Storyboard for Animation | Sue Anne Chan | Skillshare
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16 Lessons (1h 16m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Finding the Main Theme

    • 3. Collecting References

    • 4. Principles of Storyboarding: Storytelling

    • 5. Principles of Storyboarding: Clarity

    • 6. Principles of Storyboarding: 180° Rule

    • 7. Principles of Storyboarding: Composition

    • 8. Principles of Storyboarding: Continuity

    • 9. Creating Beat Boards

    • 10. Storyboard Terminology: Part 1

    • 11. Storyboard Terminology: Part 2

    • 12. Thumbnails

    • 13. Rough Draft

    • 14. Revised Draft

    • 15. Finalising your Storyboard

    • 16. Final Thoughts

13 students are watching this class

About This Class

If you want to create an animation, you’ll need to make something else first: A Storyboard!

A storyboard is a planned sequence of key scenes of how your animation or film will unfold, shot by shot.


In this class, I’ll walk you through how to storyboard for an animation based on your own individual story’s needs.

You will explore the process of:


  • Identifying the main theme of your story
  • Collecting relevant references
  • Learning the Principles of Storyboarding
  • Learning Terminology
  • Creating beat boards
  • Thumbnailing your script/story
  • Drafting your storyboard
  • Finalising your Storyboard 


By the end of this class, students will know how to storyboard effectively based on their core story theme, and have completed a storyboard ready to be animated.

These skills can also be applied into creating animatics or motion comics.


Those without an existing story idea will be given a link to a version of "The Emperor's new clothes". Feel free to reinterpret and adapt this in any way for your board!


