Storyboarding in Animation

05.12.2014 Animation
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director


Creating storyboards for corporate media – Trinity Arts Award Animation

Storyboards are an essential part of pre-production when creating scripted video or animation content. They allow filmmakers and animators to visualise the film before stepping on set, and see the film without a camera.

Each person interprets a script differently – no matter how many adjectives you throw at them and that’s why storyboards are a great way to ensure everyone is on the same page before filming starts. The last thing you’d want is a disappointed client because a film doesn’t look as they expected when they read the script.

A storyboard takes the guesswork away from the client and visually scripts the film. Storyboards show what the final product will look like – and if you don’t like anything it’s really easy to make changes at this stage.

There are different steps when creating storyboards for a corporate film production and each will have be approved by the client. It normally begins with shooting script – this describes the visuals and any speech or voice overs.

From that, we can start storyboarding. At first the storyboard will be rough, either drawn or digital. Digital storyboards can be made from pictures found online or pictures taken with a camera. With these, we also normally start collecting potential colours and visuals for the film and allow the client to better understand how the film will end up looking.

For our Trinity College London animation, before we had a distinct set of visuals in mind, which we presented to the client in the form of an illustrated mood board.

The mood board and the storyboard will give the client a pretty good idea of what to expect. After an initial version and some tweaks we produce a final draft. With the final draft we also include technical notes and details of each shot such as camera or animation movement, voiceover text and sound design comments.

It is often a good idea to then produce a so-called animatic – this is a slide show of the storyboard stills with a guide voiceover read out and it helps to establish how the flow of the animation will work.

Storyboards are a great visual tool for the client, but they are also really helpful for the people producing the film. With storyboards, you’ll know exactly what you’ll be filming before you’ve filmed it. It’s much easier to make any changes at this stage than later on so storyboards are a great way to plan a project. They help make the filming and animation process run smoothly and avoid costly amendments later on.

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