In this digital world we live in as creatives, the worst possible (even scary) object to look at is a blank screen. When wanting to create a project such as a short animation, a Kickstarter pitch, an animated half-hour TV show, or even a full length feature animated film, the blank screen is terrifying to a storyboard artist or independent animator who creates from start to finish. There are some days when just a few of these ideas pop into my head when sitting down at my computer and digital studio. But with Toon Boom, the producers of Storyboard Pro and Harmony, at least a fraction of my creative woes are put to rest.
But first, what is a storyboard? It is a series of drawn panels that show the various aspects of an animated or live-action filmed sequence. For today’s purpose, I’m sticking with animation. From close-ups and camera movements, to special effects and character dialog, it is here that entire productions are produced before committing to any final work on a project. It could prove costly in the end if any sequence goes wrong (i.e. cut for time, problems arise, just doesn’t work or a multitude of other reasons).
In this case, Storyboard Pro is the solution.
This software helps anyone from amateurs to professionals layout their animated projects in a manner that will put their minds at ease. In this case, I will classify myself as “the aspiring storyboard artist” and will point out some “professionals” who have and will use this software for their creative projects.
Okay, it is time to be straight-forward with the readers of this article. For those of you who have read both INTRO articles, for Storyboard Pro and Harmony, for this one particular paragraph you might be experiencing deja vu. In this space would have been a couple of quotes from a talented animator/storyboard artist but he was called back to the drawing board. Literally. And he could not participate in this article at this time. But I am holding this spot when he will be available. I respect his abilities, time and talent. So, when he can and he will, I will update this article and place his thoughts here. Thank you for your patience in this matter, I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading on this subject.
I will admit I have not met any of the creators of the following shows I shall be pointing out but this list is quite impressive. From SpongeBob SquarePants, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, Archer, The Simpsons, South Park, Rick and Morty & even Hannibal (I sideswiped and slipped in a live-action show), storyboarding is essential when plotting out the story, gags, camera shots and pacing of a show. I have watched all of the TV shows over my years and I will say I have watched each and every one of these series (maybe not every single episode). And when I needed software like StoryBoard Pro, I can appreciate why these shows used this software.
Now, sit down and relax for a few minutes while I extrapolate some key features of the software. Are you comfy? Let me begin then. I will not ramble on. I’ll make them short and sweet, so you can spend your time using the software yourself.
Importing scripts make it easy to annotate dialogue in the panels, audio (albeit, scratch tracks or final audio) tracks and other Image files that will make up each panel.
Layers allow for the versatility to combine 2D drawings with 3D images or backgrounds, to give an extra layer of depth.
The drawing tools react naturally and are responsive to the user whether using a graphics tablet or a Cintiq. The drawing tools include brushes of all styles and are customizable. There is also easy color insertion/alteration and replacement of characters and objects created for the project.
Project management is a breeze with all the tools, layers and formats for exporting at your fingertips.
Outputting the completed animatics is easy. Editing camera angles, panels and timing are trouble-free so that it doesn’t bottle-neck you down during production.
Stream-lined, easy to access tools help creatives create without getting bogged down with having to learn all of the tools and menus just to get started on a project.
With a package like this, a storyboard artist never has to leave StoryBoard Pro, since it has all the tools one needs to start and finish the storyboard project. I know I’ll be using this, guaranteed. Okay, #BRADYtheBETTA, ready to get animated?