1. Intro: Storyboards. What are they? A storyboard is essentially a large comic strip of a film. It summarizes the key scenes in an animation, shot-by-shot. Hi. I'm Sue, and I'm a Freelance Storyboard Artist and Illustrator. In this class, I'll walk you through the steps of creating a storyboard and together we'll find the best way to tell your story. You can draw your boards in Photoshop, Storyboard Pro, or any joining program. In fact, a pencil and paper work just fine. The important part is not the medium, but the storyboard itself. I'll be creating a storyboard alongside you, so let's go on this journey together. You'll look over your story or script and I'll teach you how to figure out what the main story theme is. Then you'll collect relevant references and I'll teach you the principles of storyboarding. You'll find out what a beat board is and we'll draw them, then I'll go over what storyboard terminology you'll need to know to do your thumbnails, to draw your rough draft, then to revise it, and finally draw the cleaned up version of your final storyboard. This class is ideal for anyone who has an existing story idea that they want to turn into an animation or anyone who wants to learn anything about the stroryboarding for instance. These skills can also be applied into creating animethics or motion comics. By the end of the class, students will have the tools and knowledge on how to create effective storyboards based on their story theme. For those without an existing story idea, no worries, I'll provide a link to a version of the story, The Emperor's New Clothes. Feel free to reinterpret and adapt this in any way you want. So let's get started. 2. Finding the Main Theme: Alright, now let's talk about scripts. In this lesson, I'll teach you how to identify your main story theme and how to show it to your storyboard. First, you ought to have your base story ready. You can transcribe it into a script format if it makes it easier for you to read through, but it is not necessary. Then I'll analyze a clip from up and I'll teach you what lessons we can take from how Pixels translates its script story theme to its visuals. I'll conclude the lesson by showing you my own scripts and talking about what I plan to do.Then I'll give you your assignment at the end of the lesson. I don't suggest that you start off with a very complicated story with a long plots. Especially if this your first storyboard. I myself would be creating a simple story and I've already written a script out. It's about two sisters named Z and J. They are trying to bake a birthday cake for their mom. To those who are using a story I provided they embrace new clothes.You can change your story in any way you want and reinterpret it into your own script. We will be analyzing this clip from up, which was posted by pixels official YouTube channel. I'll be posting the link below under Resources. I suggest you guys check it out yourselves after this lesson. I've also provided a link to a guide on how to format your script. Now, you don't necessarily have to rewrite your story into a script format. But if you choose to, don't obsess too much over it. Just write it in a way so that you understand what you need to story about from scene to scene. Just letting you know that there will be spoilers ahead, but it's nothing that will spoil the experience of watching the movie in my opinion. The script details the life of Carl and Ellie. This clip compares the script to the final visuals we see in the movie. The core theme of Up, in my opinion, is to remember but also move on from the past so that you can be open to love from new friendships and experience new adventures in life in the present. But how do we know this? When we look through the script, we see described Carl and his relationship. It shows how contrasting our personalities are; how they started together, getting married, coming from two very vastly different backgrounds. Then we see how they live life together. How their differences compliment each other.We see as they go through the happy times and the difficult times. After they both discovered they can't have children, Ellie is heartbroken, but Carl reminds her of the adventure that she wanted to have as a kid. They work towards a new motivation.Paradise Falls. They go for the motivation of wanting to have an adventure together. They both try and save up for it. But time and time again, things fail and they find that they have to keep spending money on other things. This shows their difficulties in trying to reach their goal. But you can see from the sequence that they're still happy together. It reaches a point where they grow old together, happy and united. But as they are cleaning one day, Carl stumbles upon an old photo of Ellie. He realizes that their original dream had gone unfulfilled and he thinks he failed Ellie. Carl tries to fulfill Ellie's dream by buying tickets to South America, but unfortunately, Ellie falls ill and passes away before he manages to bring this dream to her. At the end of Ellie's life, she passes the adventure book to him. Carl is heartbroken. Throughout the movie its implying that he couldn't bear to look through the adventure book until the end because of how it reminds him of how he failed to bring Ellie her true dream. This whole sequence sets up the question that Carl has in his heart; that he has failed Ellie and he doesn't know if he can ever fulfill Ellie's dream. He spends the movie having his own adventure, finding out for himself that the adventure that he gave Ellie was actually enough. This question is finally answered towards the end of the movie when Carl looks through the adventure book until the end and comes across pages he couldn't bear to look through before. He sees Ellie's last words to him," Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one." This answers the question that Carl had in his heart from the beginning. It brings the movie full circle. The setup at the beginning and the answer revealed towards the end of the movie establishes Up's main theme; to move on from the past while still remembering and caring for the people who were a part of your life. You can be opened to forming new friendships and experiencing new adventures. Up establishes Carl and Ellie's love for each other early on with a married life-long touch to connect the audience to these characters at the beginning of the movie. By ending the montage with Ellie's death and clearly showing Carl's regrets for losing track of their original dream. It sets up why Carl has become so close off from enjoying new experiences and friendships with new people for the rest of the movie. This strengthens the ending because it provides an answer to Carl, as well as the audience, that at Ellie's adventures with him was enough and hammers home the story's main theme. Up's script the screen example tells us this. By analyzing the beginning and the end of your script, you can find what message ties the two together. What that conveys is your main story theme. Think about how you can set up your main story theme by giving your audience a question that will later be answered at the end of the animation that fully supports and shows your stories main theme. For my storyboard, I know its going to feature the two sisters, Z and J, and how they're struggling to bake a birthday cake for their mom. Now, those are the events that occur in the script. But what's the main theme of the story? The main theme that I know I want to convey to the audience is to appreciate your family members and to try and understand each other and support each other during tough times. Now, it's a simple plot and it's a very simple message. But what really matters is how you convey it in your storyboard. I'll let you guys read through your script and find your main story theme. All the best. After that, come back for the next lesson, where we'll learn how to collect relevant references. 