Blender for Storyboards

Blender for Storyboards

Hello again! Here is quick tutorial on using Blender for Storyboards, or “storyboarding” as the process is called. I also then launch right into how to use Blender to take that storyboard and begin making the Animatic. The animatic puts the storyboard into video form. In this tutorial, we will use the following images that start off a little show called “Mr. Smith Invests” (thanks shout out to SqueakyDave for these):



An animatic starts with the storyboard slides, and the very first step is to just turn them into a video, where the rough storyboard slides sit in for the actual shots, and the duration of each slide corresponds to how long the director thinks should be allocated to each shot. This first step takes the linear visuals of the slides, and adds the timing element into the thought process.
When all the shots are added up, the director can then gauge the expected run-length of the movie/video. As modeling and animation progresses, the slides are replaced by very rough renderings (usually using an openGL flash-render) of the same number of frames allocated to that slide. Traditionally, an animatic is CG-produced, with blocks or stick figures moving about as the actors will. At this stage, the director can start visualizing camera angles and camera motion.
The animatic can be progressively refined, with real live-action (edited) footage swapped in for the rough animatic video, to guide the final editing process in choosing which shots to include, and in what sequence to present them. Therefore, an animatic starts as soon as soon as storyboards have been drafted, and ends its utility when the final edits are being made to the film. An animatic is a very important pre-visualization tool that help the director envision timing and camera angles, and story flow.
Let’s start by downloading the images above onto your hard drive into a project folder, sub-folder “Boards”. For this project, I used C:\Blender\work\wiki\VSE” as my project folder. If you did the Storyboard exercise, you can simply File->External data->Unpack into Files.
Switch to the Sequencing screen view/layout. This layout has an IPO window and VSE Render Preview window at the top. The middle has a VSE Sequence window and timeline right below it. Below that is the Buttons window.
In the VSE Sequencer window, switch to seconds as the unit of measure by positioning your mouse cursor over the VSE header, and pressing T. In the Time Value popup, select Seconds. You can scroll the VSE Sequencer window via MMB Template-MMB.png and dragging until the starting green bar (frame 1) is on the left.
In the Buttons window, switch to the Scene context (the Render subcontext will normally be visible). Select the Sequencer context. Your layout and setting should look like this:
Save your blend file in the project directory. We do this so that we can use Relative Paths to point to the individual slide images quickly and simply. The slide images should be in the “//.\Boards” directory. the “//.” means “the folder location where the blend file is”. The “\Boards” is thus the subdirectory underneath the subdirectory. If you move or zip the blend file and the storyboard images, you can unzip them anywhere else and no links will be broken.
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