Storyboarding Tips: How To Storyboard Effectively

By Sarah Laroche

You’ve made a storyboard for a project, assignment, or idea and yet something seems to be lacking. You’ve got a great story and covered all the topics you need, but you still have this feeling that it could be even better. Look no further! This article will teach you all the tips and tricks you need to make your storyboard the absolute best it can be!

There are many subtle things that go into storyboard creation that add monumental value and create a professional look:

  • Layout Efficiency and Cleanliness
  • Character and Prop Positioning
  • Cropping and Layering
  • Color and Effects
  • Consistency

Layout Efficiency and Cleanliness

Any storyboard, no matter how good the content, can be ruined by a badly organized layout. The layout is the way scenes, characters, text and objects are arranged in the cell area. Using the space to its fullest and balancing all the components creates an aesthetically appealing final product.

Here is an example of bad layout and a better layout:

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Character Positioning

More often than not, storyboards are character driven, meaning the the action is propelled by the characters. Your storyboards rely heavily on those key characters, and if they are missing emotion and intrigue, your story will be as well.

Be sure to take advantage of our character poser which allows you to change the expressions, arms, and legs of your characters. Body language is crucial when trying to express emotions or ideas with a character.

Here is an example of ineffective and good character posture in a scene:

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Cropping and Layering

By layering objects and taking advantage of the ability to crop characters, scenes, and items, a whole new dimension of storyboarding can be reached. By incorporating cropping and layering, you can create the illusion of forefront, middle-ground and background. This illusion keeps your storyboard from being flat and two dimensional.

Here are some examples on how cropping and layering can bring depth to your storyboards:

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Coloring and Effects

Storyboard That offers special effects that can be added to individual objects or an entire scene. Using sepia and black and white filters can give the illusion of the past, an imagined situation, or a memory. There are also textured effects available that add canvas bumps or diffuse light. There is also a pencil option to make your storyboard look more like a sketch!

Here is an example of each of the effects on the same image:

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Although consistency is not a magical tool on Storyboard That’s drag and drop creator, it is a key skill to master in order to make storyboards fluent and congruent.

Consistency in storyboarding means being sure to:

  • Keep your characters colors the same through the storyboard
  • Keep your texts’ font the same (Unless there is shouting or “noise effect” text)
  • Stay with the same style of scenery (If you are writing about Ancient Egypt, you wouldn’t use a modern bedroom. This is where staying in a category can come in handy)
  • Place your title or explanation text boxes in the same place in each frame/cell (and keep them lined up using the Align tool or the gridlines)
  • Use the same items in a storyboard if shown in multiple cells (i.e. don’t switch vacuums between one cell and another unless they are supposed to be two different vacuums)

Consistency is about creating a feeling of continuity from cell to cell, so that the viewer doesn’t get pulled out of the story by strange changes in character, scenery or objects.

Here is a contrast between bad and good consistency:

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When creating your storyboards, it is important that you have fun and enjoy the experience. Using these tricks, tips, and ideas can make your boards “pop”, but it is your vision and input that really makes your final piece worth showing off!

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