3. Collecting References: Let's talk about collecting relevant references. In this lesson, I'll talk about how and where to get relevant references, whether it's online or in real life. I will also talk about what concept art you should have ready before you begin drawing anything and what storytelling references should get based on your main story theme. Most of my online references are collected on Pinterest and YouTube. I also look at other references from Google or any other specialty blogs depending on the topic that I need reference on. I like Pinterest because you can categorize it quite nicely. You can create different mood-boards, and it's almost like a folder that contains multiple different images. I created different mood-boards based on the different characters that are in my storyboard. The different background settings, and also the different appliances and objects that I may not necessarily know how to draw without reference. After collecting your references, you should start drawing your concept arts if you haven't already. You need character designs and background designs. Both of these don't have to look finished, they can be left uncolored, and you can even leave them in a sketch format if you wish. What's important for the character designs, is that, it's clear what the characters look like, and how tall the characters are in relation to each other. You can draw in a scale format like this. As you can see, my background design is pretty much a sketch and it's also clearly showing what is in the environment without really going overboard the detailing. It also helped to pace your character designs inside the environment in a separate layer so that you know how tall your characters are in relation to the background elements and to the objects that are around. Apart from having the background environment designed, I also drew a bird's eye view of the layout. It's like an architectural plan that helps you summarize the environments design to its base parts. The overall environments shape, the objects and where they're placed, and how everything would be placed against each other. This really helps a lot when you're story boarding because it can be easy to get lost in where to place your camera when you are drawing scene to scene. If you can't find the reference that you need online, I'd suggest you try and create them in real life, you can either post yourself and take a photo or you can ask a friend or family member to pose for you. I also couldn't find a photo of a flower in a specific angle that I wanted. I took a photo in that exact angle when I was walking around the park. I also collect references from YouTube and organize them into different playlists. This playlist is actually one exclusively for butterflies flying because there is a butterfly in my storyboard that plays an important role. I was trying to figure out how would the wings actually flap around so that I can storyboard effectively? Other references you can collect from YouTube comes from movies, shows, or any short film that's uploaded there. Collecting references like those are important because you want to know what kind of mood and tone you're going to set for your storyboard. For example, if your story mainly focuses on drama with an element of comedy inside as well, I would recommend that you check out the clips from Coco or Song of the Sea, if it's aimed to it's children. If your storyboard is more of a straight out drama that's yet towards adults, then I would recommend referencing clips from Persepolis or Grave of The Fireflies. You can also find your storytelling references in Netflix or in any other video platform that you can think of. I've curated different YouTube playlist according to different genres for you guys to refer to in the resources. If the links I've provided does not suit your main theme, then feel free to look up your own reference links on YouTube, Netflix, or any other video streaming website. All right guys, so now we know what relevant reference to collect online and in real life and what kind of concept art we've got to draw before beginning to storyboard. Have fun looking for references and come back later to learn about the principles of story boarding. 4. Principles of Storyboarding: Storytelling : Welcome back. Now that we know our main theme, have our references and concept already, let's get into the principles of storyboarding. The principles of storyboarding I'll cover will be storytelling, clarity, the 180 degree rule, composition, and continuity. In this lesson, I'll focus on storytelling. Earlier, we discussed finding our main theme, and I touched a little bit on storytelling there. But I want to go in-depth into talking about what visuals you can draw and how to pace your storyboard to support your main theme. All links are available under Projects and Resources as always. Now let's analyze the storytelling in these two movie clips. One's from Coco and one's from Up. Let's start with Coco. Just letting you know that there will be spoilers ahead. I chose Coco as one of my main storyboard references. This is mainly because my own story theme is similar to that of Coco's, and the way they portray their theme is so effective, especially in this pivotal scene. In this scene, Miguel is trying to get his grandmother Coco to remember a family member that has passed on, so their spirit doesn't disappear. In my opinion, the theme of Coco is this: to remember the past so that you can learn from it and to appreciate and listen to each other when you are family, not leaving anyone behind. The point of this scene is to bring Coco's memory back, but I think what's more important is how they showed their main theme through the scene. How did they support this theme in their storyboard? At the beginning of the scene, Miguel is running desperately trying to get to his great-grandmother Coco, but he's stopped by his abuela. He manages to get into the room that Coco is in and shuts his abuela out. He's trying to get her to remember, but she can't. Miguel's heartbroken. Right after his failed attempt at getting his great-grandmother to remember, his abuela barges into the room with his parents. His parents are initially angry but when they see Miguel's tears, they hug him instead. Now look at how the storyboard is seen. When Miguel realizes that his Coco cannot remember, he backs away and a camera follows his expression, moving away from Coco, focusing only on him. This camera move isolates Coco from Miguel because she can't remember and can't connect with him now. From the way they constructed this shot, you can still clearly see that Miguel is the center of focus. But you can also clearly see the family members barging in from behind, so that the audience know that his family members are entering the scene. Yet, it stays on Miguel's expression as the main focus so that you'll see how heartbroken he is. When Miguel interacts with his parents and cries, you feel the moment because it lingers on Miguel's expression and also clearly shows that his parents are hugging him back and trying to comfort him. Then a camera shows his abuela talking to Coco and then telling Miguel to apologize to her. In the next few scenes, Miguel finally gets his great-grandmother Coco to remember the lost family member by singing and playing the guitar. How is the setup? Right after that, there's the shot of the guitar that Miguel brought into the room. The shot of the guitar and Miguel's expression sets up that Miguel is going to start singing to her to try and get her to remember. When Miguel starts singing and playing the guitar, the shot focuses exclusively on Miguel and Coco. It cuts back briefly to show abuela's objection and his dad holding her back. Also, cuts back to show that the rest of the family members are now there watching Miguel singing to Coco. However, for most of the rest of the scenes, it predominantly focuses on Miguel and Coco because they are the ones that carry the main story theme. They're also the only ones who personally knew that family member that passed on. The moment Coco starts to remember is a pivotal one, so the camera starts by showing Coco's trembling hands panning up to her eyes, starting to regain memory. It then cuts back to show the family members' reactions because they are part of this too. However, they are not the focus of this scene, so the rest of the scenes predominantly focus on Miguel and Coco and how they are bonding and connecting over the memory of their lost loved one. At the end of the scene, Coco remembers and all is well. The whole sequence wraps out with Miguel hugging Coco and the rest of the family members in the shot as well, showing the entire family united at last. From analyzing a sequence in Coco, I can bring what I've learned into my own storyboard. Because my storyboard exclusively focuses on two characters, Z and J, I can focus on their sister dynamic by applying what I learned in Coco. Now that we've analyzed Coco, let's analyze Up. Now I already analyzed this clip in lesson one when we were finding our main theme. But here, I want to focus on what visuals and what repetitive shots does this sequence use in order to showcase their main story theme well, and how they set up the sequence so that it brings about the question that Carl has through the entire movie, can he give Ellie the final adventure she deserves? In Up's married life montage, they use repetition to show the passing of time in their relationship. If you rewatch the montage, there are several shots that repeat. For example, the shot of Carl and Ellie climbing up the grassy hill, the shots of Carl and Ellie cloud gazing, and the shot of Ellie putting on Carl's ties. The shot of Carl and Ellie coming up the grassy hill first appears right after Carl and Ellie get married. Carl is shown to be struggling climbing up the hill while Ellie's already on top because she's so energetic. This scene reappears near the end when Carl and Ellie are climbing up the hill again. Only this time Carl is the one is on top excited to give Ellie the plane tickets that he got so that they can finally have their adventure. But Ellie is shown to fall over, and Carl rushes to her aid. There's a visual cue that preludes the next scene where Ellie is in her hospital bed giving Carl her final words. These visual cues also make the audience subconsciously associate the grassy hill with the start and the end of their story together. The cloud gazing scene also occurs twice because the first time, it was just to show Carl and Ellie having fun. The second time is shown when Carl and Ellie want to have a baby together and they realize it by cloud gazing. The final repetition that Up uses is the repetition of Ellie helping Carl put on his ties. Each moment of them doing this clearly shows Carl and Ellie happily married. It sets up the rest of the movie where Carl has to realize through his own adventure that Ellie was already happy with her own life with him. So let these methods of emphasizing the main story theme teach you how to emphasize your own. Reread your script and figure out which characters and what character relationships would you like to focus on, and which point of the story would like to highlight. After that, you can come back and I'll teach you the technical side of storyboarding; how to create clarity in your storyboards. 