Four Ways Storyboards Facilitate the Animation Process

No animated production can be completed successfully without the use of storyboards. A staple of animation, they have existed since the early 1930s, when Walt Disney implemented them during the development of its films. Since then, they have become an indispensable tool in virtually every animation company, because they enable animation creators to visualize a storyline, determine the sequence of events, choose production details, and save time and money. Following are just a few of the ways in which storyboards and animatics contribute to the success of any animation production.

Storyboards facilitate brainstorming and creativity.

Storyboards are a series of sketches that outline each of the scenes in an animated project. They include information such as which characters and objects populate the scene, which camera angles are being used, what movement is occurring, what dialogue is being spoken, and whatever other material may be useful. Animatics are storyboards to which have been added pieces of animation, movement, and sound to further indicate how the final product will look.

Because storyboards present the details of each scene visually, they are an especially valuable tool for facilitating brainstorming and encouraging creativity. As animators view the project coming to life through the storyboards, they can more easily identify ways to improve the development of the storyline and the scenes.

For instance, storyboards allow animators to move scenes around to experiment with different sequences. Flashbacks are often the result of such experimentation in an animated production or motion picture. In addition, they allow animators to test different iterations of the animation before large commitments of time and money must be made to producing the finished project. As a result, storyboards give the 2D animation studio the freedom to change how the scenes develop and to try out different ideas. This freedom results in a higher-quality and more carefully crafted animation than would otherwise have been possible.

Storyboards save time and money.

While storyboards foster creativity, they also serve a very practical purpose for 2D animation companies and their clients in that they save significant amounts of time and money. Initially, it may seem as if creating storyboards consumes resources, because they must be created with time and talent that could otherwise have been spent producing the final product. However, there are a number of reasons that storyboards are a financially prudent step.

One of these reasons is that storyboards allow animators to identify mistakes and problems before the project goes to production. These errors are simple to fix on a storyboard, because they require nothing more than a quick re-sketching or repositioning of the scene in question. In the middle of production, however, they would be much more costly and time-consuming to repair, because they would require steps such as re-animating an entire scene.

In addition, storyboards save time and money because they allow the animators to determine exactly how each scene will be shot before production begins. This allows the company to save money by determining which shots are most cost effective. Storyboards also save producers from time-consuming tweaking, adjusting, and re-animating during the production phase of the project.

Storyboards guide production.

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons that storyboards and animatics production in CA and elsewhere save time and money is because they allow the animators to determine exactly how each scene will unfold. The details encompassed by the storyboards include production details such as camera angles and distances. In fact, storyboards and animatics are often utilized to determine which shots will be most effective during the production process.

As a result, by the time the storyboard is finalized, the production process has become much simpler as well. Camera angles and distances, character movements, timelines, and more are clearly laid out on the boards. All that is left is for the producers to implement the scenes as they are described by the sketches in the storyboard. When producers have such a detailed and carefully developed plan for their film or animated cartoons, it becomes much faster and easier for them to create the final project.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, storyboards help to reduce the number of changes that are necessary during the production phase of the animation. As a result, production can move much more quickly because it does not get held up by frequent changes and corrections. The detailed guidance and the improved speed which storyboards lend to the production process make them an indispensable step for anyone who wants to animate a project with speed and economy.

Storyboards provide a way to describe the animation to others.

Finally, storyboards are a valuable addition to any animated production, because they provide a way to describe the animation to others. Often, a project must be described to investors or other interested parties. Vague ideas cannot produce the kind of compelling presentation that will allow a project to receive funding or approval. However, concept design, character design, and carefully crafted storyboards and animatics can take an idea and visualize it in such a way that it is suitable for presentation.

Animation is an exciting, beautiful, and powerful art form that often looks as if its has been effortlessly put together. However, this beauty and power is the result of hard work and careful planning. Part of this planning process is storyboarding. By creating storyboards for your project, an animation studio can help you facilitate brainstorming and creativity, save time and money, guide production, and help others to understand your vision in order to create an excellent animated piece.