Storyboards Equal Success

When I’m working on motion graphics for a commercial or a promo video for some cool products, I always make a storyboard. Let me see.. quick Google search here ya go.

Storyboards don’t have to be extremely-detailed but when you are pitching an idea to a client, it helps. The most important thing is to understand where the animation is and to solve technical problems before you run into them. I like to draw arrows and show the movement of the camera and action which helps save time in After Effects because I know what I’m trying to do. Then I can focus on being creative. Also when working with others they know what to expect and it’s easier to collaborate.

Storyboard Motives:

  • Present your idea, high-quality stuff may get you THE job
  • Plan your animation before starting to keep you on track
  • Solve technical problems, rather than waiting til you hit one
  • Save time if the concept is rejected…

I’ve been busy all week working on some projects, I can’t really talk about it but… I’m almost done, and that’s good news.

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Good advice. Planning is always a good step for success. I also ALWAYS set up my audio tracks before animating. Those two tips alone really helped my projects.
7 years ago
That is such a nice information. It can be very helpful to a lot of people here. Thank you so much for sharing.
8 years ago
thanks .. it is helping
9 years ago
Love all of my products I have purchased by the way!

I am having a hard time creating organized storyboards. Everything is scattered throughout a couple of pages. Do you have any visual samples of some of the storyboarding you do or any tips as to where I could get some information to where I can get better at it? Thanks!
9 years ago
Good point, but I think storyboards are just as important on smaller projects as well. They help with concept, design and process. I think it's easier to draw out how animation principals will flow, instead of going on the fly in AE.

Awesome Indy storyboard link Andrew !!
9 years ago
Yep yep yep, storyboards are essential on larger projects, I just wasted a lot of time on my last project and had to go right back to the beginning after 2 months. Oh well, it's all experience, nice work AK.

9 years ago
Storyboards do help, but I can also go with just a description on the scene. But that's just me...

P.S. We need a forum BADLY!!!
9 years ago
Seth, i personally understand your issue.i, also went through the same but after working with a BBC animator Andy Walker,(Jackanory junior) i learnt how to just concentrate on the key poses or rather action in the shot and try visualize the final product.e.g on closeups and dont concentrate much bout the background...u know. i divide my A4 sheet into 4squares and leave some gaps horizontal about 2cm to describe whats happening in the shot.

i dont normally animated to the storyboard flow...know what i mean?i cant decide to start with a simple and more enjoyable shot in the middle of the storyboard and then jump tp the first, 4th etc......and since we are three animators, storyboarding helps us to divide shots according to who's good at what u know.

Dont let this issue kill your spirit.i believe it also takes time to storyboard well.get more comics and stuff,they'll help.

Thank to Andrew and the team for this cool site that we can share and for the good materials!!!
9 years ago
When you make a storyboard, draw a picture for each shot. But only draw enough to get the point across...
9 years ago
I'm interested to know exactly what it takes to efficiently story-board.. I've attempted it, but I spend so much time nitpicking over the drawings that I don't get anywhere at all..

I understand the answer to this, "stop nitpicking.." but at which point is it worth while?
9 years ago
we all understand your situation. good luck :-)
9 years ago
Thanks, Andrew, for the tips. It's nice to see someone of your caliber sharing tidbits of info that go a long way. I have known about story boarding and have even done some, but I find myself drifting off into slacker land. Good to have a reminder to get the act in gear and stick with it.
9 years ago
and if there´s one page/person/team/project that has earned its rights to summergap, it´s called "videocopilot"....just to avoid misunderstandings...

9 years ago
Haven´t read any of the above...

but I know a summer gap (or whatever´s the correct term for "Sommerloch") when i see one.

For fellow sufferers:

Yes, the script really s**** or at least misses some pages, but hello?! it´s RED1 footage and a nice way to practice workflowing. 70 minutes of 4k took 85 hours to down res to hdtv...

