Inchoate Animatic: First Draft

Audio, Sound & Score: Inchoate Animatic First Draft
Storyboard Pro screenshots

I finished the first draft of the Inchoate animatic today. The process is as follows.

I first drew a storyboard in pencil, using the script I had written for the script writing assignment. I scanned the storyboards into Photoshop. I double clicked on the layer name in the layer panel to change the layer from a background image to a normal layer. In order to make the image easier to see I applied Auto-Tone, accessible via the Image menu. I then duplicated the image eight times, each time in a new document giving me a total of nine images. In each of these documents I selected the rectangular marquee tool and described a rectangle around the appropriate storyboard panel. I used the CTRL+SHIFT+I shortcut to reverse the selection and then CTRL+X to cut the new selection. This left me with one storyboard panel. I used the Trim function, found in the Image menu, to remove the transparent pixels. Using the ALT+CTRL+C shortcut I brought up the Canvas Size dialogue. I changed the measurement parameter to pixels and set the dimensions to 1920×1080.

I selected the Move tool, checked the Show Transform Controls checkbox and using ALT+SHIFT to maintain position and ratio I resized the image so that it fit from top to bottom. I drew each element on its own layer so that I could animate some of the elements in Storyboard Pro. I restricted myself to a largely monochromatic palette. The difference in art style in the panels is purely down to my lack of experience. As I worked through the images I became more confident and the art style became more unified. The colour was applied using the brush tool. Initially I would set the pixel size to a very low number, one or two pixels. Once the outline of the element was established I blocked in highlights and shadows. I used the Smudge and Blur tools to blend these together. The result was patchy but this was fine as when a light grey rectangle was used as a background this hid any imperfections. In the panels that have torchlight I set the torch layer to 50% opacity and set it as an overlay layer.

Audio, Sound & Score: Inchoate - Storyboard Panel Creation
Digitizing a pencil drawing.

Once the drawings were digitized I began the process of creating the animatic in Storyboard Pro. In a new project I imported the panel as layers by selecting Import As Layers from the File menu. Using the score animatic as a guide I determined the length of the panel and set this in the Panel tab. I selected the Animate Layer tool, selected the layer I wished to animate and placed the first keyframe at the point at which I wished the animation to begin in the timeline window. I then scrolled through the timeline window to the point at which the animation was supposed to end, repositioned the layer and set another keyframe. I imported the mock up soundscape for the score guide to assist with the timing of events. This process of image importing and animation (if required) was repeated for each of the panels. Once this was complete I exported the video as a QuickTime file and then rendered this out in Adobe Premiere Pro as an MP4 file at 1080p resolution.

Upon watching the video two things became clear:

  1. The camera never moves
  2. Elements in the foreground should be blurred to give a sense of depth.

I went back into Photoshop and used the Blur tool to soften the edges of the foreground elements. I then imported those elements into Storyboard Pro. I selected the Animate Camera tool and in the panels that I thought could use some camera movement I set a keyframe at the start and end of the panel. I scaled and positioned the keyframed cameras to add simple camera movements.

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