New ToonBoom "Storyboard" (non pro)

I just received email regarding the introduction of the NEW “non pro” TB Storyboard. I have not yet downloaded the trial version but intend to do so soon. I’ve read through the feature set and have some inital concerns.

It looks as though the tool set includes most everything needed to make a decent storyboard with several NOTIBLE exceptions. First not being able to lay down a sound track. Without this feature it makes timing rather dificult. The idea of a storyboard is not only to create a story, like a “script”, but also to create the stories timing. Some timing can be done sans sound, but other scenes / shots need to use the sound to create and perfect the timing.

My other concern regards lack of export into ToonBoom Studio. The big advantage of using a computerized version of a storyboard is to reuse the assets in other software.

My thought on how to use Storyboard would be to create a storyboard/animatic, import this into TBS then refine the various elements. Without the ability to move from “Storyboard” into “Studio” I can’t take advantage of what I’ve already done in Storyboard except to print it out, create a QT movie of the storyboard or have both programs open at once? Perhaps I’m missing something on how “Storyboard” works, but the feature set doesn’t seem to indicate export into “Studio”.

Even at the price of $199 it may not have enough integration with the other ToonBoom applications to make it a truely valuable tool. I’ll give it a try, see what I think.

I’ve given Storyboard a couple of hours of time and it’s not bad. It has a familiar set of drawing tools, layers and some camera control, so you have the ability to create a good, instructive storyboard. Now the bad news, once you have the storyboard complete there’s no way to incorporate it into Studio. You can print out or save the storyboard to a PDF but that’s it. From a practical standpoint, Storyboard moves the process from Paper to the computer and that’s as far as it goes.

The problem with Storyboard, is Storyboard Pro. The features that would make Storyboard really work well for animation in Studio, are only in Storyboard Pro. I think there’s a solution and that’s to have three versions of Storyboard: Basic (as it is), Pro (also as is), and a new version, Studio Storyboard Plug-in.

The Pro version of Storyboard can be dedicated to higher end use in Solo and Harmony. Storyboard-Plugin would be dedicated to Studio use and Storyboard Basic would be for any other uses.

Studio Storyboard plug-in would have additional features like sound track, full animatic capability and the ability to move between the Storyboard module and Studio. This would allow carrying over assets. The Plug-in would only work inside of Studio as an added module and give a clear separation in the versions of Storyboard. In order to take advantage of the additional Plug-in features you would have to own Studio. Users can have all the functionality they need and not be underpowered or overpowered. Studio would have all the storyboarding features to make the process complete and integrated.

I’ve not looked at this software yet, so it is not familiar to me. But I’m interested in understanding what you can do in this application that you can’t already do in TBS. Other than perhaps having to produce a few custom templates it would seem that TBS should be all you need to produce boards and animatics and there would be no need to interface to TBS because you are already there from the beginning. I am under the impression that this product is for users who don’t already have a tool like TBS. We currently produce all boards and animatics that we use in TBS now and use to do so in Flash. Perhaps you might want to approach the solution from a “do it inside TBS approach”. For people who don’t have TBS and just need a boarding tool this new product may be the right product. I am enjoying your reviews so thanks for sharing your thoughts and perhaps you can point out some features that can’t readily be done with TBS. -JK

When creating an animation project you work with notes. Some of the notes are text, others are sketches and full on drawings. I don’t see this text note facility currently in Studio.

Studio has the tools needed to sketch elements of the storyboard but comes up short dealing with the text notes. There is no method for working with a script, descriptions of scenes, shots or story elements. Also, it’s not designed to be used to printout or save this documentation for further refinement nor does it have a way to view things as boards.

Perhaps the Storyboarding documentation process could be integrated into Studio. If so it’s still a good idea to modularize storyboarding just like you have drawing view, camera view, and now board view. In “board” view give the tools needed for that part of the process or it may be simpler to put in the “Studio Storyboard plug-in” I had previously mentioned. Some changes would need to be made to further integrate storyboarding but as is, Storyboard would complete the Studio animation tool set.