Storyboarder and After Effects

Sooooo… Do you have to create storyboards in your work?

Wonder Unit has THE tool you need to create your Storyboard*, and it’s free and open source!
And with this new free script I’ve just developped, you can import your storyboards in After Effects to create detailed animatics.

*It’s called… Storyboarder, and here’s what they say about it:

Storyboarder makes it easy to visualize a story as fast you can draw  stick figures. Quickly draw to test if a story idea works. Create and  show animatics to others. Express your story idea without making  a movie.

We built Storyboarder because the storyboarding tool we wanted  simply didn’t exist. We are making it better every day. In fact, we  have released it free and open source. You can even make improvements.

Use it with After Effects!

I love Storyboarder (and After Effects); I like to promote other free software projects; and I’ve developped a script to import storyboards created with Storyboarder in After Effects.

It will be included with the other import/export tools in Duik, but I’m releasing it also as a stand alone script for After Effects.

Using Storyboarder and After Effects should ease the process of creating detailed animatics: you can draw and arrange your storyboard in Storyboarder, then add some motion and camera moves to the storyboard in After Effects to create a detailed animatic!

From my first tests, I can already say this is going to be my preferred workflow for pre-production (along with Krita instead of Photoshop for drawing, read below).

First, install Storyboarder, then download the script, unzip it, and copy it to the ScriptUI Panel folder of After Effects. The script will be available under the Window menu and will import your storyboarder file in a single click!

The script in After Effects.

The two options are:

  • “Overlay text information” : when the box is checked, textual information is displayed on top the image of the board instead of being moved under (default); this way, the format of the project is respected, and the video does not have a bigger height because of the text under the images.
  • “Precompose shots” : when the box is checked (default), each shot is precomposed individually, instead of having everything in one single composition.

Neat!
The main composition with three shots.
The composition of a shot, with all layers used by Storyboarder.

A Timecode is automatically added (layer named TC) to each composition, displaying the name and current time of the current shot and the current time of the whole animatic.

Use it with Krita!

In storyboarder, you’ll notice there’s a nice button to open and edit your boards in Photoshop with some kind of Dynamic Link. What is even nicer is that you can use instead any software which can edit .psd files. This means you can use this feature with The Gimp or Krita! Just change the option in the settings of Storyboarder, and use another free software!

Krita is a very good free alternative to Photoshop for drawing. It’s fast, easy-to-use and has a comprehensive tool set. I actually find it better than Photoshop when I’m drawing and it has a nice traditional animation module with a handy onion skin; it’s not as complete as TVPaint but way better (and faster) than the timeline in Photoshop and can be used for professionnal cel animation.

And it handles photoshop files, which means Krita can fit seamlessly in any pipeline which previously made use of Photoshop (or The Gimp)!


I could not do and share what I do for free without your support. Help me on Patreon! Thanks.

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