsterfactory.com/18532.html
nobudget
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 5:01 pm
Contact:

Post by nobudget » Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:58 pm

"Does flash let you have more than one flash file running in a single browser instance?"

I don't believe that would be a Flash specific thing, more the HTML page you're running but I'm pretty sure you can play as many as you'd like. Many game and animation sites use multiple Flash banners for instance. Just some .swfs' embedded in the page. Just like you could do with video. If you want to compose that page entirely in Flash that would be different, but then you could just use multiple movie clips.

When I storyboard it can change for every project and sometimes I don't storyboard at all. For video productions I like to do video/photo storyboards, very clear and fast. You could do that for animation too, just act out in front of the camera and edit together, voila, moving storyboard. You can even use that footage as animation guides since Moho can import video, Ralph Bashki would be jealous (if you don't recognize that name and context watch some more animated movies :) )! In the end you just do what seems right for you at any given time.

Like Kdiddy stated: "this work flow works for me, but not everyone works this way". That's a lot of "work" in one sentence! And a lot of "o"s now I look more carefully.

Just remember to have fun!

Reindert.
www.nobudgetvideo.com
User avatar
AcouSvnt
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:14 am
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Post by AcouSvnt » Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:00 am

nobudget wrote:Ralph Bashki would be jealous (if you don't recognize that name and context watch some more animated movies :) )!
I don't recognize that name. But I am familiar with Ralph Bakshi. :)

(You're not alone; Google has plenty for either spelling.)
-Keith
nobudget
Posts: 412
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 5:01 pm
Contact:

Post by nobudget » Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:25 am

I stand corrected. Actually I looked it up on the IMDB and the first hit was Bakshi. I didn't notice the spelling was different. For those who don't know who he is, one project he did was Frits the Kat :wink:

Reindert.
www.nobudgetvideo.com
User avatar
kdiddy13
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:26 pm
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Post by kdiddy13 » Sat Dec 18, 2004 2:41 am

Frits the Kat
I think you meant Fritz :wink: But enough about spelling and grammar (and how many times I can work "work" into a work related animation work essay :))

Video storyboards. That's a cool idea. Quick and easy. I'll have to try that for my next live action film.
Last edited by kdiddy13 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
AcouSvnt
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:14 am
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Post by AcouSvnt » Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:00 am

Pretty sure he meant it as a joke that time.
-Keith
User avatar
mwtoons
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:53 pm
Location: Rhode Island, USA
Contact:

Post by mwtoons » Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:08 am

Thanks Kdiddy and everyone for the info, I have a nightly ritual now of reading through this forum. I have learned a lot. I have a lot to learn about film and animation, but I am getting there. I like the idea of a video storyboard. I have noticed that I can't work with out a storyboard. I am trying to make a new animation project using mho, to learn the software, and I spent a week staring at my charecter. I finally sat down and storyboarded it in pencil and now I am making progress.

Hey, Kdiddy, we spoke through email a while back, I had found your site through LM.I took your advise and read the book "Understanding Comics". It was a pretty good book. It had a lot of good ideas in it. Does anyone else out there have any good suggested reading? Tips? Ideas about learning animation? I would love to go back to school for animation and film, but I am working on my master's degree in education and with a wife and I think kids in the near future go backto school isn't an option.

Ok...enough babble for now...
User avatar
AcouSvnt
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:14 am
Location: Rochester, NY
Contact:

Post by AcouSvnt » Sat Dec 18, 2004 5:18 am

Nobudget: offtopic as this is, I've just found that there is a forum on Bakshi's website, apparently the same PHPBB software as this (same smileys, same familiar shade of blue, etc), and Ralph himself is on there answering fan questions.
-Keith
User avatar
kdiddy13
Posts: 381
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:26 pm
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Post by kdiddy13 » Sat Dec 18, 2004 6:22 am

mwtoons: some quick book recs:

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud(you read it already, but just playing catch up for everyone else) - probably the best book on visual story telling out there

The Animator's Survival kit by Richard Williams - one of the best books on animation out there, goes into great detail on movement, in particular (but by no means limited to) the human walk

Chuck Amuck by Chuck Jones - a really entertaining look into the cartoon studio that brought Bugs Bunny to life, it also has some very good insight on the animation process

There are many more out there, but these are the ones that I found to be both informative and interesting enough to read all the way through.
Last edited by kdiddy13 on Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply