Saturday, 28 December 2019

What are Storyboards For?

"Chess" Adams
What are storyboards for? And why do animators need them?  In this guest post, Francesca "Chess" Adams explains the purpose of storyboards, and why animators should want to master this important part of the pre-production process.

Chess is a story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses.  She is a graduate of the National Film and Television School (NFTS), and her extensive TV credits include Digby Dragon and the Go Jetters.

Chess also teaches our evening classes in storyboarding, which starts on 22 January 2020.

Industry has been telling us for many years that storyboarding is an area of critical skills shortage. As animation production has expanded rapidly over the last five years, the supply of talent has not kept pace.  So, what exactly are storyboards for?

"Brodiaga" Storyboard panel by Anastasia Gurova
1. Staging:
Where should the characters go? The storyboard artist much make choices about the positioning of characters in each scene, for the maximum emotional content and clear readability of their actions.

In Animation, staging is one of the 12 Principles of Animation. Good staging helps to make things clear, and helps to direct the audience's attention. Staging makes clear what is of the greatest importance in a scene; what is happening, and what is about to happen.

Good staging can be achieved by various means, such as the placement of a character in the frame, the use of light and shadow, and the angle & position of the camera.

"Brodiaga" storyboard by Anastasia Gurova
2. Storytelling:
The board artist's first job is to tell the story, following the script.  Each panel's sketch clearly communicates to an audience the ideas expressed through the action of each scene. 

Board artists must make choices such as what type of shot to draw; how to frame the shot, and the sequences of images can be used to tell the story.

Artists must draw the body poses and expressions of the characters, as well as how the scenes will cut and how close (or far) the camera is to the subject.

3. Planning
Storyboards by Escapee Dominika Brodowska
The most important reason to storyboard is to plan your work. Whatever you are about to create or develop, storyboarding it first will help to plan it out.  Planning is probably the step most often missed by students, and at the same time, it is probably the most essential tool in your entire animation toolbox, especially in the first few years of your animation life.

Chess Adams at Escape Studios
You should never start animation until you know exactly what poses you are planning to use, when you are planning to use them, and why.

Before you begin any shot, it's so important to study references, work out your thumbnails, and make your timing and acting decisions on paper.

This level of planning may seem like extra work, but it will save you time in the long run and your work will be much stronger.

---Francesca "Chess" Adams

Storyboarding Classes at Escape Studios

Storyboarding Evening class
Storyboarding is back in the New Year; our next evening class in storyboarding starts at our central London campus at 190 High Holborn on 22nd January 2020.
Boards by Escapee Fred O'Rourke

The 8 week evening class is led by Francesca "Chess" Adams,  a story board artist at Blue Zoo, one of London's leading animation houses.

MA in Previs and Story
We are also running a new MA in Storyboarding and Previsualisation, starting on 17th February 2020, for those who want to dig deeper into the story and previs skillset. This MA is the first of its kind - the only masters' course in storyboarding in the world, and one which tackles both 2D and 3D skills.

MA Tutor: Iliana Franklin
Iliana Franklin
Iliana Franklin is the newest member of the animation team at Escape Studios.  Iliana teaches our new master's degree in Storyboarding and Previsualisation, which launched in September and is already producing some remarkably skilled and imaginative work.

Success Stories
Finally check out the work of Escapee Dominika Brodowska, currently working as a storyboard artist at Blue Zoo

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt, now recruiting for September 2020, follow this link.   To apply, visit the official page here


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