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GPencil: New Workflow for Storyboarding
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Description

This is the main task for improving the Storyboarding workflow

Details

Type
Design

Event Timeline

Antonio Vazquez (antoniov) lowered the priority of this task from Needs Triage by Developer to Normal.Aug 6 2019, 5:47 PM

Thanks @Antonio Vazquez (antoniov) for creating the task.

Things needed for the Storyboard workflow using Grease Pencil:

  • A new Template for Storyboarding that include a new Storyboarding Workspace to draw and edit frames and also a 2D Full Canvas, Video Editing and Rendering Workspaces.

  • Determine wich Scene to use on a particular workspace, to avoid the need to change the scene every time you switch from Video Editing Workspace to Storyboarding Workspace to work on the Grease Pencil object.

  • A quick way to select a Scene strip in the Sequencer and switch to that scene in the Storyboarding Workspace.

  • A way to export selected frames from the Sequencer (using markers) as images/PDF for printing, with scene title, frame number, text, dialog or comments (Could be using an addon)

Forgive me for interjecting if this isn't a discussion page. Here's my 2 cents, as a user:
I would recommend looking at the UX of the FOSS app, Storyboarder. It's a great tool, but it can't handle any more than a few minutes of storyboard because it's implemented in JS. Despite bad performance, I still use it for boarding because of these features:
Easy to rearrange frames, since they are not tied to a timeline, but rather are arranged sequentially and each have their own duration property. Thus there's never the problem of wanting to edit the panel but accidentally creating a new frame- it's not possible to be between panels at all. This also make it easy to re-time, since you can drop a new frame in and each subsequent frame moves over to compensate. Frames can be dragged and dropped anywhere in the list. In Blender, you have to select all keys and move them multiple times- one for GP objects, once for sound, once more for armatures, yet again for markers, etc. . It's easy to lose track of the duration of a panel this way. Dope sheets are better for keyframe animation than storyboards.
Quick recording and inserting voice/sound clips. Blender has a great audio library already, I imagine this wouldn't be too hard to implement.
Notes, action, and dialogue text boxes that change with the frame

There's a cool 3D scene creator that is kind of a gimmick, but it's a great feature for people like me that suck at drawing! This is easily doable in Blender with addons like Archipack and Archimesh.

LAYERS are incredibly useful. I can have a separate layer for characters, backgrounds, props, etc. and in this area, GP is great for boarding. However, they complicate the task of retiming, which I think is the crucial issue for storyboarding. It would be great if there was a way to 'parent' keyframes to a common set of properties, so that multiple layers could be moved, scaled, and displayed together. Perhaps a storyboarding feature set would merit a dedicated version of the dope-sheet?

Dave F (df) added a subscriber: Dave F (df).EditedWed, Sep 25, 11:40 AM

Forgive me for interjecting if this isn't a discussion page. Here's my 2 cents, as a user:
I would recommend looking at the UX of the FOSS app, Storyboarder. It's a great tool, but it can't handle any more than a few minutes of storyboard because it's implemented in JS. Despite bad performance, I still use it for boarding because of these features:
Easy to rearrange frames, since they are not tied to a timeline, but rather are arranged sequentially and each have their own duration property. Thus there's never the problem of wanting to edit the panel but accidentally creating a new frame- it's not possible to be between panels at all. This also make it easy to re-time, since you can drop a new frame in and each subsequent frame moves over to compensate. Frames can be dragged and dropped anywhere in the list. In Blender, you have to select all keys and move them multiple times- one for GP objects, once for sound, once more for armatures, yet again for markers, etc. . It's easy to lose track of the duration of a panel this way. Dope sheets are better for keyframe animation than storyboards.
Quick recording and inserting voice/sound clips. Blender has a great audio library already, I imagine this wouldn't be too hard to implement.
Notes, action, and dialogue text boxes that change with the frame
There's a cool 3D scene creator that is kind of a gimmick, but it's a great feature for people like me that suck at drawing! This is easily doable in Blender with addons like Archipack and Archimesh.
LAYERS are incredibly useful. I can have a separate layer for characters, backgrounds, props, etc. and in this area, GP is great for boarding. However, they complicate the task of retiming, which I think is the crucial issue for storyboarding. It would be great if there was a way to 'parent' keyframes to a common set of properties, so that multiple layers could be moved, scaled, and displayed together. Perhaps a storyboarding feature set would merit a dedicated version of the dope-sheet?

Totally agree with this. I'd love to use Blender for storyboarding, but currently I'm using Wonder Unit Storyboarder as well, mainly for the ease of retiming and rearranging. I wonder if there's some way of making storyboarding work well with the NLA editor or something - basically during storyboarding you're doing a ton of rearranging and retiming, and most of it is on large groups of keyframes, so having to manually do stuff in the graph editor is a) time consuming and b) very easy to mess up

[edit] btw @Matias Mendiola (mendio)'s suggestion looks good, definitely has most of the features you'd want. I notice there's a script area as well, that makes sense - one cool feature would also be something like Storyboarder's Final Draft XML import. Although Fountain (which I haven't used) seems like it could be a good open source alternative? https://fountain.io/syntax

There are a few ways to improve the workflow for storyboarding purposes. But that may require a lot of different kinds of code to write or modify. So I'll specify some ideas in as general way as I can:

  1. It's important to distinguish a "Shot" from a "Scene", because a single Scene can consist of multiple shots. Each Shot can consist of multiple "frames" (or, in our case, "Keyframes").
  2. To ensure that the software gets out of the way and allows the storyboarder to draw and think on-the-fly, intuitively, we may need to figure out how to not only separate sections of animations as "Shots".
  3. This should also, theoretically, allow us to re-time shots on-the-fly rather than having to fiddle with keyframes too much.
  4. Optionally, automatically assigning numbers (based on a studio's preferred format) to each shot and frame can be a god-sent addition.
  5. The ability to see "thumbnails" of those shots, as well as frames each shot, at-a-glance (such as in Wonder Unity Storyboarder, or even ToonBoom Storyboard Pro) can end up saving a lot of time.
  6. The ability to storyboard an entire scene without having to switch out of and fiddle around the Master Scene.

Of course, there are plenty of other features that other storyboard applications cover, such as FrameForge and StudioBinder, but the ones I've specified here are (at least according to me) the most essential ones. Because even without all the bells and whistles, a storyboard-app's biggest competitor is paper-and-pencil, as the task itself is highly creative and iterative.