With our character and set design concepts established, it was then our task to start story boarding.
Before I started, I did a bit of research into what many individuals within industry would consider to be good storyboards, and I came across this article titled ’10 Tips for creating storyboards from Dreamworks’ by TheBeat
It starts off by stating how Storyboards are an extremely useful asset to have in the pre-production process that allow us to show shot layouts and composition.
It then starts to go into the tips and advice,explaining them in detail. Like:
1. Avoid flat staging unless when necessary.
- Flat staging is a picture that is void of 3D perspective.
- A flat image isn’t particularly engaging and therefore makes for an uninteresting storyboard.
2. Lay down grids to help “ground” your characters and compositions.
- Ground grids help develop a sense of space and camera position.
- Without grids it can be hard to tell where the figures are standing in the scene.
3. Use foreground, mid-ground, background & far background to sell depth.
- Keep in mind what elements may take up the foreground and background of a shot (walls, trees, etc).
- Just like a well composed shot, a storyboard needs to have elements at different distances in order to sell depth.
4. When dealing with multiple characters try to logically group them to help make cutting back and forth easier.
It can be rather difficult to shoot more than two people talking to each other at the same time. Dreamworks recommends grouping up people to make choosing cuts easier.
5. Be wary of composition in which everything is parallel to the frame.
Having objects parallel to the frame makes for a very uninteresting shot. Try offsetting the background to add depth.
6. Careful of how you frame characters…don’t squeeze them just to fit a shot.
This goes down to simple basics drawing. Just like with a video shot, the empty space is just as important as the space
7. Over-the-shoulder shots & reaction shots help deliver dialogue.
“Dirty” shots help to give the scene a sense of intimacy or even hostility, making the dialogue seem more important.
8. Characters squared off & looking at our left or right ear.
Characters looking directly at the camera can make the audience feel awkward. While this can be used to a filmmakers advantage, Dreamworks wants their characters to be as inviting as possible.
9. Exploit different character heights, if you need to establish or re-establish your shot.
As any Film 101 course will tell you, camera angles tell the audience a lot about how they are supposed to feel about a character. High angles imply weakness and fear, low angles imply power and dominance. Cutting to different character heights can remind the audience how to feel about certain characters.
10. Motivate your cuts.
Just like in editing, your storyboards need to show the motivation for cuts. This can be written sound effects, heads turning, movements, etc.
I thought these tips were incredibly useful when it came storyboarding some of our stuff. Although our animation isn’t going to be as complicated as a Dreamworks animated feature, there was still a lot that could be applied to ours, like avoiding flat stages and laying down grids to help ground our characters compositions within the shots.
Story Board Draft One:
As our ideas developed so did we found ourselves thinking about what sort of angle or shot would ensure a even and consistent flow within the animation and how can we have seamless transitions from one process to another.
Feedback from Double Jump and the team for the first draft of the story boards was pretty positive.
- It’s heading in the right direction
- Have a single group of TV Bots. It’s make things simpler.
- Whenever the TV Bot characters come up the with idea, having them reacting more, like a thumbs up or an enthusiastic pose.
- Could you also fit in a joke in the creative concepting stage? E.G, where one character goes way off course with it’s idea, causing the surrounding characters to slap sense into it.
PROJECT UPDATE – BRIEF CHANGE
“28th of Febuary”, with an increase of work emerging, Double Jump Studios changed our brief from,
Create a one minute explainer video highlighting the processes and services Double Jump provides to Using all the work, designs and assets already created, Create three 20 to 30 second stings highlighting the processes and services Double Jump provides.
This change would enable us to keep on working and developing the visuals of our project without requiring or relying on a script from Double Jump whilst maintaining a continuous connection of feedback and development.
As a result of the brief change we had to go back to the drawing board to think of a way we could effectively convey all the processes in a shorter time however, across 3 videos.
We came up with the idea of the all the processes existing together on a cube world, in an attempt to keep our environment simple and confined.
Rough Sketch by Paul McGrath
Rough Ideation Session in Uni.
the main influence of the cube world idea was the end of the ‘Play with Oreo video’ where it reveals that all the sets had existed one one large Oreo shaped island. (seen Below)
We thought this would also help keep our transitions from process to process simple.
Continuing on with the story boards based off our new concept, I tweaked the previous storyboards I drew up, to match the brief and the feedback given previously.
- Added a joke into the creative concepting stage, (slaps sense into unresponsive TV Bot)
- Decreased the number of TV bots from a room full to a small group.
- Updated the set design to fit the new brief, cube work concept.
As the idea developed further we came up with the concept of the scene consisting of a vertical chain of cubes, where each process would sit top side on it own cube, complimented with mini processes happening around it. As illustrated by Paul’s concept below.
Double Jump’s response was really positive! and suggested to make things easier by simplifying each sting to three cubes each.
Below are some quick story boards I drew up addressing a potential Scriptwriting,post production and video shoot, focusing on closer and more focused shots and angles to potential look into. I also developed the set dressing slightly to something a bit more interest in an attempt to convey Double Jump as a Busy factory like environment.
Although I prefer the set dressing for this one, I think the transitions would be difficult to pull off. Also the whole ‘pipe carrying the brief to the script writer’ idea doesn’t really work to the same extent any more with the cube world concept.But thats something that’ll be addressed with feedback! looking forward to it!