5. Principles of Storyboarding: Clarity: Let's get some clarity in this lesson. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to make our storyboards clear so that our audience knows what's going on and the animators know exactly how to animate each scene. I'll teach you by showing and analyzing a clear example of a storyboard. Then I'll show you a bad one and explain to you why it's unclear. There are a few ways to make your storyboard clear. One of the ways is to make sure that in each scene of your storyboard, it only focuses on one major movement. Here's an example. In this sequence, J is melting chocolate and doesn't realize that cake is burning in the background. By the time she and Z realize and take it out of the oven, it's already burned to a crisp. Then their chocolate catches fire. Now, although J is doing one action and something else happens behind her, we only focus on each action one at a time. Each element introduced is also only introduced step-by-step. Scene 1. J breaks the chocolate to melt it in a bowl. Scene 2, J is starting to melt the chocolate by stirring it repetitively over a pot. It's only after we see J melting the chocolate that we see the smoke coming in from offscreen. After seeing the smoke, we see the butterfly fly in seemingly warning J about the cake that's burning in the oven. The butterfly flies offscreen. Because our attention is already on the left-hand side of the screen, when Z comes running in with the butterfly, our attention is immediately on her. When she takes the cake out of the oven, the camera follows her and J. They open the oven door and are covered in smoke. Scene 3. The reveal of their burnt cake. This scene is important because we need to show how unsalvageable that cake is, so that we know why Z and J look so disappointed in the following scene. Scene 4. Z and J look sadly at the cake. Then the chocolate catches fire. The chocolate only catches fire after we see Z and J's disappointed expressions. This is important because we need to establish what negative emotions Z and J are feeling before showing the final mishap. Now, if a sequence showed everything occurring at the exact same time, it will look like this. The scene will look confusing and the audience wouldn't know what to look at. Another thing to note is that all of these occurred within one scene in this example, so we don't get the context that J is melting chocolate in the scene before, and we also don't get to see the result of the cake being burnt. From this unclear example, we can also see that the main action is cut partway, which adds to the confusion. Remember that it's okay to make mistakes especially in the initial thumbnail stage. I will suggest that you guys read through your script and thumbnail everything in full first, so that you get your initial ideas out there. You can always check back for errors and edit it in your rough draft. But don't thumbnail just yet though, because we still have three principles of storyboarding left to go. Next up, there's a lesson on the 180-degree rule. 6. Principles of Storyboarding: 180° Rule: What is the 180 degree rule? The 180 degree rule states that two characters should maintain the same left, right relationship to each other in the film. Let's say that there's two characters and there's a line between them. Let's imagine that Z and J are the character's in question. In this section, the background consists of counters, the stuff top, pots, pans hung on the windowsill area and the backdoor, and a fringes on the right-hand side. In this section on the background, there are more counters, a sink, walls, the ceiling cabinets, the corridor, the door to the kitchen area, and the fringes is on the left-hand side. I'm going to show you two examples. One follows the 180 degree rule, the other does not. Let's start with the one that does. In this sequence I boarded Z and J are shown having a conversation. If you notice, Z is on the right and J is always to the left of Z. A background that we see as an audience is only from this section of the line. Which means that our point of view never goes past the fridge, nor does it go past the oven and windowsill area. Now here's an example of the 180 degree rule being broken. From that sequence, we can see that the audience will be just as confused as we are when watching it. The reason why is because Z and J keep switching places between one another and the environment keeps flipping as well. This is because of how the camera or the audience point of view keeps viewing from one side of the line to the other. Which means that we keep seeing a different part of the background and Z and J will constantly flip between left and right. That makes the audience not to know where the characters are in relation to each other and where they're and their environment. Now there are actually a few ways to break the 180 degree rule clearly. One of the ways to do that is to show why character literally crossing the line in a clear manner. There you see the characters changing their left, right relationship to each other. Here's an example from an old story board I drew where two characters are fighting and the 180 degree rule is broken. But it's broken in a way where the characters' positions are still clear to the audience. In this sequence, the camera' s re-positioned to show the character coming up from behind. Repositioning the audience's point of view or camera in order to show the changing left, right relationship between them. Here's another example of breaking the 180 degree rule clearly. This sequence shows J and Z trying to follow a baking tutorial on their phone. It starts with a neutral shots, which is a shot that shows a subject or a character in a neutral way that doesn't have a solid left, right relationship established between characters in their background. Although this scene establishes Z to be on the left-hand side and J to be on the right. A neutral shot that is placed right after this scene allows us to re-establish their left, right relationship to each other in the following scene. It also helps to see Z and J going off screen to leave the table. Which implies that they would be looking for items from multiple different cabinets and drawers. When they return on the screen, the audience isn't questioning why they were coming back from different places that the left from. They set up neutral shot in between so that when you come back to the characters, you can re-establish their left, right relationship to each other. Either that or you can show a new establishing shot, then it cut to a scene, re-establishing their left-right relationship with their positions changed from the scene that was shown before the establishing shot. Now that you guys know what the 180 degree rule is, why not watch some shows and movies and figure out in what way did they follow this rule or in what way did they break it that still makes the audience understand why the characters are in relation to each other and in their environment. After that, come back and we'll learn about what makes good composition in the next lesson. 7. Principles of Storyboarding: Composition: What is composition anyway? In this lesson, we are going to learn what composition is, how to make good composition, and what pitfalls to avoid when composing all shots. I'll teach you by showing you examples by great artists and showing you some of my own drawings, ones that work and ones that don't work. So what is composition? Composition is how the elements on screen appear in relation to each other, and how they are arranged in a shot. It's how and where a character or prop is placed in a background on screen and what parts are focused on. Good composition, emphasize the important part that carry the story and the main message of the scene. Now, I'm going to show you an example by the artist Karolis Strautniekas whose name I'm definitely mispronouncing and I apologize for it. So this also illustration that Karolis drew for The New Yorker. Without even knowing the content of the article, we can already feel tension and suspense in this image. One of the ways Karolis does this is by showing contrast both in size of the characters and in value. We can see that the man in the foreground is much larger than the man to the right and the left. This contrast in the size gives a more foreboding feeling. The contrast in size of the man in the foreground looking at the man on the left hand side, gives a sense that the one in the foreground has the power. This added on by the fact that the man in the foreground and the man on the right-hand side are both looking at this man on the left who is holding a folder