I just wanted to point out, that this is a nice time consumer if one has too much of it.


9 years ago
Well speak of the Devil. Today was my first Storyboard/ Motion Still that I had for a client. It really helps out to just show them a small 2 picture sample, before the 60 hr 3d work and render. was a small storyboard, it still gets the point across and saves me the headache of explaining how it will look.
9 years ago
Hi Andy.Thats very true.Storyboards are the secret to kickstart your project! If can never start anything without storyboarding.
1. it makes work more easier and faster.
2. One can be able to previsualize the final product in terms of animatic.
3.One can discuss with the crew crucial matters such as shots, movement,lighting and more.
4.It helps in timing shot before your animate them.

Point to note while storyboarding is that, make them as simple as you can so that if it doesnt work or the producer or whoever rejects it, you wont feel like you`ve wasted lot of time. simple but clear.

I use a software called storyboard Pro which i think is very good esp. while working with a good in sound timing and simple camera move among other such as exporting a movie of animatics with timecodes should try it out guys.

Bottomline, storyboarding works great for any animator and the more you practice it, the better you\ll be and also give more room for cretivity.

Thanks Andy and Keep the good work....and hey, your show reel pliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiz!

Can you explain to me how prematted and straight matte work in aftereffect in terms of exporting?
Matt Dunwoodie
9 years ago
9 years ago
Hey Andrew...always good tips. I know everyone who visits the site would love to see some of your professional work. Any chance you could post some of your past work? You must have a showreel (and I bet its damn good!!)

Thanks mate

9 years ago
d'IIII mean...

I always storyboard my stuff. In fact... I keep one of those deskpads of paper under my desk to not only storyboard stuff out as I go, but to work problems out on the fly with a pan without fishing around for a pad of paper...

they'll try.. but they'll never erase the need for a good pen and paper.
9 years ago
Truly mindboggling.

Are we sure we are all aware of what "on-topic" means?
9 years ago
Hey Andrew,

i would like to see a sample storyboard of one of your work. Is this possible?

9 years ago

Sombody knows how can i add playback controls to my videos? i mean, i need to upload a little reel but i dont know how to add the playback buttons


Richard B
9 years ago
Hello all

It's nice to be finally able to contribute to a thread, and of course to thank the VCP team for all they put into the site.

I've found that when pitching, hand-in-hand with a storyborad is a MOOD BOARD: a mood board is a collection of colours, images, typefaces, textures etc, that you assemble to give the feel or 'mood' of the finished piece.

You grab these images from anywhere - leaf through magazines, scrapbooks, paint catalogues, whatever.

Quite often, in a pitch you'll want to say - 'It's going to look like this...' and then reel off a couple of examples of other popular bits of work. Using a mood board can help cut through that.

not right for every client, but when it works, it really works.

here are some examples (not strictly graphics but you get the idea.)

All the best
9 years ago
oh yeah, thx :)
Adam Lozinski
9 years ago
Hi Andy,

it is good to hear that you are working on new projects but what about T-shirt contest? when could we get to know the results?


9 years ago
I can echo Derrick and Gary about Google Sketchup ( It's very handy for making really good looking storyboards that'll impress clients.

Also, by giving a geographic location from Google Earth, you can simulate where the sun/light will be at any given time. This way you can actually plan how the light will effect your shot on the day of the shoot.
9 years ago
If anyone else is horrible at drawing storyboards, check out these products:

Frameforge 3D isn't too expensive and is pretty cool. It even figures out what height and focal length your camera should be. Cool beans.

Storyboard Artist and Storyboard Quick are pretty cool too, but Artist is way expensive.

Having good storyboards/previz (and good scheduling/planning) is so important. I've learned the hard way that the run 'n' gun style of shooting can be a nightmare.
9 years ago
Personally, I can't win a job without a very detailed storyboard.

