What are the Challenges of Storyboarding!

In an exclusive interview with Creative Gaga, storyboard artist Sachin Tiwari has given tips and shared his insights about creating a storyboard.
What are the Challenges of Storyboarding!

CG. What was your inspiration to choose the field of animation as your career?

Sachin. Growing up watching animated series like He-man, Barba-papa and many others. Seeing the characters perform various actions like talk, laugh move and dance always fascinated me. I wondered how it all works. Loving to draw, I would copy those characters in my sketchbook or even on any surface where I could draw, and eventually, it took-up as a profession by undergoing a formal training from a reputed animation production house. This marked the start of my professional journey as an Animation artist.

CG. What is a storyboard and what is its importance in a project? What are the different fields where storyboards are essential?

Sachin. A storyboard is a shot by a short sequence of any written script represented visually using graphics or illustrations. It explains how the video will unfold shot by shot or look like on-screen just like a comic book. It is very important for a video/visual-based project to have a proper storyboard of the script being produced.

In our everyday lives, sometime we have to draw a rough sketch to explain our point of view to make it easy to understand. Similarly storybord is like a road-map to visualise something which otherwise is not easily understood only through written words of the script.

Visuals make people understand the whole thing better. Thus, a storyboard undoubtedly plays a significant role in video production when a director needs to make the production staff understand his vision and show how exactly the product is going to be mapped out.

These days many industries, apart from the animation sector, such as advertisement, live-action films, business explainers, television production etc., use storyboarding for their productions. The art of storyboarding is a powerful tool to help communicate ideas, and when used properly it helps to avoid common mistakes like a broken storyline, mis-matched dialogue and playback timing issues and keeps the whole team aware of what is to be done.

CG. As stories are an integral part of storyboarding. But how critical are the characters of the story?

Sachin. Our sense of curiosity engages us to see what will happen next. Stories capture attention and we are hardwired to respond to that. An artist while drawing the storyboard, aims at creating visuals that convey the right message and the storyline and are relatable too, by the people. For this, a character is must to imbue the emotions. A story/plot is always designed or said to give a message, but without a character or protagonist, it is not possible to create any storyboard.

CG. What are the different kinds of projects that you take up and how do you decide upon the concept of creating a storyline for your projects?

Sachin. Majority of the projects I work on are story-driven cartoon film productions which are either episodic or full-length films. To start a project, one needs to understand a few things like references, layout, framing, layering and lastly finishing. Although boarding is a team-based activity and anyone can contribute, but in today's scenario storyboarding artists have to create and complete a storyboard, more or less, individually and have it approved by the directors.

CG. What are the different mediums that you use for creating story-boards?

Sachin. I personally don't find myself dependent on any particular medium to create a storyboard. Choosing the medium should be result-oriented, whether you use pencil to paper or any kind of computer-based software. In general, I use paper and a pencil to create rough basic thumbnails. They're pretty much scribbled for my reference. When satisfied with my scribbled drawings, I start creating them digitally with Adobe Flash. After translating the thumbnails into fine drawings, I then add the sound to set the storyline and timings for the final output.

CG. Time frames are an essential requirement for any creative project. How does time framing make a difference to the final outcome? And how do you balance?

Sachin. Yes, time frames are always there, and I try to adhere to them as much as possible but not at the cost of compromising the quality of work. I pass on the final work to the client only after being satisfied with the desired quality. I don't prefer taking up projects with unrealistic time frames or where it is difficult to provide satisfactory results.

CG. What are the important factors to be kept in mind while storyboarding for a project?

Sachin. I work as a freelance boarding artist. Freelance means that you don't always have work but the upside of working freelance is that no two projects are the same. There is ample variety and it is exciting to work on animation projects of different styles.

But still there are some important factors or a checklist, which remain same for every project and should be kept in mind, like:

+ Have I read the whole script?

+ Do I know the storyline?

+ How am I going to execute the scene?

+ Do I know the essence of the scene?

+ Do I have the proper material such as character sheets, prop sheets, backgrounds, audio etc.?

+ Do I have proper references?

+ Is my scene in-sync with the style of the animation required and flow of the episode?

+ Are characters matching with the layouts' perspective?

+ Do I know where to minimize my efforts without affecting the quality?

+ Am I doing something to make the simple scenes better?

+ Am I planning according to the time deadline?

Creative Gaga