View Full Version : Why is Storyboarder free?

09-12-2017, 10:13 AM


Cool app. They loooove Sony Pictures.

09-12-2017, 10:21 AM
They have colorful language for Sony

09-12-2017, 10:44 AM
And of course to answer - Why is Storyboarder free?

Storyboarder is niche software. The market is tiny. There's an inverse relationship between the market size and price we have to charge to make money. We are building this tool for ourselves to make better movies. We make money making movies, not software. We believe creative software should be free. Let's be completely real I've never known anyone working on dope *** **** to be paying for the software they use anyways.

Storyboard Pro - ****** software that costs $1000? Boords and other online software that just allows you to order images and costs a monthly fee?


09-12-2017, 10:51 AM
Website blocked by NOD32 here :
"The web page is on the list of websites with potentially dangerous content.
Access to it has been blocked."

09-12-2017, 11:43 AM
Yes, LWDG, that is how to communicate with customers. :D More seriously, two computers I used stuttered on the website, and after reading such a colourful tirade against Sony, Storyboarder itself will require your email beforehand so I'm not quite sure what's going on there. Still, providing there is no hidden [email protected] built in, it looks good in theory (I haven't opened it yet).

09-12-2017, 12:13 PM
Website blocked by NOD32 here :
"The web page is on the list of websites with potentially dangerous content.
Access to it has been blocked."

I've got some pretty aggressive malware detection running and I did not get any alerts.

There might be false positives because it is built on Electron (https://electron.atom.io/), which lets most anybody create executables (good or malicious). Being open source on GitHub makes it highly unlikely there is a cause for concern.

There might be adware/bundleware in the installer that could be causing alerts. I bypassed the installer to get around granting administrative access to it. I just extracted the download with 7-zip. The program can run portably on Windows, without installation, and without administrative access.

It is a nice little tool.

09-12-2017, 01:39 PM
I played around with Storyboarder last weekend. I only used if to short while but found it surprisingly usable considering the price. The drawing tools are decent, you can re-arrange panels, and the PDF export is in a standard format. You can even time the duration of panels, play the boards as an animatic, and then save out a file for Premiere or Final Cut. Oh, and if you need better tools, you can shuttle an image to Photoshop and back with a button click.

That said, I normally use Storyboard Pro for personal projects and sometimes for work, and I'll continue using SBP because:

- Storyboard Pro is a far more flexible when it comes to layouts. Storyboarder seems to have only one format, so if you need to match the layout to a different studio standard, you're out of luck.

- Unlike Storyboard Pro, Storyboarder doesn't support layers. So no separating BG images from characters so you can resuse them. You can at least duplicate a panel and then modify it though.

- Storyboard Pro has some basic animation tools making it more appropriate for creating animatics. (Although, I usually wind up using AE for this sort of thing.)

- Storyboarder doesn't have a layout mode you can view and edit, just a horizontal timeline where you can drag and drop single images. This is fine for shorter format projects like commericals but could be a pain for longer format productions.

- As a matter of fact, Storyboard Pro's biggest strength is its sorting and organizational tools. You can group panels by Scenes and Sequences, move them around, and not worry about the panel numbers getting mixed up. Storyboarder is quite minimalist in this area.

I thnk if you don't need these features, or have never used Storyboard Pro, or never intend to get it, then Storyboarder is a perfectly capable program. While it's hardly a replacement for SBP, I do think it's the best free alternative to it.

And all THAT said, yes, I think SBP is way over-priced. I would upgrade my license more regularly if it wasn't so expensive.

The only really bad thing I can say about Storyboarder is this: what's up with the horribly annoying sound effects? When I first heard it I thought this was a kids 'toy' program and nearly quit without even trying it. (At least you can turn it off.) :)

Note: as mentioned earlier, I only used Storyboarder for a brief time. If I wrote anything inaccurate in the above, please feel free to correct me.

09-12-2017, 02:15 PM
A nice overview video appears here:

09-12-2017, 03:16 PM
Ah, thanks for posting that video.

I see I was wrong about limited formatting options. There's no layout view mode but you can change the layout format before you print. The feature is not as flexible but it's much better than I first.

09-13-2017, 12:54 AM
Storyboard Pro - €1100

outch. guess it's nice for Pro's though.

Storyboard Free looks nice, thanks for sharing   :)

09-13-2017, 09:07 AM
Storyboard Pro - €1100

outch. guess it's nice for Pro's though.
Yeah, it's expensive.

If you watch their website, SBP goes on sale from time to time. I think I got my license for under $500 several years ago. I've used it on enough paying jobs to make it worth it but I don't use it enough to routinely upgrade it.

