Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a character animation course at Billy Blue College of Design. Although it wasn’t my ideal way of spending Saturday mornings, the course was definitely worthwhile attending. The course focused on how to apply traditional cel animation techniques to the production of Flash movies, and we learnt basic animation skills like how to make a person look like they’re walking (sounded simple, took me half a day).
What I found especially useful in this course was the use to storyboard layouts in flash. When you’re working on a project involving animation (like banners ads or games), the challenge is how well you can communicate you’re initial concepts to the clients, without building the actual animation. Just like using moodboards and wireframes when you start a website project, we quickly learnt that storyboards and animatics can be really handy when presenting animation concepts.
So what exactly are storyboards and animatics? Here is an example of a Guardian insurance banner we recently created.
Storyboarding can be a useful way to show concepts quickly and effectively to clients. The sequential boxes show rough sketches of what happens in each scene, with a short description to support the visual. It’s important to keep the number of scenes to a minimum; just explain the most important things in a sentence or two.
Once the client approves of the storyboard concepts, we move onto creating an animatic. This is basically layering the storyboard frames on top of each other. It’s still a rough sketch but the client will start to get a better understand of what the animation will look like.
And here is the final flash banner created based on the animatics.
So next time you create a flash animation, grab a pen and paper or open up flash with your brush tool and scribble away some quick rough sketches. I guarantee it will make the end process a lot easier.