How to Create an Animatic

After creating your storyboard, the next step is to make it into an animatic. An animatic is a video that plays out each panel of your storyboard. Each panel should be timed to match the intended timing of actions, and each scene should be timed to match the intended pace of the story. Camera movements can be animated to simulate what the action will look like relative to the camera movements and framing. Layers in the storyboard can also be animated to make the action and its timing more legible.

Sound effects, voice clips and music tracks, be them provisional or final, can be added so that action can be paced around them, as well as to make a draft of the sound mix for the final product. Videos and still images, such as opening or ending sequences, overlays, captions, logos, or live action footage can also be added to the animatic to be used as references or so that they do not have to be sketched into panels.

In Storyboard Pro, you can create an animatic from your storyboard by using the Timeline view. The Timeline view is very much like the timeline in a video editing software. Among other things, it allows you to visually adjust the timing of each panel, to import, cue and clip sound and video clips, to animate camera movements, to animate layers and to add transitions between scenes. Hence, it will accompany you in each step towards making your animatic.

When you first open the Timeline view after creating a storyboard, you might notice that all the panels of your storyboard are already in the track, and that they are all already timed to last one second each. Therefore, your storyboard is already a basic animatic. The next step from that point is to adjust the length of each panel to match the intended timing of the actions and the intended pace of the scenes.

Before, while and after adjusting the timing of your panels, you can see how your animatic plays out and feels with its current timing by previewing it.

In the end, an animatic can be exported into video files or even Toon Boom Harmony scenes—see How to Export your Project.

Setting the Panel Duration

There are several ways of setting the duration of a panel. The panel view allows you to type in the exact duration of the current panel. The Timeline view allows you to visually extend or shorten panels. You can also fine-tune the duration of a panel using the Add Frame to Panel and Remove Frame to Panel keyboard shortcuts.

By default, when you adjust the duration of a panel, it offsets, or ripples all subsequent panels. This keeps every panel and scene stitched into a single continuous sequence and allows you to adjust the timing of each panel separately.

It is also possible to adjust the length of a panel while simultaneously adjusting the length of the following panel to compensate. This prevents subsequent panels from being offset, and can be useful if you need to adjust the timing of your panels without affecting the timing of the remainder of your animatic.

Animatic Editing Mode

By default, every change you make in the lengths of your scenes and panels will result in subsequent scenes and panels to ripple backward or forward, so as to make sure there is no hole in the timeline.

When Animatic Editing Mode is enabled, you can reposition the in-point and out-point of each panel without affecting anything else in your your animatic. This means that, in this mode, shortening or deleting a panel creates a hole in the timeline in which another panel can be extended, moved or created. You can also delete panels or scenes and leave holes behind instead of rippling subsequent panels backward.

Then, in the gaps you created in your animatic, you can move existing panels, create new panels or resize a panel next to the gap to fill it.

In this way, Animatic Editing Mode makes the workflow in Storyboard Pro more similar to that of a typical video editing software, which may make editing easier for users who are familiar with this kind of application.

In Animatic Editing Mode, panels do not ripple forward or backward, which may be constraining. To get the most out of Animatic Editing Mode, it is useful to know how to ripple panels on the fly.

At any time, you can press and hold the Ctrl (Windows) or ⌘ (macOS) key before editing your animatic to temporarily enable or disable Animatic Editing Mode. This means that, when Animatic Editing Mode is enabled, pressing and holding Ctrl (Windows) or ⌘ (macOS) will temporarily disable it, making any change you make to your animatic while holding this key offset all the panels after the affected panel. When there are gaps in your timeline, those gaps also get rippled forward or backward.

If you need to create a gap, or to adjust the size of a gap, you can do so by selecting all the panels from a specific point until the end of the animatic, then moving the selection.

Adding Transitions

Transitions are animated effects that can be added between two scenes to move from one scene to the next gradually, such as a dissolve or an edge wipe. Among other things, adding transitions can help fine-tune the pace between your scenes, or mark changes in the story setting.