Animation Storyboard Artist

In Chapter 5, we discussed how storyboards are used for a regular feature. They're used much the same way here, only there are more of them. In a regular feature, a storyboard artist usually will not draw scenes with two characters sitting in a room talking. In animation, however, everything has to be boarded—everything— because nothing exists prior to this, and there is no way to just "improvise" a scene. The animators need to know what it is they are supposed to draw.

Animation storyboard artists do have an advantage over regular storyboarders: they have the sound track. In animation, all the voices are recorded prior to anything being drawn. Then the director and the storyboarders listen to the dialogue of the entire show and talk about how they want the show to look. Afterward, the storyboarders go to work.

As with live action, the animators need to know a bit about filmmaking. In fact, to do animation, the boarders need to know what can and can't be done within the sphere of animation. For instance, a live-action film can have a crane shot where everything, including the background, is in constant motion. The only way to do this in an animated film or TV show is to make extensive use of computers. A prime example of how this can work is the "jungle surfing" scenes in Disney's Tarzan, which employed a new technology known as Deep Canvas to make the backgrounds look more realistic than ever before.

Once the storyboards are drawn, anybody looking at them would be able to tell you what any of the characters was doing at any given moment. It's like an extremely detailed comic book of the whole show. This is good, because once the boards are done, the entire thing goes off to the designers.

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