A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Why Storyboarding Doesn't Work"

My jaw dropped when I read this article on the vfxworld website...Per Holmes explains why storyboarding is an outmoded shot-planning tool for the 3D environment.

"So what’s wrong with storyboarding? Well, the biggest problem is that storyboarding is so far removed from real camera work that probably 90% of shots and moves simply can’t be drawn in this format. That sounds like an unforgiving judgment, so let’s look at it. What camera work can you really draw in a storyboard? You can draw locked shots. You can draw pans and tilts. You can draw pushes and pulls. And you can draw characters stepping in and out of shots. But that’s actually about it.

That’s a problem, because the live-action film and TV camera work we see every day is far more complex than this. But as long as we use what’s essentially a slideshow as a basis for the camera work, the blocking is limited to the very basics. Even if both the storyboarder and the director or dp are very skilled in camera work, the storyboarding process itself removes so much information that almost nothing is left, except a sequence of static shots with small enhancements, like adding a slow push to an otherwise locked frame."


Wow. I'm completely gobsmacked at what this guy says not only in the first couple paragraphs, but in the rest of the 4 page piece. He goes on to explain camera moves that are impossible to storyboard, and then demostrates with a previs quicktime of said camera move that could easily be represented with drawn images. He doesn't seem to have much knowledge at all about how we storyboard for animation these days.

Here's another quote, regarding the camera move described above:

"This is real blocking, and you can see that the moment we’re working from this perspective, a whole new world opens up. Techniques that would have been invisible in a storyboard, are suddenly completely obvious and easy to do, because we’re working in the native language of camera work."

Based on this statement, it's fair to say that what are doing now in storyboarding for animation is far beyond what the author thinks we are capable of. He is actually belittling the role of a board artist. Real blocking? What does that mean? Artitsts block the shots for sequences they board, know where the camera is, know where and how it's moving, and what kind of lens is on it...these things are all taken into consideration when boarding a scene.

Have a read for yourself and post your comments below.

Why Storyboarding Doesn't Work

"Why Storyboarding Doesn't Work"

My jaw dropped when I read this article on the vfxworld website...Per Holmes explains why storyboarding is an outmoded shot-planning tool for the 3D environment.

"So what’s wrong with storyboarding? Well, the biggest problem is that storyboarding is so far removed from real camera work that probably 90% of shots and moves simply can’t be drawn in this format. That sounds like an unforgiving judgment, so let’s look at it. What camera work can you really draw in a storyboard? You can draw locked shots. You can draw pans and tilts. You can draw pushes and pulls. And you can draw characters stepping in and out of shots. But that’s actually about it.

That’s a problem, because the live-action film and TV camera work we see every day is far more complex than this. But as long as we use what’s essentially a slideshow as a basis for the camera work, the blocking is limited to the very basics. Even if both the storyboarder and the director or dp are very skilled in camera work, the storyboarding process itself removes so much information that almost nothing is left, except a sequence of static shots with small enhancements, like adding a slow push to an otherwise locked frame."


Wow. I'm completely gobsmacked at what this guy says not only in the first couple paragraphs, but in the rest of the 4 page piece. He goes on to explain camera moves that are impossible to storyboard, and then demostrates with a previs quicktime of said camera move that could easily be represented with drawn images. He doesn't seem to have much knowledge at all about how we storyboard for animation these days.

What he fails to realize is that a projection screen is flat. The image projected on that screen is flat. If it's flat, it can be drawn.

Here's another quote, regarding the camera move described above:

"This is real blocking, and you can see that the moment we’re working from this perspective, a whole new world opens up. Techniques that would have been invisible in a storyboard, are suddenly completely obvious and easy to do, because we’re working in the native language of camera work."

Based on this statement, it's fair to say that what are doing now in storyboarding for animation is far beyond what the author thinks we are capable of. He is actually belittling the role of a board artist. Real blocking? What does that mean? Artitsts block the shots for sequences they board, know where the camera is, know where and how it's moving, and what kind of lens is on it...these things are all taken into consideration when boarding a scene.

Have a read for yourself and post your comments below.

Why Storyboarding Doesn't Work

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Afterworks 2 is done!

We finished the final touches this morning and we're all really excited about the book. I can't show anything until IMAGE has done its PR, but below are the galleys (laser proofs) of the book that we brought to Image today. Thanks to everyone who contributed and helped to get us this far!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Plugging Away

For those who've been checking my progress on RI2, threre's 13 pages to go.... I've gotten into a solid groove which couldn't have come at a better time since I'm working on the climax and conclusion, which are loaded with stuff that's hard to draw. I have a pretty good handle on drawing the guns, which is a relief. RI2 is on schedule to go to print on May 29th.

Conomor and Tryphine is done and just needs a title page. Rose will have a cameo as a ghost in that story.

Thanks to all of you that have been stopping by.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Conomor and Tryphine - Learning Curve

Doing comics has taught me a lot over the past 18 months. The Conomor and Tryphine story is just the third piece of sequential art (not including storyboards) that I've done. The story has been a real challenge since it's the first time I've used color in recent years, and the first time in a comic. Pacing it has also been a challenge, since the story needs to be told in 11 pages (with a time frame of 2 weeks to complete).

In a way it's an exercise; I ask myself, can I do this in 11 pages? Can I do it in color? Can I get it done in 2 weeks? It's not really a matter of yes or no, but about putting oneself to the test, seeing what happens, and leaning a lot in the process. For some reason I'm finding this project considerably more difficult than Rose and Isabel; I just haven't gotten into a relaxed and comfortable zone yet. But such is the way with new endeavors.

Every now and then I come up with a panel that I like.