and walking away. The man walking away isn't looking at either of them and doesn't seem to know that he's being watched. The contrast and value also adds to the tension. The man of foreground is off the darkest value. He's looking at the man on the left hand side, who is literally being bathed in light by his phone. If you notice, the man on the left hand side isn't being covered by the darkness of any building or billboard around him. This is in contrast to both the man in the foreground and the man on the right-both side, who are intersecting with background elements like billboards and buildings. The man on the rightmost side, although he's not of the darkest value, is still shrouded in darkness by the buildings, as we said before. In addition to not distracting from the main focus of this illustration, the background elements also help draw attention to them. There's also a rhythm, the billboards that intersect with the man in the foreground are all varying shapes of squares, they're the started. Showing rhythm and lead the viewer's eye to the main focus of the scene. If you notice, none of the dark parts of the building intersect with any of these characters. The most intersection you get in this image is with the man on the rightmost side who is in front of the car. But even so, the buildings have faded into a light orange tone, and the short is perfectly balanced by the walls on either side of the image. But what's the article actually about? It was about how two operatives were tasked with severely reporters and how they became involved in an international plot to suppress assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. This illustration set the scene for the article without actually revealing or spoiling the contents. Now, let's analyze the composition in stills of Spirited Away by Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away has so many examples of wonderful composition, take this shot for example, in this scene, the main character, Chihiro, is trying to get a job from this old man. The weight is shown as composed, it makes it clear that she's awaiting his response and also follows all of the composition rules that we mentioned before. There's contrast in size of characters and value and the shot is perfectly balanced on either side. Although Chihiro is much larger in the foreground, the placement of the three chairs on the bottom left and the dark value cast by that cement wall makes so that the weight of the left-hand side is equal to the right. This shot also follows the rule of thirds. What is the rule of thirds? Now imagine if we drew two lines of equal distance to one another horizontally, and then we drew another two lines equal distance to each other vertically, whichever character or object that intersects or is very close to one or any of these four points, will be following the rule of thirds. This is far from the only scene from Spirited Away that follows this rule. Most of the time in film and shows, the characters are prompts that are important, are placed intersecting these four points or near them at least. As you can see in this scene, both Chihiro and the old man are placed in those exact positions. Even a shot of quite close up like this shot with Yubaba and Haku adhere to this rule of thirds. The scene also adheres to the golden ratio. Now you're wondering what the golden ratio is if you have not heard of it before, the golden ratio is actually a mathematical calculation, but it is often used in art as a literal ratio to use so that a scene is visually pleasing. The so much explanation of the golden ratio is that it has one major focal point that is slightly off center, that is also adhering to the rule of thirds. You don't necessarily have to follow the rule of thirds or the golden ratio in all of your scenes. It highly depends on what you need the scene to convey and what you want to emphasize. Now this example from Spirited Away arguably doesn't really follow the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. It has one imposing building and it's a short desk just met to establish where and what Chihiro is seeing. Generally speaking though, you can't fail when using the rule of thirds or the golden ratio. In all the shots in Spirited Away, there's repetition and rhythm. Most of the time, the repetitive elements lead up to the main focus of the scene. They also sometimes use leading lines in order to lead the viewer's eye to the main focus of the scene. This shot Chihiro running on a pipe is one of the most blatant examples of using leading lines so that the audience will pay attention to the character. It also adds flow to the scene. Here are more examples of leading lines. Spirited Away, also uses composition to strengthen the storytelling. The scene with Yubaba and Haku show that Yubaba is livid and large and imposing. Yet Haku, being so small is still standing strong, his faces is unfaced and she's the one that is losing control. Her hair is all over the place and her fire doesn't affect him. The scene also adheres to the golden ratio. You are entirely focused on them because there's no distractions in the background or anywhere else. This because it's a pivotal moment in the movie where they are relationship dynamics change. Here's another example, but this time without any characters, the shot still adheres to all of the composition rule we spoke of. The rule of thirds, contrast, rhythm, heading lines, and the golden ratio. Okay, I'm going to show you some of my old storyboards. Though the composition's definitely are imperfect, they do adhere to the composition rules we discussed before. Let's analyze them and figure out how you can apply composition rules to your own storyboard. Here's an example of an establishing shot that follows the rule of thirds and has contrast in size. I do think that I drew the moon a bit too large here, but other than that, it generally adheres to the mean composition rules. There's rhythm in the streetlights and the buildings. There's contrasts in the shape of that main building and in the size of the tree against the smaller building in the background. We now move on to a shot where characters are breaking an entry. It's still following the general composition rules. If you notice there's perspective lines drawn at the bottom, it makes it easier for the backer artists to know how far into the background set of objects and characters are. I would recommend for you guys to drop respective lines on the ground as well. This shot doesn't follow the rule of thirds. But the reason why is because it's meant to be a middle shot that focuses on showing foreboding character, stealing a precious item. Whenever a character is surprised or is trying to do something nefarious, you may want to focus on their face and gesture. Sometimes when you want to highlight a character's expression or introduce a new character, you can place the characters in the middle of the screen to emphasize their importance to the audience. Remember to alternate the types of compositions you use in your storyboard so that your audience is engaged. For example, alternating between using the rule of thirds, the golden ratio, and compositions with the middle focus to a shot of variety. Here's the introduction of the superhero that's going to defeat them or going to try to anyway, the rubble and the wall frames her so that our attention is exactly on her and we know where she's entering from in the scene. In this example, it generally follows the rule of thirds with the assumption of the bunny hero in the middle. It helps to shade in the characters that are closest to the viewer or in the foreground so that you get to see the difference in distance between each character. Alright, so that's a snippet from my old storyboard. I hope you guys managed to learn something from it. Now I'm going to show you guys some examples of common composition mistakes to avoid. No awkward overlap of different characters that distract from the main focus of the scene. No objects that intersect and stick out of characters, especially ones that make it seem like they have a strange shape. No weird cutoffs of characters, feet and hands, especially when they are moving or if what you're doing is supposed to be the focus of the scene. When there's a large crowd, don't focus on the wrong character, like a background character that isn't going to come into play or affect the story, unless it's for a specific comedy bit. I want you guys to remember that it's okay to make mistakes. Every mistake that you make is one step closer to creating beautiful composition that tells your story and it's okay if that takes time. Now, I suggest for you guys to watch and re-watch and then analyze the composition in these films. The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ghost in the Shell, Whiplash, and Spirited Away. Now the reason why I chose these films is because all of them are fantastic films for one thing, and they're all very different from each other. They all also have great compositions that tell the story in a very effective way in every scene. I feel like you guys can't internalize the lesson better by analyzing these films. After that, come back and I'll teach you about continuity in the next lesson. 