Miserable software

I’m really shocked at the quality of the software given it’s called a “Pro” version. First off it lacks any playback controls as well as timeline controls. I got it to board a feature film but I figured out really quickly that it’s isn’t up to the job. It’s designed more for a single scene not organizing and viewing a film’s worth of boards. Just basic control for the timeline would be a massive help. Also what’s with no playback controls? Shareware players have playback controls? It’s nuts.

The one that made me throw in the towel is the squirrely vector drawing and fill tools. It seems to have some bizarre pecking order between the line and fill tools. Just having a uniform line doesn’t mean the fill tool will work properly if at all. The ultimate sin is finishing a drawing then trying to correct gaps. Just give up and start over because the fill tool works based on when a line was laid down as in what order. It may look fine but the tool gets confused so it either refuses to fill the area or fills a whole character and won’t accept any gap fixing you do. This one had me pulling my hair out. Once again freebie software can manage this magic trick.

I had hoped it would speed up my work flow but it brought to a screeching halt. What I would do in a hour has taken days. Being able to animate boards is fun without having to use something like After Effects but even that is fatally flawed. Once you add animation you can’t change drawings without causing problems and I can’t figure out how to remove animation. Once again no controls to allow you to work with an animated board. There’s really only a first frame and last frame of the animation but there’s no control to go to the first frame or last frame. I realize it’s a single board but there is a heads and tails to any moves.

The close gap tool is also a mess. They buried the controls for gap closing instead of having them appear in the tool panel. Also it’s not mentioned in the book so I had to write tech support to find out where it was hidden. Also the documentation is out of date. Some one got the bright idea to rename shots as scenes and the book was never updated. Could some one explain to the programmers that “Scene” is a sequence of shots not a single “Shot”??? Very confusing unless you are new to filmmaking.

Just intensely frustrating because I had high hopes and the software isn’t cheap. I had a double hit because I bought Toon Boom Animate Pro at the same time. I found out the hard way it doesn’t support 64 bit for outputting files. The only way to output is to write an Export node. I’ve equated that to having to build a kit car everytime you wanted to go to the store. Also there are quirky things that make it annoying as well. I’ve given up on both softwares and I plan to format the drive soon and install Windows 7 when it’s available and I have no plans to re-install either software. It’s painful adding another couple of grand in shelfware but both are more trouble than they are worth. I’ve gone back to Photoshop for drawing boards. Not much choice. Storyboard Pro has poor drawing tools and editing is too primitive to be useful. It’s a nice idea but so poorly executed that it’s not worth the time let alone the money.

Sorry to be so negative but when I tried to ask a rep about the issues I was told how popular it is and essentially I didn’t know what I was talking about. I’ve been in the business 30+ years so I think I know a little bit about the workflow. I’ve been looking for a lot of years for a professional animation and storyboarding solution and I thought the Toon Boom products were the answer. I’d continue on with them if I thought there was any interest in improving the products, there isn’t. The one problem with thinking you are the best is you tend to not get any better. That’s where these products stand. Other softwares out there may not have a lot of the cool features but they work which is more than I can say for either product.

That is interesting because Mark Simon highly praises SB Pro… I guess it is all about what you are expecting your software tools do accomplish for you.

have you looked at TVPaint at all?

I am more inclined to feel that these forums a pretty much lame. I am member of forums where users are actually sharing FREE scripts and plugins… The power of forums is where users unite to get most out of the software, identifying areas where need for improvement exist… mostly lemmings here, IMHO. prove me wrong!


youtube video using storyboard pro.



I am truly sorry that you did not enjoy your Storyboard experience. We are constantly trying to improve our products and are working on a new version of Storyboard that addresses the concerns that have been raised to us by our customers. I find it surprising that you were not led to believe that we are improving our products.

We do the best to keep the documentation up to date as well, but it can be difficult to catch everything. You’re absolutely right that the change of name from “Shot” to “Scene” is a big change to have made, and I apologise for your inconvenience. Presumably it’s because a Panel in Storyboard is more akin to a Shot, and a Scene is then a sequence of Panels.

No playback controls? How about Play Selected Panel, Play All Panels, Loop? You can also scroll in the timeline.

For the Close Gap tool, it is available from the tool menu, and you can also add it to your toolbar quite easily. It should take only a few seconds of your time to click on the Toolbar Customisation icon (the first icon in the set with the two triangles facing away from each other). Make sure you click the one above the select tool, as this is the one for the drawing toolbar. Then up pops a window, and you can select the close gap tool from the list and hit the right arrow to make it appear on your toolbar by default.

I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean when you say the squirrely use of the line tools and in regards to painting. I haven’t been able to reproduce a problem similar to what you’re describing - a pecking order between the line and fill tools? If you’d care to include a screenshot that describes what you mean.

