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hazmat777
08-06-2014, 03:30 PM
Sorry if this has been covered to death, but I was wondering how the pros (you guys) use software to do it. I'm a terrible drawing artist, so I dug out my old Manga Studio 3 EX and got it re-installed. Do any of you have suggestions for better software or is it just a matter practicing my drawing skills? I have a Wacom 12x12 (mostly used for textures) and PS CS4, Flipbook and other more photo geared software. I'm really more of a photographer than anything right now. Any clues you can leave like breadcrumbs for an idiot like myself? Thank you !

BigHache
08-06-2014, 04:00 PM
I am an illustrator and unless you're on a Wacom Cintiq or similar, I find drawing in software pretty insufficient to analogue drawing. It's completely different and your drawing skills with a real pencil need to be up to snuff or drawing on a tablet will likely be worse. Of course everyone is different and some take to tablets better/faster.

I don't find tablet drawing easier. I find it offers conveniences that pencil/pen don't, like I don't have to scan it in. I can select an area and resize it. My stylus nib isn't .03 pencil lead that will snap if I press to hard.

Storyboards also don't necessarily have to be complicated or beautiful works of art. They need to convey a story.

So yes, you need to practice. For me illustration starts with studying. I study everything. Something catches my eye, I study it. How the light interacts with it, how it moves, how the wind blows it. After study, how do you recreate it in your medium? To a degree it's not that different than photography. Two different ways to capture an image and convey information.

hazmat777
08-06-2014, 04:46 PM
Thanks BigHache ! I already have two stories in mind, I guess I'm just a little intimidated about putting them visually to "paper" and hearing the response. Criticism is something I'm used to after 2 years at Animation Mentor, but it would vary so wildly sometimes I become cautious instead of bold. An old girlfriend told me, "Buck up little soldier!" I guess I'll have to re-study my drawing books and get to work. Thanks again.

BigHache
08-06-2014, 08:11 PM
With criticism, like many things in life, everyone's opinion is not always good. :)

KurtF
08-06-2014, 10:14 PM
I'm currently liking Krita for all my drawing and painting needs. It's Free / Open Source, and has some terrific tools and presets for drawing formats. Of course you can also create and save your own.

https://krita.org/index.php

Of course it won't draw the stuff for you, but comfortable software really does help.

hazmat777
08-07-2014, 06:22 PM
These look interesting ! http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/store/category/138/

Kind of expensive for me right now though. Gonna try and scratch together some dough for them. I imagine for the most part one could use any semi-decent illustration software if you know your way around a bit.

hazmat777
08-07-2014, 06:32 PM
I'm currently liking Krita for all my drawing and painting needs. It's Free / Open Source, and has some terrific tools and presets for drawing formats. Of course you can also create and save your own.

https://krita.org/index.php

Of course it won't draw the stuff for you, but comfortable software really does help.

Trying out Krita and liking it a lot ! Thanks for the tip.

KurtF
08-07-2014, 08:15 PM
You bet.

jeric_synergy
08-07-2014, 10:38 PM
Don't sweat your storyboards: they aren't the goal, only a means to the goal. As long as they communicate, they're working.

Greenlaw
08-08-2014, 08:14 AM
Not all storyboards are drawn. Some filmmakers just use a still camera and shoot photos of real locations and actors for storyboards--just grab a couple of friends for stand-ins and go. There are iPhone apps available to help organize boards like this.

When the mind bending time travel movie Primer came out, the director was at the screening I saw and he described his storyboard process. He went to the actual locations and shot still photos using the same lens and film stock he would shoot the film with. As a result, he knew exactly what the movie would look like before it was even shot, and it cost him almost nothing to get there. (The total budget for Primer was something like $7,000 for a feature that was entirely shot on film, and it looks fantastic.) Anyway, I thought his approach was a clever, inexpensive way to fool proof a production before investing a lot of money and time into it.

If you don't want to 'pre-shoot' your project with stills, there are also iPhone/iPad apps that use a library of pre-drawn elements or 3D objects to compose scenes and organize them into storyboards. Do a search using the keywords 'storyboard' and 'app'.

General purpose sketchbook apps like Wacom Paper work well too. I like to draw my own boards in Storyboard Pro but when I'm out and about, I like to use the Wacom Paper on an iPad to rough out sequences to use as reference later on when I'm working on the actual boards. If you don't draw, that's probably not exactly what you want but Wacom Paper is mostly free and easy to use for organizing sequential artwork.

Storyboards don't need to look 'beautiful', especially if they're just intended for yourself or a few people you work with. They just need to illustrate composition and sequential order to the people involved with the production--thumbnails are usually all you need.

Here's my storyboard for 'Happy Box' for example. It was rough and quickly sketched in a couple of evenings after dinner, and it is shot-for-shot exactly what the movie wound up being. Here I used the program Storyboard Pro but I could have just as easily drawn these on index cards or on pre-printed copy paper like I used to do. This storyboard is nothing fancy but it definitely helped the movie stay focused and get completed in a fairly short time. Some TV commercials and game trailers I've done storyboards for weren't much more detailed than this.

Storyboarding 'Happy Box' (http://www.littlegreendog.com/studio/sessions/003/sessions003_001.php#.U-TXcGM_lQI)

Hope this helps.

