Storyboard Software

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Storyboard software is one industry that's witnessed staggering improvements in its product line in the past few years. So impressive are these changes, that the software may threaten the jobs of all but the most accomplished storyboard artists. Before one can appreciate these changes, though, he or she must understand what it is a storyboard artist does in the first place.

Any shot on a director's or camera operator's list should have a storyboard panel to go with it. This frame, which resembles a panel of a cartoon strip, shows the composition of all elements in the shot. Thus, it depicts how objects--including actors--relate not only to each other, but to the sides of that frame as well. Oftentimes, a storyboard drawing will use vector arrows to indicate the direction or pace of movement throughout that frame.

How Storyboard Software Works

Storyboard software does the same job a storyboard artist might, only without sketching the actors and their surroundings by hand. Using digital technology, writers, directors, editors and, yes, storyboard artists, can layer in various elements of the scene. Some storyboard software products accommodate up to 256 separate layers, each of which may contain additional information about the shot in question.

Products such as StoryBoard Artist, StoryBoard Quick, and Frame Forge 3D Studio combine powerful and easy-to-use drag-and-drop technology to make this process simple, even for non-artists. Like most film production software, storyboard programs don't come cheap, which is why they're generally reserved for veteran artists or big-budget productions that can afford these extras. As a cheap but effective substitute, a pencil and sketch pad will also suffice.

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