For animating an object, if you click on the first frame button, it will bring you to the first frame of that panel so that you can place the object where you want it - same thing with the last frame button. You don’t need to navigate to it yourself.

To remove animation go to Layer > Reset Transform.

I’m sorry that you didn’t get the feedback you wanted when you spoke with out rep. Truthfully, we are constantly working on improving our products, especially the Storyboard product. However that being said, it is also true the Storyboard Pro is used on many productions, from full-length films to television shows to short films. Although of course there have always been comments about areas in which we can improve, overall people are very satisfied with the product. Generally, you would need to take some time to learn all of the features and discover the reasons why others are so enthusiastic about this product. Perhaps the eLearning isn’t sufficient enough to teach the software and we will look into this as well.

Toon Boom Support

Hi Lilly,

I thoroughly enjoy all of my toon boom products… if you check out my info, yo can see that I have obtained many of them. I must be quite honest and I do not get much out of what is available here in the user forums.

I have discovered that Mark Simon, a professional storyboard artist who has his own business and is strong advocate for Toon Boom Storyboard. Additionally, Justin over at CartoonSmart is another strong advocate for Animation PRO… these guys can help take these forums a long way…



Interesting fact with the mark Simon video.
Significantly a branded demo video, so clearly not independent of TB.
Always listen for the caveats and disclaimers, like the garbled ‘virtually’ that he ads before saying ‘real time’ playback.
Also are the cut away videos demonstrating the ‘real time’ play back.
Sure the rendered mov plays in accurate time,but as for the TBS playback, where is the delay as each panel loads that the poor suckers stuck with using the software have to put up with? We only see this real time playback demonstrated in a cutaway that could have been edited later we never see it over his shoulder on the screen.
I know plenty of professional storyboarders who have tired this but nevertheless been forced to edit in FCP, which TBS doesn’t ACTUALLY export to despite the misleading advertising.
Lets see Mark Simon’s machine’s specs and see if it’s all true. Eh?
You have to be suspicious when the presenter makes such a huge deal about LAYERS! woah did you say layers!? We must be living in the future. ???

If you have a scene that has a lot of imported bitmap images in it, then you might see some slowdown, however I work with a lot of large scenes with many layers and I don’t see slowdown on playback. You might want to try optimising your scenes if you are experiencing slow playback, though make sure that you save a copy first so that if anything isn’t the way you want it, you can go back.

Also working with a lot of textured lines will slow you down. If you prefer to work with textured lines for your roughs, then after you do your cleanups go ahead and delete your roughs and this will also speed up your scene.

Have you tried the XML export for Final Cut? Did this not work for you? Let me know what the problem was so that I can help you resolve it.

Toon Boom Support

Just one thing speaking of squiggly vector lines. This is not the first time I hear about someone switching from drawing storyboards on paper or with a bitmap program getting bent out of shape when they switch to drawing in vectors.
Many experienced production artists working in house on a feature using Storyboard Pro are first taken aback that they can no longer do the polished drawings like they used to. What they told me they learned from the experience was to focus on the cinematography and expediency, and there is no time to fall in love with your line quality when two thirds of the panels are going to end up on the cutting room floor anyway after the many rewrites that comes with feature film territory, and the turn around has to be quick since schedules rarely change.

It doesn’t make for great portfolio presentation pieces, but then again, word of mouth through contacts trumps portfolio every time.

I never thought I’d hear something like this from such a terrific program as storyboard Pro. I would understand it if it where Animate, because when you initially use it, it can be a bit overbearing. Once you start to learn it more and more it grows on you like a fungus.

However, Storyboard Pro is so easy to learn, and the features are well thought out. I think you should really make sure that your computer is up to specs not only in hardware but in the actually settings. I can guarantee you to that if it is working the way it was intended to, you will fall head over heels for it.

Not trying to undermine you or anything like that, just consider the fact that there has to be a reason as to why so many Professionals, studios, not only Mark Simon, swear by it.

i just got storyboard, not the pro version. in 2 weeks, i helped me a lot in timing (a steep $200 investment).

the only small feature im asking is video export for the non-pro edition.

pricewise, its not cheap. pro version? i wont buy it. im saving for tb animate 3, hoping it will be a worthwhile investment, with bones.

why dont tb standardise all the shortcuts. i’ve moved from tb studio, to animate, now with storyboard…even the zoom in and out is different at default. i override the some shortcut keys but some dont do as i expected. zoom in out keys:z x dont perform in tb storyboard.
dont ask me why, i use the default keys at the end rather than spending time configuring.
a 4 out of 5 stars.