If I'm working with a familiar client I'll go so far as to make actual elements I intend to use and render out frames for a storyboard. When that works it's great because the design and animation are almost done when I start the project.

If I'm working with a new, or historically finicky client, I'll hire an artist to sketch out a storyboard. Then when the concept is approved I'll do another with actual elements.

The trick to making this work financially is to build in the cost of the storyboard in the creative pitch.

I have some clients that I insist pay me for creative even if they don't end up hiring me for the job. Agencies mostly.

9 years ago
Lots of people are using Google Sketchup for storyboards too.
9 years ago

Would it be possible for you to post an image of one of your old storyboards? Maybe one of the ones you made for a promo videos for on of the great products you can purchase on the products page.
9 years ago
Previz is fine, but truly, the best way to go is to learn/start your storyboards on paper. You dont have to be a sketch artist to storyboard, you just need ideas. Sketch them out, scene by scene. Usually I do camera changes, major movement, pace changes, stuff like that. Previz, animating your sketches are great, but nothng beats the tried and true sketching for storyboards. Anyone can do it, and it totally helps.
Ben Wotton
9 years ago
Storyboards are great for keeping focused on the creative goal of your film. I can't see storyboarding in any of its forms going out. It would be like trying to drive somewhere without a map
9 years ago
do u want us to develop a storyboard for you?????????
or are you sharing you expierence??????

but i thought storyboards are on the way out, and PreViz is the go, or is that for ILM etc.
9 years ago
*on here for us to see

(needs an edit button)

Anyways, thanks for the tips. I keep telling myself to draw out my ideas so I don't waste time in AE. Not that wasting time in AE is a bad thing.
9 years ago
Hey Andrew, any chance of you posting some of your storyboards on us to see how a pro does it?
9 years ago
These are the types of blog entries that keeps alot of people immensely happy with what Andrew gives to people.
I for one appreciate this type of knowledge as it cant be found anywhere else unless you learn from mistakes. Answering the questions that everyone wants to know but know are difficult to find is what makes Video CoPilot stand out.

Appreciate it Andrew.
9 years ago
Might be a little off topic, but I was wondering what are the difference among 3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema 4D?

Also, what are some good books on these 3D programs?
9 years ago
any updates on the t-shirt contest winners?????
9 years ago
Any new products coming out Andrew? .. oh and yer when are you changing the website layout?

Btw, thank you very much for the free tutorials, pre-sets and your help.

Check this out ppl: -
Just Amit
9 years ago
I learned this in a very weird kind of way. being stuck in a car for about 7 hours i began thinking of ideas that lead me to sketch them out on a paper. turned out to be my best movie ever.
John Dusek
9 years ago
Try FrameForge
9 years ago
Hey, in addition to any 2D graphic animation storyboards...

Do you have any from your FINAL IMAGE days? I remember that baseball promo had some things that might have needed a storyboard. Do you have that to show?
9 years ago
Hey Andrew—

I'm always interested in seeing storyboards. All I have seen, though, pertain to films (Batman Begins, Indiana Jones, etc.) It would be cool to see some of yours for animation purposes. Did you storyboard your EVOLUTION promo video? Things that look good and seem simple in the final product (the flourish growing up to the arrows) intrigue me. Was that whole thing storyboarded, or was it kinda ruffed out inside of AE?

Since most of these things in AE have text, I think storyboards in Photoshop would be easier than sketching on a piece of paper. How do you do it?
9 years ago
Andrew what Software package do you use for Storyboarding?
I love Toon Boom Storyboard Pro but it is very expensive

Do you have a favorite? and do use use a wacom
of some sort?

