Bringing Ideas To Life With Storyboarding & Animatics

June 29, 2022

No matter how sophisticated a project, it all has to start from scratch. It has to start with a vision, followed by the first pen marks of that vision on the page. Storyboarding, and later the animatics stage, is how we first begin to realize the client’s story through character and sequence. By allocating a good portion of time to crafting storyboards, and then discussing them with the client, you stand to optimize your production pipeline through time- and cost-effective means. 


In our collaboration with Sorbet, storyboards were an integral part of the pre-production. Our client required a video which took the complexity of its product, and relayed it through an accessible animation piece. After receiving the green-light on our Creative Direction Presentation, we entered the storyboarding stage to figure out how to refine their messaging into a palatable sequence.





Storyboard Designs


For all projects, we have a dedicated person working on the storyboard designs. They first receive the script from the Creativ


e Director, sometimes with a pre-recorded voice-over or visual description. At Igloo, we like to approach our script with detail, but also with a mind to giving the storyboard artist enough freedom to express themselves.


We use Adobe Animate for videos which are more character- or narrative-based, because it’s a quick and intuitive software. It is also effective at quickly transforming the storyboard into an Animatic. But for projects with pre-existing assets given by the client, we build each frame instead with Adobe Photoshop. 


In both processes, we do a script breakdown, and begin with drawing ‘key actions.’ Then we start to break things down into ‘sub-actions,’ which means more detailed sections of character motion and additional detail to the environments. Although storyboards and animatics are rough ‘blocks’ of how the final video will play out, we want to make it as clear and detailed as possible. This gives the client a good idea of where we’re headed, but also the Animation Director when they start working on the sequence.



Creating Magic


For Sorbet, it took us about 2-3 days to complete storyboarding, with occasional inputs and revisions from the client. This timespan is typical; by the time the designer reaches a third day of the storyboard, the frames are sufficiently detailed with additional ‘style frames’ attached. For a 90-second video such as this, we usually create 20-40 drawings. Combined with a voice-over if possible, the core objective of the entire video-board is achieved: timing.


Once this is locked in with the client, our animators can get to work. In that sense, the client will have properly visualized what they’re going to get, including the structure and flow of the piece. Crucially, committing to this rough sequence decreases the likelihood that the client will back-track on the primary design concepts of the video, and thus move backwards up the production pipeline. 


Finally, before handing it off to the animation team, we number each shot and assign them to different people, with maximum efficiency in mind. So, for instance, if certain environments recur throughout the sequence, one animator will be dedicated to those. Similarly, because of having undertaken the storyboard process with our client, we will also have figured out which elements which can re-use, as well as how much work is required on each shot.



End Result


Coupled with constant communication, storyboarding proves to be the most important part of pre-production and the core template for how to proceed with our budget and time. Because of this, our presentation of the final product is usually never a surprise to the client.


If you’re looking to tell your product’s story with a blend of simplicity and detail, the Storyboarding phase is a vital tool for refining your message. As part of Magic Media we have the combined bandwidth to tackle any project, at any size, in house. Check out the range of video styles we’ve worked on from our reels, and let us help you bring your story to life by getting in contact with us today!