8. Principles of Storyboarding: Continuity: Let's continue with some continuity. In this lesson, I'm going to teach you about continuity by showing and analyzing good and bad examples from my storyboard. What does continuity mean? Continuity refers to the maintenance of consistency and logic from scene to scene in an animation film or any show. My storyboard will focus on two sisters baking a birthday cake for their mom. Here's an example of a storyboard that has decent continuity. This is a part of my storyboard where Zee and Jay are having a conversation near the beginning. Since there are no continuity problems, our main focus is the sister dynamic between Zee and Jay. Good continuity helps the audience focus on what's important in the sequence which helps strengthen the dynamics between characters and the theme of the story as a whole. Basically, if your storyboard has good continuity, you allow the audience to focus on the story and the characters instead. Now here's an example of a storyboard with bad continuity so that you guys have a point of comparison. Take a look and see if you can see things that are a mess. Did you guys get all the inconsistencies? If you feel like you didn't, then you can re-watch the sequence and figure it out. If not, here's the list of things that are inconsistent in that sequence. The first thing that occurs is that the item that a character interacts with suddenly disappears within the same scene. In this scene, the foreground layer isn't made visible in every panel which makes the scene very distracting as it keeps flickering. In this scene, the table is shown to be full of items that suddenly disappear in the next scene. Then in the following scenes, the grocery items reappear but in a different position than before. There are small things in the background that constantly change too, which wouldn't be a big deal if it wasn't so close or near the main characters. Lastly in the scene that follows, the shot of Jay shown being drenched, neither Zee nor Jay are wet. At the very least, Jay should still be drenched as the sequence implies that the last two scenes are back-to-back with no time passing between the two scenes, and they have both just come back from being under the rain. Now you don't have to draw a detail storyboards, they're always incredibly consistent, but the main noticeable things like character suddenly changing their appearance without the implication of time passing or items disappearing right after characters attracted them, are too noticeable for most audiences, and will break the suspension of disbelief, and will make them wonder about things that are unrelated to the story. Continuity and consistency is also important so that you don't confuse the animator and background artists you'll be collaborating with on your project. Don't obsess over details though, just double-check for major inconsistencies that may confuse the people you're working with or the audience and you'll be fine. You don't have to worry too much about continuity when you're doing your thumbnails once again. The thumbnails are just there for you to get your ideas out there. It's more so when you're doing your rough draft, that you've got to check through scene by scene and see if there's any errors. Even if there is, it's all right, you can revise it in your revised draft. I'll suggest you guys get help from your friends or an animator that you're collaborating on this project with to make sure that the logic and the consistency is there between each scene. After this, the next lesson, we are going to finally begin drawing. You're going to learn what a Beat Board is and we're going to draw them together. 9. Creating Beat Boards: Let's learn about and draw beat boards. In this lesson, I'm going to teach you what a beat board is by showing you examples. Then explain to you how to draw them and why you need them before your storyboard. What is a beat board? A beat board is basically the same as thumbnails, only instead of drawing something out panel by panel, you are summarizing one scene into a single drawing. It has the idea of around 9-16 images without additional detail. Here's an example of a storyboards panel by panel progression, instead of drawing a character step-by-step, doing one action and leading to the next. The entire scene is summarized in one panel here. This single panel is a beat board showing Zee and Jay spreading butter on a cake corn. Here's another example of multiple scenes shown panel by panel of Zee and Jay's conversation, showing their different personalities being summarized into one beat board. It's important to draw beat board so that you are able to summarize the intended emotion and point of every scene, as I said before, because it serves as a blueprint for your entire storyboard and your thumbnails. That way, when you draw your thumbnails and you draw a rough draft, you know what the focus should be in every single segment of your scripts. Think of beat boards as the skeleton to the body of your storyboard. A strong skeleton supports your body well and prevents health problems later on. In this case, it prevents from having unforeseen problems come up when animating much later down the line and prevents boarding moments in the story that will end up distracting from the main story theme. You guys can draw your beat boards in any medium. You can use Photoshop or any digital program, or you can draw it traditionally in a sketchbook like this. Honestly, the only reason why I drew this in Photoshop instead of traditionally, is because I wanted to compile it to a PDF and it's easier to do that by drawing digitally. Regardless of whatever medium that you guys choose to draw your beat boards in, they'll be precious about the finish. Just leave it in a sketch and draw it all very quickly. Because remember, the point of drawing beat boards is to just summarize the focus of each segment of a script. It's not about how pretty it looks. All right guys, have fun drawing your beat boards. After that, come back and I'll teach you how to compose different shots using different camera angles in the next lesson, part 1 of storyboard terminology. 10. Storyboard Terminology: Part 1: Let's learn about storyboarding terminology, this is part 1 of two. In this lesson, I'm going to name and show you guys different kinds of shots. Then I'm going to explain, what they usually used for and how you can use them in your own storyboard. Here's an example of a wide shot. This is a shot that shows the subject or character in full in their surrounding environment. Usually, this shot is used to show characters and establish where they are, and is to make it clear to the audience what your environment is after you change their characters location. A similar but slightly different shot is the establishing shot. Now, an establishing shot is the extreme wide shot in a film or a video. Usually, it's used at the beginning of a new sequence to establish an overview of the scene that follows. It's also usually used for beginnings of movies and some short films and series to introduce the audience to a completely new world. You don't have to start your film using the shot, but it is good to use it when you want to establish a totally new world that is entirely fictional or is based in fantasy. A medium shot is a shot that shows a character from the waist up. Now, a medium shot is usually used to show characters having conversations. The medium shot is very versatile because it can either be relaxed and nothing much can be happening in a scene, or you can use it in a way to ramp up the drama intention, by changing the angle that the audience is seeing the character from. Filming your character from a low angle, like the audience is looking up at the character from close to the ground, makes them look stronger and more dominant. While filming your character from a high angle, like the audience is looking down on the character for above, makes the character look weaker and more vulnerable. A close up shot is a shot where a character's face or a subject takes up most of the screen. Now, most of the time, these shots are saved for emphasizing a character's emotions at dramatic moments in a story. For example, if a character is going through a moment of anguish, anger, fear, joy, etc. I'd recommend for you guys not to overuse this shots and save it for moments that really matter. A more intense version of this shot is the extreme close-up. An extreme close-up focuses on only one part of the character's face or a subject. Usually, this shot is used right before or right after a huge reveal in a story, marking it's turning point or the climax. Definitely, don't overuse this shot because you want to save it for the moments that really matter. Sometimes this shot is used at the beginning of a film. Just make sure that if you use this at the start of your storyboard, they follow it up with either an establishing shot or a wide shot so that your audience members know exactly where your character is standing and you introduce your audience to the world of your story. Another shot that often follows up on the extreme close up is a POV shots. The POV shot puts the audience in the characters point of view. Now, this method is very useful to have your audience members empathize with a character in moments of extreme emotional distress or confusion so whatever they are witnessing, the audience is experiencing too. If you're new to storyboarding, I wouldn't really recommend for you to use the POV shot too much because it can be quite tricky to storyboard and is usually reserved for very specific moments. Last shot I'll cover is the over the shoulder shot. The over the shadow shot is taken over one character's shoulder to showcase the other one speaking. Now, this method is most often used to convey characters conversing while highlighting one character's expressions and gestures. That's all the camera angles I'll cover in this lesson. Now that you know the storyboard terminology, think about the different camera angles you might want to use in your storyboard. Now, you don't have to use all of them, just use the ones that suit your story the best. I'd also recommend for you guys to re-watch different movies and shows that are similar in theme to your own storyboard. This is so that you can analyze when did they use different camera angles and how is it effective in telling their story. Now, in the next lesson, I'm going to teach you guys part 2 of storyboarding terminology, where I'll teach you different camera movements to use in your storyboard. See you in the next lesson. 