Stop Motion Animation

Stop Motion Animation

by Timo van de Put

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Creating a Storyboard

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My natural tendency was to animate scenes where the camera observes the action from a distance. This makes that the camera is "just observing" and the audience is denied the sensation of being a part of the action. Looking at movie and television productions, I noticed I feel much more involved in what is going on. This feeling is caused by cleverly sequencing different types shots of the various elements that make up the story.

There appear to be three basic purposes for shots:

  • Atmospheric shots establish where the story is taking place. Typically this is done by a long shot that shows the surroundings. This matches what I intuitively do if I am placed in new environment: I look around to get an impression about where I am.
  • Narrative shots tell the actual story that is going on. Typically these are medium shots to avoid distractions and focus on where the action is taking place. This is the attention level I spend most of my life in, so these shots will be prevailing in most films.
  • Critical shots draw attention to vital information, usually by means of a close-up. This is the equivalent of what I naturally do if I want to check what's exactly going on: I take a close look at the details.

This notion made me aware that good storytelling is all about getting the sequence and mix of shots right. As sequencing is done during editing, I already need to produce the right footage during recording. As this footage is in case of animation very labor intensive, I need a way to ensure I create exactly the scenes I need. This is why I use a storyboard to plan them ahead of recording.

I first tried using sheets of paper and making drawings, but I lack the necessary drawing skills to make these images convincing and the pain of changing a drawing had serious impact on my creativity. This is why I created my own Storyboard software to draw them by electronic means. But if your drawing skills are better than mine, this is very nice storyboard form generator/.

Page last modified on September 07, 2008, at 10:49 AM