Once you have built a narrative with rough sketches, it’s time to transform these into panels. A storyboard panel is a rectangular frame drawn onto a sheet of paper, with separate boxes for notes on dialogue and action.
The dimensions of the box depend on the type of production you’re storyboarding — i.e. whether it’s for film, TV or wide-screen. But 4 inches x 3 inches is typical. You’ll them draw the action of the scene within this box before adding notes on dialogue or camera angles, etc, to the other boxes.
At the top of the panel there’ll be space to write the scene number and panel number. Panels can be created on actual paper, but amateurs and professionals alike increasingly use digital software to pull these together.
Top tips and tricks.
Keep it basic. You may be a talented artist, but initial storyboarding doesn’t require you to create a masterpiece. Keep the sketches simple — stick people, rough outlines, basic shading. The focus is on putting across your idea.
Set a frame limit. Having said that, be disciplined with your number of core panels. Try to distil the story into a small number of panels that capture the narrative arc of beginning, middle and end with any key conflicts and resolutions. Once this is established, you can build out with further panels.
- Filter out the unnecessary. Not every scene you’ve sketched will make the cut. And as you assemble and reassemble, you’ll start to see those weak points which belong on the cutting-room floor.
- Listen to your peers. Ask other creatives in your work, production team or hobbyist circle to look over your animation storyboard and provide feedback. Constructive criticism, though not always easy to take, can help you to identify previously unseen problems.
Choosing the right software and templates.
Professional studios often create storyboard panels using software such as Adobe Photoshop and Storyboard Pro for feature animations. Storyboard Pro is industry standard and enables board artists create and re-order rough thumbnail sketches, create camera moves, import images, sound and more.
But if you’re a hobbyist animator you may want to consider Adobe Creative Cloud Express as well.
With Adobe’s professionally designed storyboard templates, you can easily upload your drawings to your project and annotate with captions to detail characters, dialogue, camera requirements and more.