11. Storyboard Terminology: Part 2: Let's learn more storyboard terminology in part two of two. In this lesson, we're going to learn a specific storyboard terminology and explore different camera movements we can use in our storyboard. Let's start by listing all the terminology in full first. Then I'll explain them in detail after two examples. The camera refers to what the audience is seeing on screen or the point of view of the audience. Staging refers to character's position in a scene in relation to each other for clear readability of their actions to the audience. Truck in is zooming in, truck out is zooming out. Pan left means the shot will move towards the left while pan right means the shot will move towards the right. A tracking shot is a shot that follows a single character or subject, that remains more or less in the center of the screen while the background passes as they move. Let's explore these terms in detail. I'll start by showing you an example of what a camera would see, depending on where it's placed in the layout. Let's say the camera is placed here by the fridge. Our view of the scene would be this. If our camera is placed slightly above the table or near the tables level, our view will be this. When I refer to the camera, I mean what the audience is seeing and what you're drawing within the screen. Now, I'll show you what staging is. Here, Z and J are following a baking recipe wrongly, because they don't have the right tools. J chooses a simple method that works. Z and J are positioned clearly so that you can see their full eye movements and you can see both their expressions and contrasting ways of dealing with the situation. Here's an example of bad staging and how it can affect your composition and clarity. The staging here is very unclear and bad, because the characters aren't spaced out well and because see where they are in the environment. Their main actions are cut off. The main focus of the entire sequence is scattered and doesn't make sense to the audience since we can't see what they're doing. In the first scene of them playing a baking tutorial on their phone. We can't tell what it is in the shot because it's very zoomed in. When you introduce a new item into the scene, be sure to leave space when you stage your environment, so that you can see the full shape of something like a phone and the audience can tell what the item is when it's being brought in. If someone you're collaborating with in animation advises you to improve your staging, that means they're referring to how the characters are placed in a scene in relation to the objects and their background. To those creating motion comics, remember to leave room for a speech bubbles because there are essentially another character in your storyboard. Now I'm going to show you an example of a truck in. A truck in is basically a zoom in. In this scene, Z has a realization that they forgot something important to her and to emphasize on her reaction, I made the camera truck in to her face. A truck in is usually used to emphasize on someone's reaction or dramatize a moment. Here's an example of truck out. A truck out is essentially a zoom out. A truck out is normally used to surprise the audience with a new environment or character. Here's an example of the camera panning left. In my storyboard the camera pans left from Z, who is wearing an appropriate baking outfit to J who is wearing a sloppy t-shirt. Here's an example of a pan right. In this storyboard, the camera pans right to reveal the cake that's burning in the oven. Most of the time, a pan left or pan right is used to reveal the contrast between two characters, or to reveal something that's been happening in the background unbeknownst to the audience. The last example is a tracking shot. A tracking shot is a shot that follows a single character that remains more or less in the middle of the screen as the background changes. This shot is predominantly used to show the audience a new environments through a character's eyes to evoke a feeling of wonder and whimsy. Its also often used at the beginning of films or when characters are brought into a new world. Always remember to check in with the animator and back up artists you're collaborating with when you're story-boarding, especially in the thumb nailing and rough draft stage. This is to be sure that whatever your story-boarding is possible for them to bring to the final outcome. The only reason why I added something as complicated as a tracking shot in my storyboard is because I'm not really planning to bring this to a final animation, I'm not bound by the same limitations. Now, you guys know all the storyboard terminology you need to draw your thumbnails. Once again, don't feel pressure to use all of these terminology and camera movements. I only listed them all so that you have choices to pick from when you are drawing your storyboard. With that, let's go to our next lesson, thumbnails. 12. Thumbnails: Let's draw some thumbnails. In this lesson, we are going to thumbnail our script from start to finish. Now you can thumbnail using any medium. It can be in Photoshop or in any joint program, or you can draw in your sketch book. To those who are drawing your thumbnails digitally, I provided a template for you under resources. As a guy's thumbnail, I would recommend that you guys have your references open, like your beat boards, you're a bird's eye view layout, and your background designs. This is so that if you are ever unsure of where your characters are or how would your background look like, you have a reference, or if you don't quite recall what the point of focus of the scene is supposed to be, checking back on your beat boards also help. Here are my thumbnails. I drew my thumbnails as a story about Pro, and I drew the characters and backgrounds in a separate layer above the thumbnail template. I would recommend those drawing this in Photoshop or any other drawing program, do the same. I actually normally draw my thumbnails in my sketchbook, but this time I drew it digitally for a presentation purposes. To those who are drawing traditionally, I would actually recommend for you guys to join your thumbnails panel by panel, with each thumbnail on a sticky note. This way, if you want to reorder your panels or any scenes, you can reorder it without having to redraw the whole set of thumbnails. That will make it easier to figure out what will be the best flow for your storyboard. You guys should probably use the regular yellow sticky notes since there is more space to draw your panels on, but I only chose this because it's adorable. If you guys are ever stuck when drawing your thumbnails, go ahead and re-watch the two previous lessons on story about terminology. That way, you can refresh your memory on what kind of shots and camera movements are available and figure out which ones were used each scene of your story but the best. All right. That's a wrap on thumbnails. After you draw the four sets, come back for our next lesson where we'll draw our rough draft together. Good luck, but most importantly have fun. 13. Rough Draft : Welcome back. Let's get to join our Rough Draft. In this lesson, we're going to learn how to draw our rough draft. Once again, you can use any medium that you want, whether it's digital or traditional. If you are drawing digitally, just makes sure that the layers that you draw your draft in are clearly labeled as draft layers. Trust me, it will save you a lot of confusion later on. If you're drawing your rough draft in Photoshop, make sure to draw all the panels in storyboard on separate layers in one master Photoshop file. To those who are drawing traditionally, you can choose whether or not you want to continue drawing your panels on sticky notes, or if you want to draw straight on your sketchbook. If you're drawing your panels on sticky notes still though, make sure that when you confirm what order your panels should be in, that you reinforce those sticky notes with glue and stick them in a sketchbook. This is to make sure that you don't lose any important panels. Just be sure to