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Story Art Resources

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Story Art Resources

Hey there, I am about to finish studying a masters in animation and previsualisation and want to get into story art. I'd like to know about any resources or skills to focus on in my final year, and what sort of jobs I should look into if there aren't junior level roles?

Skills I'm aware of;
- Storyboarding (to the degree of being useful for a director)
- Building animatics
- Solid drawing skills
- Speed of work

Any books on how to storyboard professionally you have read and recommend, or software I should be comfortable using would be appreciated.

Also, are many storyboards still done traditionally?

I have done concept art, illustration and animation for 3 iOS games aimed at children, gesture sketch regularly and animate in 3d (plan animations in 2d), and am very comfortable with Photoshop, Tablet & Pen, After Effects, Illustrator, Maya and others. I need experience creating actual storyboards and to learn how I should be annotating them for professional use.

Any and all help appreciated, thanks guys!

i think you should search your storyboards from life .and as usual,you can record what happens on your side of the interesting into your storyboards.
it will be very good stuff .

Happy life can't apply colours to a drawing of the render farm !

Hold on a are about to finish studying for a Masters degree in Animation pre-visualization......and the curriculum you are in hasn't YET taught how to prepare storyboards to a professional level??? So much so that you are asking here???!!!

Ooooh boy.

I'm going to break it to you, but you've got some hard questions to ask your school.
You haven't made a mistake, but it sounds like your school has made a big one.
ALL of these questions should have been addressed in the course of your schooling for this degree.
Storyboarding is a early-stage step in the animation process and thus needs to be taught near the beginning or middle of a programme....and not omitted or dismissed half-heartedly, or left to the end.
I'm going to assume the programme you are in is multi-year, at least and that you have to prepare a student film, again at least, in the final year.
If they are not covering how to do ' least in some kind of depth.....then how do they expect students to do final films....or to use their storyboards to gain work in such a position???
At the very least, the instructor cadre should be able to tell you what books are out there, and what software to use......but I'll guess again and question whether your instructors have ever done storyboarding themselves, am I right? By holding a Master degree, its going to be assumed you've received training in this kind of subject, and if that's not the case, well such a degree is not going to be worth much.

Look, I've been a pro-storyboard artist for over 20 years now, I've taught pro-storyboarding at VFS and other art colleges for about 10 years.

Now, I may come across as alarmist, but a Masters degree in just about anything isn't cheap.....and I'd bet you've paid a lot of money to be in the school you are.........but it sure as hell sounds like the school has gone cheap and isn't offering the curriculum and qualified instructors it should. What you have written certainly sounds to me like you've been likely hoodwinked into signing up for an inferior programme. From the sounds of it, you've enrolled in a largely CGI-based programme, rather than a drawing-based traditional animation programme....but that should not make a difference in what is covered. Storyboarding is a KEY part of the animation process, regardless of the medium, and a Masters degree-holder should be well-versed in all aspects of such a craft.

My advice is, as upsetting as it is right now, is to find yourself a professional animator and a lawyer and sit down with them to look over the curriculum you've been given, and to find out what ELSE its fallen short on. If they've shrugged off 'boarding....who knows what else they should have taught, but didn't.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Hey Ken, thanks for the quick reply. I seem to have struck a nerve with you, sorry if that's the case I do appreciate the healthy dose of realism. The course is a 1 year masters to allow us to focus our interests to a discipline of choice, and they spend the first chunk exploring many fields before allowing us to specialize and learn on one, when we develop a video game as a team of artists and programmers in various disciplines. Animation taught is cg, but I plan little animatics for timing and keys etc in 2d. The previs work is mostly illustration/concept art so covers design and planning but not storyboarding. The course has good industry ties with and is aimed at video games, so as storyboarding isn't as big a field there (limited to in game cinematics pretty much right?) that element of the course is unlikely to happen to any big degree. I got a scholarship to attend, and the industry links and dev projects make it more useful that anything else I could have afforded to do (and I don't have the skills yet to land a job in story art yet) so it seemed more than practical to go for it. Experience of the other parts of the pipeline, and illustration/deadlines/inter-disciplinary works/making your work usable to other members of the team and picking up knowledge and contacts from guest lecturers who are industry veterans in various fields all seem to make it more viable than flipping burgers for the year in reaching my goal.

