Storyboarding: Background information when reading The Animators

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The Animators

A Novel

by Kayla Rae Whitaker

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker X
The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2017, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2017, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Storyboarding

Print Review

Star Wars StoryboardIn The Animators, best friends Sharon and Mel spend hours hunched over their artwork that will form the basis of an animated movie. "I know a day of work has been really good when I have to look up from the board and recall who I am and what I'm doing," Sharon says. That "board" that she refers to is one of a series of images that together make up whatever project the duo happen to be working on.

Storyboarding is the first element in the production of a whole range of projects – from animated movies to television commercials and even software programs. It is a series of rough sketches that are presented in sequence to indicate storyline and forward movement. In animated movies such as Sharon and Mel's Nashville Combat, these storyboard images form the first building blocks from which the final movie is made.

Storyboard TemplateStoryboard drawings are usually very roughly sketched and are not used as the basis for the final animation. Instead these drawings are more instructional, essentially like a blueprint for the movie (or a section of a movie) conveying how the characters grow and develop. Notes are also scribbled on the storyboard, sometimes to explain the development of the plot, and other times to indicate where the light and action should come from and how they will be used. Like visual instruction manuals, storyboards are usually tacked on a wall as a visual so everyone can see the entire process from beginning to end.

Storyboarding is also where potential problems that could manifest later can be caught, thus saving expensive production time and effort. This is why, in addition to expensive animation movies, this tool is also used to tease out large-scale software programs. Walt Disney created the first storyboards for his iconic Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse short film.

Steamboat Willie Storyboard

Storyboard panel from Star Wars, by artist Joe Johnston, courtesy of screencrush.com
Example of a Storyboard Template
Storyboard from Steamboat Willie, courtesy of artofdisney.canalblog.com

Article by Poornima Apte

This article was originally published in February 2017, and has been updated for the September 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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