Storyboard & layout
Once the story and the character design was set I moved into storyboard stage and right now I’m finishing layout. Storyboarding part is extremely fun since I am just visually exploring certain parts of the story and see how it will play. I’m not so much worried about how will I technically achieve this or that, camera is not so furiously locked and I can produce a multitude of shots quickly since I just draw quick sketches and see where I am going. I am definitely not worried about artistic quality of those sketches. If I don’t like something I just draw another one and I have an alternative version in a short amount of time.
I think spending more time in this stage is a wise decision simply because it takes little time to draw those sketches. If you find out later when you’re already animating that something doesn’t work and you think about all the time you already put into those shots you start contemplating about ideas that don’t work which in the end is bad for the film. Some storyboards:
The hard part visually with this film is that the character is quite tall and there’s a huge gap between the eye and the mouth so framing him is quite difficult. That’s something I hadn’t thought too much at first but when I started drawing those shots it became obvious that this will be an issue. This especially showed once I entered the layout stage where the camera and space is set and it is harder to fake proportions or space to make it look good. A few layout images:
One advice on this stage is to show it to other people (in my case: in Animation Mentor I have Pepe Valencia who’s my mentor in class 5 and fellow students). They will give you an idea whether something is working or not. If people ‘don’t get’ something you thought originally was a mind blowing idea there’s no use to force it into the film. Unless you’re doing a film for yourself never to be seen by the world… I have yet to hear about such film though…