It's an excellent program if you regularly do projects with 100 panels or more and expect the boards to change often. I think working under similar circumstances would get a lot more challenging with Storyboarder.

Not trying to dismiss Storyboarder--I think it provides many essential tools for creating storyboards--but it also lacks many features important to larger scale productions.

I'm keeping an eye on it though as I'm sure the developers will keep improving it. :)

09-13-2017, 12:10 PM
Two thoughts...

More features are likely on their way. It is open source so anybody can submit a patch or fork it.

It just changed the niche market for storyboard software. That could mean more competition of features and pricing from Toon Boom's Storyboard Pro or Toonz's Story Planner. Even users of paid software could benefit from the appearance of Storyboarder.

09-19-2017, 10:30 AM
So I tried out Storyboarder on a small project. Well, actually my 10-year-old daughter Sienna did. So here are some more notes about the program.

Sienna is working on an animation project for school (kinda like the one she did last year but a little more ambitious this time.) Sunday she showed me the first draft of her storyboard, which she roughed out on three sheets of copy paper. Just for kicks, I thought it might be fun to see what she could do with Storyboarder.

So we scanned the boards, and copy/pasted the individual panels to Storyboarder. This went smoothly--Storyboarder automatically fits each image into a new panel. In a matter of a few minutes, we got her 24 panel storyboard entered. Then she started entering her scene notes and dialog for each panel.

After adjusting the timing and playing back the boards, she decided to trim the project down to 17 panels. Still a lot to get done in two weeks but we agreed her project was more doable now.

Next she wanted to clean up the boards a little and maybe color them in Storyboarder. Here are some limitations we discovered.

- Storyboarder doesn't have a lasso or marquee tool.
- There is only Move and Scale for transform tools.
- Transforms affect the entire frame.

I guess this is why they have the Send to Photoshop button. Unfortunately, you can't link that to a different program if you don't want to use Photoshop. I was a bit surprised about the lack of a lasso or marquee tool--that's kind of a deal killer for me personally but Sienna didn't think that was too big a deal. (She's more confident about her drawing skills than I am.) I think she was more annoyed about the Photoshop button since she doesn't have Photoshop on her computer (plus, she prefers Fire Alpaca.)

Next we printed out the storyboard. It came out in a 9 panel format with text underneath each panel. Presentable but I still wish there were more layout options like Storyboard Pro has.

Next, we output the editorial data. This exported the individual images and an .xml file. I wasn't sure if this was going to work with Vegas Pro. The first .xml import option errored out. The second one imported and then gave an error, but the timeline looked fine. (I'll submit the error to the Storyboarder developers.)

This morning before school/work, we recorded the scratch track directly into Vegas. After a few minutes of trimming the audio and moving/stretching images, we had a finished animatic, ready for animation.

Not a bad workflow. I think Sienna liked using it.

09-19-2017, 11:28 AM
@Greenlaw: Download the sample Fountain markup script file here: https://fountain.io/

In the start-up dialog, click open, and select the fountain script.

Nice... Open format scripting-->automatic storyboard with all scenes prepared for you. Awesome.

Storyboarder supports layers (of a sort): each tool works on its own dedicated layer. When you open the folder where you saved the storyboard, notice it saved each tool's drawing in a separate PNG file.

The lack of support for tools other than Photoshop is frustrating, but I found a reasonable work-around for now: I open the folder with the scene's PNG files, and use PhotoLine to edit with layers. PhotoLine has a convenient option that allows for saving a flattened file with a 'sidecar' layered source PLD file. Opening the PNG file will open the layered PLD file automatically, and after making changes, ctrl-s saves both the flattened PNG and an updated layered sidecar file.

Another boon to Storyboarders file saving is that it is completely compatible with Git/GitHub - very easy to add a powerful version control workflow. In particular when using a visual Git tool like GitKraken.

09-19-2017, 11:53 AM
Thanks for the tips. I'll check out Fountain as soon as I get the chance.

I noticed extra layers in Photoshop after I clicked the Send to PS button, and I had wondered why it did that. Mystery solved! :)

Using PS is an okay workaround but, at minimum, it really should have proper BG, MG, FG layering--I think most SB artists/animators would insist on that. I'm sure others have requested this feature but I'll put mine in tonight.

09-19-2017, 12:01 PM
The latest version throws errors when I select a scene in the scene list. The dev is working on debugging it (today, based on his github activity).

They are aware of the lack of a background layer. Panning the camera is one more thing I miss, btw. Someone else already put in a request for that. The devs seem to be quite open to (good) production suggestions.

09-19-2017, 05:03 PM
The problem I had with it was my pen strokes would sort of suddenly streak at a 45 degree angle when scribbling. I like it otherwise.

09-19-2017, 06:12 PM
preview >