stick your sticky notes on a spiral bound sketchbook so that it'll be easier to scan later on. I'm using Storyboard Pro to do my rough draft. When you're doing a rough draft, make sure you refer to your thumbnails and don't be afraid to change anything if you feel like the flow can be better, or the continuity doesn't make sense. For example, I actually changed this thumbnail scene where J is struggling to close an umbrella when she enters the kitchen area. This is because it didn't really makes sense since the entrance to the house would be the living room rather than the kitchen area, so she would have already closed the umbrella then, plus Z would be over enthusiastic and be over buying baking goods. It makes more sense for J to have a lot of groceries instead. The rough draft version has J carrying a bunch of groceries and entering the kitchen area unenthusiastically. When drawing your rough draft, don't add too much details, just draw the general gestures and indicate roughly what would be in the background, because you're going to revise it later anyway. Personally, I like to draw my rough draft in blue because it clearly distinguishes between the draft layer and the final storyboard lines. An important step after you draw a rough draft in full is to get feedback from other people to see if your storeboard works. A good way to do that is to post your rough draft up as a project in this class to get feedback from other students who are also creating storyboards, and see what can be improved from your original draft. You can also share your own thoughts with other students work, so that you both can help each other out. In addition to that, you can ask feedback from the animator and the background artist you're working with to see what works and what doesn't in your storyboard. If you are your own animator and backer artists, you can just ask your family and friends and get their feedback to see what you can improve and what wasn't clear to them. That's all I have to say about the rough draft stage. After you're done, come back for the next lesson, where we'll learn about how to revise our storyboard. All the best guys. 14. Revised Draft: Welcome back. Let's get to revising our rough draft. In this lesson, we'll learn how to draw our rough draft. Now based on all the information and feedback that you've gathered from other people, as well as your own judgment as time to edit your storyboard according to the most common critique. To those who drew digitally, you can either choose to revise and edit on the same draft layer that you created or you can create a new revised draft layer and add it on top of your original one. To those who are drawing traditionally, you can choose to either maintain a sticky note method or rejoin your panels in a sketchbook. Either that or you can draw your panels in a digital format instead. So this revision is to make sure that wherever you drew before, is both clear and also carries the main story theme that you want to convey throughout your storyboard. When looking at your rough draft, be sure to ask yourself, is the main story theme coming true by the end of the storyboard. If not, what can you do to change it and make sure that it's expressed to the audience. If you're feeling stuck, feel free to re-watch these storytelling and clarity lessons that were under the principles of story-boarding segment in this class. So that you can remember how to express the main story theme to your audience. I made some revisions to my storyboard to. In this scene, J is folding up a grocery back into a triangle as Z is reading out the shopping list to check if they have everything. I found that, that sequence dragged on because Z was reading out the shopping list for quite awhile and that scene with J folding the plastic bag served no purpose. So I took it out entirely. So guys, don't be afraid to throw out scenes that don't work, you can definitely draw a better one. Another scene I changed was the scene where J is melting chocolates and the cake is burning in the oven. The first time I drew this on the rough draft, it was way too fast. So in my revised draft, I slowed things down and reordered the sequence of events. If anything is unclear, sometimes just adding scenes or re-ordering and slowing down a scene would make it work much better. That's all I have to say about revising your storyboard. Good luck and I'm sure you can do it. We are so close to the end. After that, come back and I'll teach you the next lesson how to finalize your storyboard. 15. Finalising your Storyboard: Let's finalize our storyboard. [MUSIC] In this lesson, we're going to learn how to finalize our storyboard draft. Now, if you're your own animates and back on artists, then you don't necessarily have to do this step as long as you're clear how the character animations should be like based on your revised draft, and you know what you should draw in your background when you bring it to a final visual. If you're passing your storyboard to another animator or another background artist, however, you should definitely finalize your lines so that they are clear exactly how to animate every character and what to finalize in the background seems. For those of you who are finalizing a story about digitally, I recommend for you guys to create a new liner layer above your revised draft layer, and then group them together in accordance to each frame or panel of your storyboard. Here's how to do it in Photoshop. Create a new layer and rename it as your liner layer. After that, select all of the layers that belong to a single frame or a single panel, and press control+G to group all these layers together. After you group all the layers that belongs to a single panel, renamed the layer in accordance to the panel number that it is. If you plan to finalize your story about traditionally, you can use any kind of smudge proof pen and draw above the revised draft lines that you drew in a sketchbook. You can also choose to finalize a story about digitally, if you do traditionally beforehand, by scanning all of your revised draft and then import it into Photoshop and draw new layers above your scanned layer. Usually when I finalized my storyboard, I like to create separate layers for my character liner and buy back online art. Personally, I find it easier to organize my characters and background in this way so that if I want to move it, I can do so freely. Also, when I have a character or object in the foreground, I create a separate foreground layer. This is in case I need to move the foreground or I want to delete it entirely. All right guys, that's all I have to say about finalizing your storyboard. Our next lesson is the end of our class, where I'll teach you how to export your storyboard into a PDF and share my final thoughts. Good luck guys, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 16. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you now have a fully complete storyboard. Let's wrap up this class. This is our final lesson where we'll learn how to export our storyboard into different file formats, then I'll share my final thoughts. From here, you can choose either to export your story book as a PDF, j-pegs or both. Here is how to do it. Select the group containing your frame or panel, then select this icon, this is the layer comp icon. Once selected, create a new layer by clicking on this icon. You can rename your layer comp in accordance to the panel number. Do this to all the other panels in your storyboard. Select file, then select scripts, then choose layer comps to PDF. Choose where you want to save your PDF to, and then click run. After that, you have your PDF ready. If you want to export your files into j-pegs instead, select file, then scripts, then click on layer comps to files instead, and again, choose where you want to save your j-pegs to, then click run. After that, you have your j-pegs. For those who drew your storyboards traditionally, you can decide if you want to have digital copies of them. If you do, just scan them into your computer. In case you want to create a PDF of all your storyboard scans, here's how. Once you have scanned all of your storyboard panels, you can import them into Photoshop by clicking file, place embedded. Select the panel that you want to import, then click place. Photoshop will import it as a separate layer. After that, you can export your layers into a PDF using the layer comp method I just taught you. Alright guys, that's a wrap on our class, storyboard for animation. In summary, we learned both the theory and practice of story-boarding. Our theory covered how to identify our main story theme, collecting references, learning the principles of story-boarding, which consisted of storytelling, clarity, the 180 degree rule, composition, continuity, and storyboard terminology and our practice had us doing our beat boards, thumbnails, rough and revised draft, and our final storyboard. I want to congratulate you guys once again for making it this far and completing your storyboard. From here, you can share your final storyboard by creating a project or by updating the project you've created prior with your final storyboard. I love to see what you guys have created and I can't wait to see your projects. Thank you guys so much for joining my class and I'll see you around.