I've found going off and reading/practicing/getting critique is where I get the most learning done, and want to do that now to make up for and expand beyond what the course doesn't teach specifically or enough of.

I've read 'Framed Ink' by Marcos Mateu-Mestre, and 'Drawn to Life, 20 Golden Years of Disney Master Classes' by Walt Stanchfield which have been great books but I need more specific ones on actual storyboard layout (or any good books for work in the field), and any software or other resources you would recommend.

I've used AE for animatics, as well as Flipbook, PS and Illustrator for illustration etc. I'm happy to put in the work needed, just looking for a hand if it's not inconvenient for people to drop a line or two to help me put that work in the right place and direction.

Hi Meta-

Yeah, a nerve was struck.
The reason being is that my own assumption about what should constitute a "Master-degree" programme in animation would include professional-level instruction and training in ALL aspects relevant to the animation medium being studied.

Otherwise, what would be the point, right?

Reading of a school dismissing something like storyboarding ( and not just because its my own bailiwick ) is giving students the short shrift, because its a .......well, I'd say vital, but its at least a USEFUL step in the production process.
I'm........actually appalled that the programme you are in is putting YOU in a position where you have to go outside of the programme to cover more study on this subject.
Storyboarding isn't ancillary to game production, because there are talent that chose to pursue work in that specific area, and who move on to directing and leading game projects.
The two books you've mentioned are good study materials ( the theory of storyboarding)......but the things you seek SHOULD have been covered in class.......because....that's the mechanics of storyboarding. How to depict a camera move, and label it, how to note scene transitions, and the jargon used......for a Masters degree course, you should have an instructor versed in that.

Now, I've ranted enough about your schooling situation, which doesn't help your immediate request--here's the best advice on books I can offer:
Find Mark Simon's latest book on Storyboarding. Its probably the most thorough book on the subject that I know of, outside of taking a dedicated industry level class on it. I'd suggest finding the most recent editions as he's got several early editions still circulating.
You'll have to make careful note of how they manage the working of a storyboard page, the labelling/notations, and the "visual" language use to show what is going on.

Of the three main users of storyboards: live action, 2D/3Danimation for TV& features, and cinematics for games, animation for TV is probably the most involved in terms of material put into the storyboard.
Live-action and cinematics tend to mirror each other in format and presentation, and they are typically not as pose-heavy as TV 'boards.
To my mind, learning how to storyboard for TV animation gives a storyboard artist more "muscle", as it were, because of the work load.
So learning that process first, always made sense to me, and then an artist could take their knowledge and apply it to the other kinds of storyboards, paring down things as needed.
I've never seen an occasion where TOO MUCH information is a problem with a storyboard, but I have seen many 'boards with too little information. The
More information means more control, of course, but the board artist has to know what they are doing to convey it all properly.

"We all grow older, we do not have to grow up"--Archie Goodwin ( 1937-1998)

Thanks Ken, I'll give it a good hunt and work through it. Cheers for the advice about learning and preparing for tv animation storyboards as the top priority too. I think a lot of degrees whether undergrad or postgrad have too broad a focus, too little industry level teachers and teaching and an always outdated curriculum, but that's been the case all through school (eg my ICT teachers being unaware of portable hard drives, USB pens, or anything more modern that the floppy disk as portable storage devices). I didn't design the courses and can't change the way education works here, but I'm no stranger to going off and learning myself either, it's how I've had to learn most skills I have so far and I have no qualms going and doing it again.

Really, thank again you for the replies - it's not easy to get in touch with someone who knows what they are at..