What is a storyboard artist? A storyboard artist works in the development of sequenced images in order to represent a narration. For that matter, the artist will produce a set of panels known as Storyboard. Each panel of the Storyboard represents a scene of the narration.
The goal of a storyboard is to preview an animation or any other graphics or interactive medium. Basically, the storyboard is a board, which allows studios and production companies to preview a multimedia product before it is finished. Storyboard artist usually follows a technical or literary script, in this the details of each scene are made clear.
The way to elaborate a storyboard varies, depending on its use or what we are going to execute, be it a video, a poster, an animation or even a web page. We can also find storyboards full of color or black and white, full of details or simply strokes that outline an idea of figures. It is common to use the storyboard in animations, either traditional or by computers.
Which are the origins of the storyboard?
The storyboards were born in the animation industry. At the beginning of the 20th century, the great cartoonist Winsor McCay was creating comic strips for his amazing animations that can be considered some of the first storyboards. Later, at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s, the scripts for the emerging field of animation were typed according to the script format for fiction films. This system immediately caused complications.
A written description of an animated action does not necessarily convey the correct idea. Thus, the animators discovered that a gag was often not funny when it moved to the field of animation. To remedy this, the storymen (there were no women in the story departments at the time) began to sketch the main scenes and the gags. Very quickly they began to add more and more drawings to their scripts until it became customary to sketch the whole story. So that all the drafting team could see the sketches, they were hung on the wall. Someone had the brilliant idea of putting these sketches on sheets of compressed wood (in English “compressed wood sheet” is beave board) (hence the name of storyboard).
The sheets of compressed wood were used in partitions and ceilings and is a light and fibrous board in which it is easy to drive thumbtacks. This was advantageous for the narrators, who hooked hundreds of drawings. With the drawings in these tables, the story could be read in its entirety and also moved to another room. By then, the production of cartoons began by minimizing written descriptions. The cartoons express themselves better visually, due to the gags. The writing was limited mainly to dialogue and simple camera instructions. If an idea was not supported graphically, it was rejected.
While the practice of writing full screenplays prevailed in the 1970s and the 1980s, John Kricfalusi. creator of Ren & Stimpy, he went back to the style of creating classic cartoons and relied on talented cartoonists to drive the script, instead of just the written script. Currently, storyboards are used to help develop a script, to get an idea, to praise a script and/or to visualize a finished script. In the development of animations, storyboards are often used throughout the production process. They are a great instrument to help develop a project in all phases of production.
The Storyboard and the entertainment industry
The latest in visual narration is the cinema. Storyboards were used for the first time for this purpose and work just as well (if not better) than in the 1930s. By making a storyboard before filming, you can better plan the camera angles, the surroundings, the accessories, actors, effects, etc., and be more worker during production. The graphical script before time also verifies that the script makes sense and allows you to correct the errors before they are too expensive to solve them. These are some film projects that benefit greatly from the storyboard.
- Instructional video
- Feature film
- Television program
- Independent movie
- YouTube and Vimeo videos
How should a Storyboard be made?
The realization of a Storyboard will allow you to plan better and you will take more advantage of the production time.
Narration: before filming your movie you have written the narrator’s text. Here you have to divide the text into as many fragments as you wish. Remember that its brevity is important: the video should include silences that help highlight the images. The narration should not tell what is seen in the film, but provide information and explain what is going to be seen.
Shots, type of shot, movement of the camera: once the text is written, think about the images you want to take to show and explain what the voice is narrating. Combine general plans with details as they are mentioned in the voice. A text must contain multiple planes. If possible, the images should last longer than the text, so that frequent voice silences occur.
Drawing or image: try to draw some frame of the plane that you have described in the previous column.
An Animatic is a specific form of the storyboard. It is basically a storyboard in motion, in a video, an animated storyboard that serves as a support to the traditional storyboard because it allows appreciating the narrative characteristics of the plane, such as the duration, the action of the characters, the camera movement, etc. Lately, and above all, they are used in movies with an important load of special effects or animation, since they allow to see the action avoiding a great investment of money.
In its beginnings this technique was much less sophisticated than it is nowadays, recording the storyboard and giving it simple movements. However, in recent years, thanks to the development of new audiovisual technologies, it has been possible to improve the technique and today 2D and 3D are mixed in it, as well as basic dialogues and sound effects.
Animatics are used in various media and depend largely on that medium for which it is going to be used because it will not be the same nor will it be created in the same way for an advertisement, as for a movie, or for a video game.
Becoming a storyboard artist
Drawing storyboards is a wonderfully, exciting and creative escape valve. A storyboard artist is crucial to the flow of the story and the organization of the shoot. A good performance of storyboards requires knowledge of direction, editing, narrative and camera techniques. Add to that artistic talent, and the ability to work with others to tell a visual story, and perhaps you will also enjoy illustrating in the exciting world of entertainment.
If you are interested in learning how to create amazing storyboards you can check my article ” The Most Affordable Online Art Courses “. There you will find a couple of interesting courses that will help you in your endeavor. For those who want to take his learning path to the next level, my article on “The Best Online Art Schools” will help you to find the right school with the right teachers and the best storytelling courses.
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