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Back to Basics for Animation #2: Developing a Storyboard

Posted by Emmy Rey on Jul 28, 2016 2:49:57 PM

We’ve partnered up with Moho (formerly Anime Studio) enthusiast, artist and educator, McCoy Buck to bring you a new blog series called 'Back to Basics for Animation'. This blog series will feature a variety of different animation tips for beginner animators. Hope you enjoy, now let the animating begin!

Now that you have developed your character using our helpful guidelines in our last post Back to Basics for Animation #1: Character Conception, it is time to write a story for your character and plan your animation using storyboards. 

A storyboard is a sequence of drawings, typically with some direction and dialogue, representing the shots planned for your animation. For this example we’re creating a simple, short animation with only one character (Blue, our monster man featured in our last post) and with very little background animation, so there will be no dialogue. We will however, get some audio from my dog making goofy noises.

Think of your storyboard as the plan for your animation. You will use it to plan your key character poses, your camera, and the scene transitions. Even though it might feel like an extra step it is so important to get into the habit of planning your animations with storyboards. It really helps to keep everything very organized.

Let’s take comics for example, they are one of the best representations of how a storyboard should look. The difference between the two is, a storyboard doesn’t need to be as detailed and you’ll have your scene, dialogue (if any), and any additional information written beneath your picture describing what is happening in the shot.

When you create your storyboards you decide how much detail you want to go into it, but remember, the more detail, the better idea you will have of what your finished product will look like.

Time to get started!

First, let’s take our character ‘Blue’ and give him a really cool/ simple looping animation. Then we will have him walk to the edge of a cliff, jump off, fall, hit the ground, pick himself up, and walk to the end of the cliff to jump again. Below is an example of how I would plan out my storyboard with my character ‘Blue’.

Focus: key poses - some shots - one scene

Audio: various recordings of dog noises for our character sounds

Shot: 1 - walking - shot in his contact pose

Shot: 2 - standing at the end of the cliff

Shot: 3 - looking down

Shot: 4 - crouching down - anticipating for the jump

Shot: 5 - leaving the ground tongue dragging behind

Shot: 6 - reaching the top of the arch in the jump

Shot: 7 - Falling down towards ground opens mouth to scream

Shot: 8 - Falling out of scene

For some inspiration check out animators, Chris Crispe Phillips (@cr1spe) and James Curran (@slimjimstudios) on instagram, to see how they create looping animations. And don't forget to follow @smsigraphics as well!

Here’s a cute one from @cr1spe:


Manimals - Mating #animatedgif #animation #loop #gif

A video posted by Chris Crispe Phillips (@cr1spe) on

For more beginners info be sure to follow me on instagram @mccoy_buck and join the Anime Studio/ Moho Facebook Group to connect with other animators and see what they’re creating!

Check out the next post in this series ‘Back to Basics for Animation #3: Adding Audio & Creating an Animatic’ to see the next animation tip!

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Topics: Insider, Moho (Anime Studio), Featured Artists, News, Education, Digital Artists, Back to Basics for Animation

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