Storyboards for Animation

I’ve done a few animations in the past, just for leisure. However, they were always odd because I would get lazy and want to tap out half-way through. I have one animation, from about eight or nine years ago, where the animation was literally just a strand of hair moving; the whole head of hair didn’t even have movement. Sure, I was about 11, but that laziness pertaining to having to alter the same image ever so slightly in order to accomplish a visual representation of movement still plagues me (even with the amazing modern day invention of copy and paste). 

Even so, I was somewhat excited when I realized the last assignment for my Digital Design class was going to be a storyboard and animation. One of my fatal flaws is thinking that even though I’ve barely practiced it and constantly struggle with it, frame animation will be easy. I had my heart set on doing frame animation for most of the animated portion of the assignment, because I enjoy it visually much more than timeline animation. However, as I am a perfectionist and spent three hours just trying to animate hair for said project, I came to the realization that for an assignment that I only had about three weeks to do, timeline animation in Photoshop might be in my favor. 

I felt a little dejected, because I really wanted to see my art in frame animation, and I know that even though the animation I come up with will be good enough, I’ve set these impossibly high standards for myself even though I’ve never tried and kept with animating seriously before. While this animation is still a work in progress, and I am honestly having a lot of fun with it, I do want to talk about the part of the project that I am proud of: the storyboard! I have never created a storyboard before, but it was surprisingly fun and relatively easy!

I had already visualized in my mind what I wanted my animation to look like. I could see it playing in my head in an almost perfect sequence. Therefore, it felt relatively easy to translate it into a storyboard. Storyboards can look various ways. Some are more rough and sketchy, and others are more finished and put-together visually. My professor explained that it depends on the artist, as well as their relation to the client. If the client knows the artist well, the artist may be able to get away with a rougher storyboard. But for the class, my professor expressed that it would be best for our storyboards to be a little more polished so that they would look good in a portfolio should we choose to use them in one. Therefore, I kept a sketchy but readable style for my storyboard, and decided to color it so that it would be easier to understand. Below is the first storyboard I came up with, before I talked it over with my professor.

I realized that my storyboard made sense to me, because I knew what I wanted my animation to look like in my head, but other people might not fully realize what I intended to do. That is why in my updated storyboard; I added a scene with the character whooshing past various arrows, to really show that she is picking up speed. I also separated the zoom-in frame of said character from the starry-eyed one, so that it was apparent that she was going star-struck after the zoom-in. In the first storyboard, the other character was just intended to shift her weight until the credits came in, until my professor brought to my attention that it would bring in some sort of visual repetition if the other character had a zoom-in to her face as well. 

Overall, creating the storyboard was a fun and simple process. I’ve gotten much better at drawing fast due to deadlines, and I also have a better understanding of human anatomy (if these were animal characters, this storyboard would not have been done as quickly). I’m really proud of my growth as an artist, and now that I know how much I like storyboarding, I think it would be something I genuinely consider, going forward in my artistic career.

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