GET ON BOARD Storyboard artist Fred Gago offers a nine-hour primer for the first and most important stage of animation
The process of animation starts long before any actual animating is done. Whether you’re creating a short single-handed or are part of a team, the storyboard is essential for understanding how a tale will be told. Animation remains work-intensive despite all the computing power at our disposal, so using storyboards to figure out what works and what doesn’t can save you many hours.
In Storyboarding Techniques, Fred Gago takes you into the mind of a storyboard artist, helping you understand what your goals should be. He starts with the housekeeping of building a storyboard layout template in Photoshop and assembling basic visual reference to communicate the flavour of the setting and characters.
As you’ll discover through this ninehour masterclass, the point of the storyboard is to convey information as clearly as possible. The design of the main character may not be complete, for example, but Fred will still be sure to give him/her/it a distinctive look and silhouette, so they’re immediately recognisable in every frame. Choice of camera angles is also key: Fred shows you many of the most-used, although a more systematic run-through might have been useful. You’ll also learn how he uses elements in the scene as framing devices to reinforce the setting, and why he pays attention to a character’s position within the frame.
The final major component is movement. Static drawings can’t always show exactly what’s happening, such as when a barman slides a beer bottle along a counter-top. Apparently simple actions like this become an exercise in using as few frames as possible to make the motion clear.
You could argue that Fred could have got the basics across in less time, but if you’re patient and let the lessons unfold, you’ll find Storyboarding Techniques a first-rate primer for a deceptively challenging discipline.
In Storyboarding Techniques, Fred Gago explains how to keep the character position on the screen consistent, whatever camera angle you pick. Here, Fred demonstrates the art and technique of creating a storyboard before animating begins. A good storyboard conveys the flavour of the setting, even though the final design work isn’t complete.