“A Child’s Dream: Learning To Fly” – Animatic
As promised, a first rough version of “A Child’s Dream: Learning To Fly” animatic is now complete. A reworked version with an appropriate soundtrack is currently in progress. The current soundtrack is “Comptine D’un Autre été L’après-midi – Yann Tiersen”. But for now let’s talk about storyboards and animatics, as the main steps in the pre-production process.
Are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence.
The storyboarding process, in the form it is known today, was developed at the Walt Disney Studio during the early 1930s, after several years of similar processes being in use at Walt Disney and other animation studios.
A film storyboard is essentially a large comic of the film or some section of the film produced beforehand to help film directors, cinematographers and television commercial advertising clients visualize the scenes and find potential problems before they occur. Often storyboards include arrows or instructions that indicate movement.
In creating a motion picture with any degree of fidelity to a script, a storyboard provides a visual layout of events as they are to be seen through the camera lens. And in the case of interactive media, it is the layout and sequence in which the user or viewer sees the content or information. In the storyboarding process, most technical details involved in crafting a film or interactive media project can be efficiently described either in picture, or in additional text.
A common misconception is that storyboards are not used in theatre. They are frequently special tools that directors and playwrights use to understand the layout of the scene.
In animation and special effects work, the storyboarding stage may be followed by simplified mock-ups called “animatics” to give a better idea of how the scene will look and feel with motion and timing. At its simplest, an animatic is a series of still images edited together and displayed in sequence with a rough dialogue and/or rough sound track added to the sequence of still images (usually taken from a storyboard) to test whether the sound and images are working effectively together.
This allows the animators and directors to work out any screenplay, camera positioning, shot list and timing issues that may exist with the current storyboard. The storyboard and soundtrack are amended if necessary, and a new animatic may be created and reviewed with the director until the storyboard is perfected. Editing the film at the animatic stage can avoid animation of scenes that would be edited out of the film. Animation is usually an expensive process, so there should be a minimum of “deleted scenes” if the film is to be completed within budget.
Often storyboards are animated with simple zooms and pans to simulate camera movement (using non-linear editing software). These animations can be combined with available animatics, sound effects and dialog to create a presentation of how a film could be shot and cut together. Some feature film DVD special features include production animatics.
Animatics are also used by advertising agencies to create inexpensive test commercials. A variation, the “rip-o-matic”, is made from scenes of existing movies, television programs or commercials, to simulate the look and feel of the proposed commercial. Rip, in this sense, refers to ripping-off an original work to create a new one.
Storyboards for films are created in a multiple step process. They can be created by hand drawing or digitally on a computer. The main characteristics of a storyboard are:
- – Visualize the storytelling.
- – Focus the story and the timing in several key frames (very important in animation).
- – Define the technical parameters: description of the motion, the camera, the lighting, etc.
If drawing by hand, the first step is to create or download a storyboard template. These look much like a blank comic strip, with space for comments and dialogue. Then sketch a “thumbnail” storyboard. Some directors sketch thumbnails directly in the script margins. These storyboards get their name because they are rough sketches not bigger than a thumbnail. For some motion pictures, thumbnail storyboards are sufficient.
However, some filmmakers rely heavily on the storyboarding process. If a director or producer wishes, more detailed and elaborate storyboard images are created. These can be created by professional storyboard artists by hand on paper or digitally by using 2D storyboarding programs. Some software applications even supply a stable of storyboard-specific images making it possible to quickly create shots which express the director’s intent for the story. These boards tend to contain more detailed information than thumbnail storyboards and convey more of the mood for the scene. These are then presented to the project’s cinematographer who achieves the director’s vision.
Finally, if needed, 3D storyboards are created (called ‘technical previsualization’). The advantage of 3D storyboards is they show exactly what the film camera will see using the lenses the film camera will use. The disadvantage of 3D is the amount of time it takes to build and construct the shots. 3D storyboards can be constructed using 3D animation programs or digital puppets within 3D programs. Some programs have a collection of low resolution 3D figures which can aid in the process. Some 3D applications allow cinematographers to create “technical” storyboards which are optically-correct shots and frames.