How to Work in the 3D Space

Storyboard Pro brings your animation into the third dimension by letting you import 3D objects into your project. You can place, manipulate, and modify 3D objects and add new depth to your storytelling.

Viewing Objects from the Top and Side

The Top and Side views are representations of your scene’s space viewed from the top and side. The views also display the viewing area that the camera can see.

When you move an element along the Z-axis, notice that it seems the object becomes smaller or larger. This is because of the perspective effect. That is, the elements closer to the camera appear larger and elements that are farther away, appear smaller. Because of this, you may need to resize elements once they are positioned.

The Stage view displays the north/south (NS), east/west (EW) and front/back (FB) offset positions, but you can use the Side and Top views to reposition elements:

  • Top View: Displays the EW and FB positions.
  • Side View: Displays the NS and FB positions.

Changing an element’s position affects all of its contents.

Because these are 2D layers in your scene, they appear as lines in the Top and Side views (since you are viewing them from their sides). When you import 3D objects, you will see the full 3D object in the Top and Side views.

Converting a Scene to 3D

By default, newly created scenes are set to the 2D mode, so your project is not encumbered with unnecessary features if you plan to work in 2D for more than a few scenes. You can convert a scene to 3D, so you can move and rotate 2D and 3D layers in 3D space. This means that even if you do not have any 3D objects in your scene, you can still move 2D objects along the Z-axis to create a multiplane effect. A 3D scene will also allow a camera to be moved in 3D space using the Camera tool.

NOTE: Converting a scene to 3D applies only to the selected scene, not the entire project.

Resetting a Scene to 2D

Storyboard Pro lets you reset your scene to 2D. When you do so, the following happens:

Imported 3D models are removed.
3D camera moves are removed.
2D layers that have been moved and rotated in 3D are be set back to 2D, removing those transformations.

Importing 3D Objects to the Library

When creating your project, you can import different types of 3D files. The supported 3D file formats are: *.osb, *.3ds, *.obj, *.fbx, *.dae (Collada) and *.abc (Alembic). When you import a 3D model, it is automatically added to the Library in the 3D Models folder according to its format. You can then reuse that 3D model easily within your project file.

NOTE: It is recommended to use the .fbx format as it allows the textures to be packaged with the model.

When you import a 3D model into your library, each time you place it in a scene, it continues to refer to the original model; that is, it does not make a copy of the 3D model. The 3D Models library is also local to your project, so you must import your 3D models in each project.

Once you have imported 3D objects into a scene, you may want to change the size, position, and angle of the 3D object—see How to Work in the 3D Space.

Positioning 2D Elements in 3D Space

You can manipulate a single 2D object in 3D space. You can also stagger multiple 2D objects along the Z-axis to make a multiplane or rotate planes to build open-faced rooms

Previewing the Panel with the Camera View

You can use the Stage view or the Camera view to place your camera.

In the Stage view, the perspective is from a fixed point in space, as if were standing on the stage looking at the various elements. As you add your keyframes and change the focus and rotation of the camera, you can see how the camera changes over time.

If you switch to the Camera view to preview the scene, the perspective is from the camera lens, so you can see exactly what the camera captures as it moves from one keyframe to another.

Therefore, if you make changes to the camera position, especially if you change the camera’s focus, use the Camera view to preview the camera move accurately.