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Storyboard Artist

What does a storyboard artist do?

A storyboard artist is someone who visually tells a story by creating a series of 2D images, known as a storyboard, from a written script. These images are created by hand or computer and are used to plan out the action, framing, and important scenes in the script. The storyboard serves as a guide for filming live-action scenes and for animating the story.

Storyboards are used in film, television, advertising, video gaming, and all forms of moving media as a guide for production. This is a vital role as it must convey the spirit of the story through gesture, emotion, movement, and logical progression of action.

Storyboard artist job description

A storyboard artist creates a visual representation of the script by setting out the look, timings, camera angles, and points of view of each scene. They must accurately interpret the director's vision to create a guide that is used by the rest of the crew and production team.

Role & responsibilities of a storyboard artist in film and games:

  • Liaising with writers, animators, and directors regarding the look, style, and level of detail required for the storyboard of each production

  • Reading and interpreting scripts

  • Breaking down the script with the director to identify key scenes and plan them visually

  • Sequencing the scenes from a script into storyboard format using panels of images

  • Including special effects in the storyboard frames

  • Identifying lighting requirements and articulating circles of tension within each scene

  • Including key dialogue or scene directions within each frame

  • Briefing animators on key scenes within the storyboard

  • Amending storyboard scenes during the course of production

Skills required to become a storyboard artist

Storyboard artists need to be able to draw (people, objects, actions, and environments) legibly and efficiently and require strong visual storytelling skills to bring a script to life prior to production. Taking a 2D animation course is highly beneficial to honing your skills as a storyboard artist.

Film and game studios may look for the following skills in storyboard artists:

  • Ability to collaborate effectively with concept artists, writers, directors, clients, etc to visualize the story 

  • Knowledge of various styles and genres

  • Understanding of the principles of animation

  • Knowledge of the principles of storytelling, ie: the hero’s Journey

  • Ability to interpret the ideas of others into detailed drawings

  • Strong layout and design skills

  • Adaptability in working with different directors who will demand varying degrees of complexity from storyboards 

  • Skills in both hand drawing and computer drawing

  • Solid knowledge of camera angles and cinematography techniques

What software and tools do storyboard artists use?

Storyboard artists may work with a combination of pen and paper and computer software.

Storyboard artists may need knowledge of a combination of the following software:

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Adobe Illustrator

  • Toon Boom Harmony

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