The storyboarding process
An integral part of any successful animation project is the storyboard stage. This is where visuals of the animation are mapped out in draft form. It really helps to bring the narrative to life and provides an essential step in the process for refining the script and director’s notes.
Once an animation project is agreed, the first step is to review the brief and script. As a team, we will sit down and digest what the key messages that need to be highlighted or explained as part of the animation are. We will very roughly sketch this out together, exchanging ideas on the best way to add motion and bring to life. Once we are happy with the general broad strokes, we will then draw this out in more detail, which will look something like the example shown below.
The storyboard is then sent to the client for review. This is a crucial stage, as it’s a lot easier to change the script, scenes or characters before they have been fully formed digitally. There is usually a little bit of too and fro with the client and once they are happy, the storyboard and script can be signed off.
The next thing we will do is to record the voice over (VO). We work with a trusted bank of VO artists and will have already sent samples to the client to choose from whilst the storyboard was being designed. Accent, tone, age and gender are all considerations that clients will have thought about as part of this process. Being a VO artist is a massively under appreciated skill. Having recorded our own for use in in-house videos, we can testament to the horror of getting a take of your own voice that you don’t hate!
With the voice over recorded and storyboard all signed off, we can begin the technical stage of the project – the animation. Using the storyboard and directors notes (these explain in detail what’s happening in each slide), we now have a good idea of how each scene is going to look and be animated.
The storyboard is the framework that the animation is created from. The bones that we build a body around. The corner stone that the structure rests on. And this is why it is such an important part of the process.
Here’s the resulting animation from the above storyboard. You’ll be able to see the connection between the two and how the story laid out in the preparation has played out in the result.