How to Create an Animatic

After creating your storyboard, the next step is to make it into an animatic. An animatic is basically 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 will 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 barebone animatic, and you can just start adjusting the length of each panel to match the intended timing of the actions and the intended pace of the scenes.

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.

Animating Layers

By default, layers in Storyboard Pro are static, but they can be animated.

A layer is animated by setting it in different positions, angles or sizes at two different frames in the timeline, then letting Storyboard Pro calculate the position, angle and size of the layer for each frame between those two frames. The frames at the beginning and end of an animation are referred to as keyframes.

You can animate a layer by enabling animation on it, which will create a keyframe for it in its current position, at the current frame. From there, you can just go to another frame and change its position, which will automatically create another keyframe at the current frame. At this point, the layer is already animated from its original position to the position you just moved it to.

Animating the Camera

To create camera movement in a scene, you must start by creating at least two camera keyframes, then set the position of the camera in each of those keyframes. Storyboard Pro will interpolate the position of the camera on each frame between two keyframes.

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.

Adding Sound

Importing Sound Clips

You can import sound files into the audio track in your project's timeline. You can cue and edit sound clips so that they are timed with the action in your animatic. By default, your project has a single audio track, but more audio tracks can be added as needed.

Adding Audio Tracks

If you need to have several sound clips playing at the same time, you must add additional audio tracks to your project so that you can cue several sound clips in the same areas of the timeline.

Adding Images and Videos

By default, when you create a Storyboard Pro project, the only track containing visuals in your animatic is the storyboard track. However, you can also add video tracks to your project, which can contain still images or video files that will display over or under your animatic. This can be useful if you need to use reference images or videos, to have elements such as logos or backgrounds span over several panels or scenes, or to insert videos, such as opening sequences, credit sequences or live action footage to your animatic.

NOTE: Contrary to layers in a panel, clips in video tracks can extend over several panels, and are not affected by camera movements.

Importing Image or Video Clips

Since your project does not have a video track by default, you can start by importing an image or a video into a new video track.

Adding Video Tracks

Just like audio tracks, you can add several video tracks to your project and have clips overlap each other.