G.

roboman
08-08-2014, 08:32 AM
I tend to use poser/daz. The backgrounds tend to be photos, drawings or some times models. The 'storyboards' tend to be some where between a storyboard and a pre-vis. Mostly it's new product demos or stuff that's going to trade shows, so it's not like a movie, just a little story or just a showing off of a product, but it seems to work for me to get the idea across of what the flow might be and work out things that aren't working.

hazmat777
08-09-2014, 08:25 PM
Thanks for all the tips everyone!! I think I'm going to try getting as much as I can photographic, then import to DAZ and drawing the rest. It will be my first project in a long time, but at least it's already storyboarded in my mind!! :)

Surrealist.
08-10-2014, 08:58 AM
My suggestion is to do what ever is the quickest to get the story idea into paper. A storyboard phase should be quick and flexible and easy to go back and make changes. The guy that does storyboards in my studio uses PS mainly because he is familiar and it is very fast. If I come back with changes or new ideas it is very easy for us to adapt. I think it is good to have basic art skills and it helps. I would say remove most of the steps and software from the process and just sketch to the best of your ability and don't have it in stone. Be able to go back and change easily.

hazmat777
08-10-2014, 09:14 AM
My suggestion is to do what ever is the quickest to get the story idea into paper. A storyboard phase should be quick and flexible and easy to go back and make changes. The guy that does storyboards in my studio uses PS mainly because he is familiar and it is very fast. If I come back with changes or new ideas it is very easy for us to adapt. I think it is good to have basic art skills and it helps. I would say remove most of the steps and software from the process and just sketch to the best of your ability and don't have it in stone. Be able to go back and change easily.

Good point ! :thumbsup:

Thanks !

jeric_synergy
08-10-2014, 11:48 AM
If you watch the extras on the movie "Shoot 'em Up", I believe the director shows the very very very sketchy storyboards he used. I doubt he spent more than 30 seconds on each page.

Sharpy® and blank paper, IIRC.

Greenlaw
08-10-2014, 10:07 PM
You're absolutely right. There's a lot to be said for putting the initial ideas on paper as quickly as possible.

Contrary to what I wrote above, I'll sometimes put aside the iPad and tablet PC, and start by knocking out a bunch of thumbnails on a long note pad--these sketches can be so rough and abstract that only I can understand their meaning, but this near 'stream of consciousness' approach helps me get the essential 'big picture' out of my head. Once the whole thing is out, then I can take the time to refine the ideas, work out the details, and create new drawings that are more accessible to others who may be working with me. This usually works out a lot faster than when I work exclusively within computer programs.

TBH, I sometimes find using too much tech can be a big distraction and hindrance to the creative process. Nothing really beats a traditional pencil and note pad for brainstorming. :)

G.

DigitalSorcery8
08-11-2014, 01:58 AM
Not all storyboards are drawn. Some filmmakers just use a still camera and shoot photos of real locations and actors for storyboards--just grab a couple of friends for stand-ins and go.

In a way that's exactly what I did for Scotty Chase: 2075. I had built/refurbished all of the sets and had all of the characters, so I just put the characters in the set usually just standing there in the positions I wanted and rendered out one frame. Then I created a template in InDesign and inserted the image. It didn't matter if the characters weren't perfect, but it gave me a great indication of where I wanted to go and was very helpful in continuity. In fact the storyboards were VERY important when I went to edit the film - they gave me a perfect starting AND reference point for the entire project and I used them extensively. I've attached an example of how the storyboard looked.

Ernest
08-11-2014, 06:06 AM
I usually just draw stick figures and popsicle trees *shame*
(Well, box figures, really, but close enough.)

hazmat777
08-11-2014, 07:42 AM
I got a soft-cover print of this and will be going through it again. Wayne Gilbert's http://www.anamie.com/book/simplified-drawing/. Combined with Steven Katz http://www.amazon.com/Film-Directing-Shot-Visualizing-Productions/dp/0941188108

I should be able to throw something at the wall and see if it sticks. :)

Anyone been through these?

jeric_synergy
08-11-2014, 09:09 AM
That first one looks GREAT.

Triodin
08-11-2014, 09:53 AM
In a way that's exactly what I did for Scotty Chase: 2075. I had built/refurbished all of the sets and had all of the characters, so I just put the characters in the set usually just standing there in the positions I wanted and rendered out one frame. Then I created a template in InDesign and inserted the image. It didn't matter if the characters weren't perfect, but it gave me a great indication of where I wanted to go and was very helpful in continuity. In fact the storyboards were VERY important when I went to edit the film - they gave me a perfect starting AND reference point for the entire project and I used them extensively. I've attached an example of how the storyboard looked.

Indesign is perfect for storyboard layout after you're done drawing / rendering, love the ability to just drop your assets into content placeholders. Very cool stuff!

BigHache
08-11-2014, 11:44 AM
InDesign is what I use as well. It works and there's not much leaving me going, "Man, I really wish it had X for storyboards..."

Can you imagine a client requesting boards in MS Excel???

meatycheesyboy
08-11-2014, 12:28 PM
I love seeing everyone's input on this and seeing people workflows. I work primarily with corporate clients for the videos that I produce. The clients generally aren't very savvy so we have a few rules at work about storyboards:

1. The more drawings the better. If a storyboard frame needs more than 1 or 2 sentences accompanying it for direction then you need another drawing.
2. Storyboards cannot be done digitally. Our clients get easily confused about story vs. visual style so we imposed the no digital rule so they clearly understand that they are reviewing story only, not visuals.

Those rules cut down on the pain we have when reviewing boards with clients but not always. Also, being corporate, our videos always have some sort of narration so we usually deliver the storyboards with an animatic that consists of the storyboard frames with a dummy voice over (usually my voice).

As for software, we create the boards with pencil and paper then add arrows, symbols, text, camera direction, etc. in PowerPoint. For the animatic we just use After Effects or Premiere to quickly put something together.

Triodin
08-11-2014, 03:38 PM
Our clients get easily confused about story vs. visual style so we imposed the no digital rule so they clearly understand that they are reviewing story only, not visuals.


Totally agree - my clients are usually so excited to move on to animation that I should start implementing this rule into my own workflow to make things easier on everyone!