How to Storyboard your Animated Film

To begin, you will need to acquire a set of index cards or a storyboard sheet. While each card represents a segment of your storyboard, a sheet will contain a series of boxes for you to conceptualize your animation. These can be downloaded for free over the internet. You can also find no-cost software programs, such as StoryBoard Pro, which will enable you to plan your action on the computer screen.

Do not worry about drawing visually complex pictures. Think about each scene and the intended look of your film. Will you shoot certain frames up close and then pan back for a transition? These are the main things to worry about when creating a storyboard. You want to be able to refer to it during the filming process in order to know where to place your lighting, equipment, and characters. Draw stick figures if you must, but give them enough defining characteristics so that you can differentiate one character from the other.

Try and keep your drawings relatively small. They will serve as crib notes, and not works of art. You do not need to add too much detail. One thing that may help when deciding how to block your scenes, however, is the use of arrows. If a character is about to lift his hand or turn his head, place an arrow that arcs in the direction the figure will move. If you are going to begin to focus in on one part of your set, draw an outline of an arrow that is thicker on the bottom and thin at the top, pointed in the direction you plan to zoom.

Storyboarding is especially helpful if you have long or complicated sequences to complete. By planning the scene in advance, you can analyze your animation frame by frame and also take the opportunity to experiment with different ideas and possible effects.

Use a pencil, so that you can erase parts of your drawing if you change your mind. It is better to correct a small portion of the planned frame than have to spend time recreating the entire drawing. Be sure to jot small notes underneath each box in order to jog your memory or inform another person of the look that you are trying to achieve.

Once you have created a rough storyboard, place a small number beside each of the shots. When you begin to film, you can make a list of the frames you have completed. This will assist you in keeping track of your progress during the production phase.

A storyboard serves as your guide to the production of your film. It is a reliable way to ensure that you have captured every frame that you had originally set out to create. Without one, elements of your film may become lost or forgotten.

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