Storyboards are a series of illustrations depicting how an animation, motion graphic or motion picture will be shot. Establishing a storyboard is a fundamental step in pre-production. Directors are able to visualize the scenes and shots and adjust the script to avoid mistakes and wasted time. Production companies are able to determine a realistic budget and time for shooting, select appropriate location and cast. Sometimes, storyboards are used to acquire funding for the project. Hence, an effective storyboard is a key to having a smooth and successful production.
A storyboard consists of several elements that determine its effectiveness. They are:
Reference materials are tools used by storyboard artists to develop a project. These graphics or video clip will shape the theme and the tone of the script in terms of set design, prop design and character design.
The layout of the scene plays a major importance in a professional looking storyboard. It is a common mistake to try to fill up the entire cell with characters and props so that it does not look “empty”. The end product will look cluttered and hard to understand, as there is no focal point or main subject to draw the audiences’ attention. Instead, start by drawing your main character or action and compliment it with other characters, props and background. This layout will more efficiently convey your message.
As the saying goes “a picture says a thousand words”, the framing of the picture determines which thousand words are being said. Just by framing the shot a little differently, different messages can be conveyed.
Organized layering help speed up the process in producing storyboard. You are able to keep the consistency of your design while altering them to fit the shot. This also helps if animatics are needed for the project.
Nothing looks more complete without some finishing touches. This includes adding colours if required, or applying shading and lighting to the shot. Lighting up a shot is particularly important as it can set the ambience of the scene.
By focusing on these key elements, you are able to design and create effective and professional storyboards.