Storyboards / “Sketchy-Matic”

Here’s a little information about my storyboard and animatic process, since
that’s what I’ve been working on today. This is not the animatic we’re
advertising as a goal of this Kickstarter — these are the sketches that
I make myself. To keep clear which is which, I call this my
“sketchy-matic”, since my storyboards are pretty sketchy.

I start with 4″x6″ plain index cards, which I draw on with colored pens. The
drawings are very sketchy because 1) I’m not a great comic artist and 2)
because it only really has to communicate what the shot, so it’s not
necessary to have a whole lot of detail.

One of the better likenesses in my storyboards — but still quite sketchy 🙂

To make things a little clearer, though, I use color coding for the different elements. Usually:

RED is the characters.

BLACK (or dark blue) is the main focus of the shot (foreground objects).

BLUE is the far-field — usually stuff seen through a window or in the distance behind the shot, this may or may not be in focus

ORANGE is stuff that is seen in reflection from a surface in the shot

And I’ve occasionally used other colors such as  green to distinguish an important elements of the shot.

Of course, storyboards are easiest when you have static shots
where neither the camera nor the subject move very much. But you can
indicate more complex motions with arrows, and on the computer, I can
actually draw a “plate” and pan across the drawing when I create the
animatic from the storyboards.

I then scan these cards in, do some post processing (you can see where
I’ve replaced some of the writing or cleaned up the drawing a little),
and then they can be assembled in Kdenlive (the main video editor we’ve
been using on this project) to make a quick mock-up of the story —
that’s the “sketchy-matic”.

Afterward, for this project, I’ll hand my drawings and animatic over to
Timothée Giet, who is quite a bit better as a storyboard artist and
animator. He’ll typically do quick paintings of these in Krita and then
do simple animation in Synfig Studio.

This is how the Soyuz on the transporter in the “Lubo” video was made, for example:

Unfortunately, we don’t have that many examples of TimothĂ©e Giet’s wiork up yet because
he’s working on another project this month, but he’ll be able to work
on “Lunatics” in October if this Kickstarter campaign succeeds. You can
see some of his previous work on his website, though.

Last day! Kickstart status: 62% from 58 backers. About $1600 left to
raise. Ends midnight tonight CDT. Will we make it? I don’t know. I hope!
It all depends on sharing it with as many people as we can.

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Terry Hancock is the director and producer of "Lunatics!" and the founder for "Lunatics Project" and the associated "Film Freedom" Project. Misskey (Professional/Director Account) Mastodon (Personal Account)