Great stuff going on here please keep it flowing :)
9 years ago all should do handmade storyboards before using Animatics ;)
9 years ago
succes = storyboard, not the other way around please thanks ;)

storyboards are surely great to pitch an idea, but it becomes even more successful if you also scan the drawings you and make a comp in AE or whatever to mimic the pace. this beats the arrows and explaining to your client "oh this means the camera zooms in"

yep i know, excellent huh
9 years ago
Great point Andrew. Storyboarding is often overlooked as a necessity in creating graphics, whether it is motion graphics, or even print graphics. It is a great way to keep yourself on task, and show everyone involved what you are thinking about creatively.
tommie12P(Thorsten Miess)
9 years ago
you can read minds, hu?

I just was planning to do a storyboard for a little animation video and then you just show this! well, thanks!
9 years ago
Is there a software you use for storyboarding or do you just sketch them out by hand?
9 years ago
thx drew, very well said. i have a client looking for a possible promo and plan to follow these simple guide lines.
9 years ago
I was always very reluctant when it comes to story boards. But now, the more projects I do (especially in the profession world) I see how important they are and how they really help you keep focus on successfully finishing your idea. Without them things get messy very quickly. You also don't need to be a awesome artist to do them. Look at some of Peter Jackson’s story boards. They look like a 10 year old drew them.

I'm glad to see Andrew is pushing the importance of storyboards.

!!Here is a site where you can print out free storyboards and you can even choose what ratio you want them in!!

Storyboard Slaughter!!!
9 years ago
Hey Andrew,

Thanks for the tip, I have been told that several times at my college, and thanks too that I actually started to do detailed storyboard for films and animations.

It defiantly helps you out a lot!... guys who are really trying to get into the industry should learn this and try to add details, not draw stick mens!

Guy's I will be launching my very own website soon so please do check it out!... I'm sure it will help you out in many ways!

9 years ago
Storyboards do help. But now, people are finding themselves drawing less and using programs to do the work. Animatics is becoming very popular in the movie industry...
Marchy D
9 years ago
I'll use anything and everything when describing my ideas to clients...storyboards being the tool I use the most. I guess the cliche don't get on a plane without a destination in mind. Unless yer Tony Stark and you've got a few minutes to kill between pole dancers and exotic car shopping. ;)
Thanks Andrew. Saying I can't wait for your next product is a massive understatement. Cheers.
9 years ago
Yeah, when I don't storyboard I can NEVER stay focused, and at the end of the day waste hours playing around.

I think most of us think because we can't draw we can't storyboard (that was my problem at least).

Now there is google sketchup, there is frameforge (if you got cash), and then there is the COOLEST!!! Antics3D ( there is absolutely nothing you can't do in this software, you can bust people through windows, drive over 'em, drown 'em.

The BasePack is FREE, and the ProPack needs to be purchased.

but the basepack is probably gonna cover more than most need.

- Derrick
9 years ago
Looking forward to a new product to purchase -- I just can't get enough.
9 years ago
cool post Andrew :]
its nice to see some general tips, which arent so technical, yet so basic & vital!

now..what do u really mean by sayin: "solving technical problems"?
what kind of technical problems you could have with a project that hadnt been made yet? [=didnt do the live-shots yet], or if the project is all-AE? [=meaning its all AE from scratch?].

good luck with your projects! :]
...[your so secretive, u never talk bout them...but its o.k. we forgive u :]
guess theres a reason for that.. :]
9 years ago
Are You redesigning your website??? Thanks For the update!
9 years ago
Sweet sweet!
9 years ago
Cool beans man. Thanks for the tip and the update. Good stuff.
9 years ago
No product any time soon, but I threw in that plug :)

Also I want to kindly remind everyone to stay with the current topic, the admin is going to start monitoring posts and keep the site neat and clean.
Hussain Al-Abedy
9 years ago
Thats awesome man, does this also work for if you're designing a website and wanna get things right?
9 years ago
Oh! Thanks Andrew for everything. I cant wait!
9 years ago
can't wait for the next tutorial. Your the man.
9 years ago
Its A Product Coming ?
Jorrit Schulte
9 years ago
First Comment!! woow Hi Maico, Patrick, After effects Noob :P
Great Andrew