Storyboard rework done

There has been a lot of activity behind the scenes, reworking the storyboard and visual storytelling.

I am working through ‘Directing the Story’ and try to relate the principles shown there to Ara’s Tale. It gives very good hints and invaluable insights.

The main theme is how to draw the audience into the story. This is achieved by a multitude of techniques. One principle which I find quite true is that as soon as you create an emotional bonding you have reached the goal of getting to the audience. For an emotional bond the audience need to understand what its seeing, being guided to ask questions about whats happening next. By delaying the actual answer the audience will try to generate their own answers and thus get drawn into the story.

Upon review of my storyboard so far, I noticed that I presented a detached view. During rework, I tried to show more Ara as a person and the development more from her view. The questions asked there are simpler, easier to understand and thus help the storytelling.

A lot of work has gone into the second half of the story – the part which is not shown here – as it incorporates the climax of the story – the confrontation between Ara and the dragon. Here I tried to display both characters and show the dialogue and personal transformation which happens here.

The book also mentions composition as tool to portray feelings and give visual hints. I tried some variations and I got a glimpse of how powerful careful composition planning can be.

As very simple example consider the following two storyboard drawings. It shows Ara walking through the canyon from above. It should show some suspense and give the impression of the oppressing walls upon Ara.

The left image is the original one, the right shows the same scene but is slightly tilted. This gives a more dramatic and dynamic effect and supports the story. The question currently pending is, where is Ara going, where does this canyon lead.

Some aspects mentioned in the book will be explored during the animatics phase. Especially the pacing/editing is very hard for me now at this stage. With more experience I am sure you can plan this even during storyboarding, but I am not there yet.

Right now with the storyboard converted into a storyreel the estimated length will be 3:40 min (without title, credits etc) and will consist of 48 shots in 2 (maybe 3) sets.

See here for the first 100 sec ( yes its getting more :), but this time without sound ) of the actual storyreel. If all goes well, this will be very close to the ‘final’ version. It has to pass internal QA (aka feedback from my family and some chosen critics).

The story is still the same, but I think the mood has changed quite a bit from the first version. And it has changed for the better ( in my opinion).

The actual time tracking sheet clearly reflects the shift of focus to the storytelling aspect:

----------------------------------------------
 8:45    Animatics
42:02    Concept Art
   12:00    Ara Design
   18:35    Color Tests
   11:27    Dragon Design
78:06    Modeling
   35:01    Ara
   43:05    Dragon
21:51    Research
    1:16    2d-art
    1:30    animation
   12:00    effects
    7:05    modeling
4:00    Rigging
   4:00    Dragon
 5:30    Script
43:43    Storyboard
----------------------------------------------
203:57 Total

The next steps will be to rework the rough sets and try to do a simple animatic based on the actual storyboard now with the new models and sets.

Then I have to shift my focus to the rigging and minor reworking of the models.

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5 Responses to Storyboard rework done

  1. Martin says:

    hi,

    i have “Directing the story” now as well and i try to read each day one chapter. Yesterday, I read the second one and I was a little bit disappointed because it was somewhat repetitive. But anyway still very interesting. Particularly the point, that directing the story means directing the attention of the audience was very interesting for me and something like an eye-opener. today i’m gonna read chapter three.

    about your storyreel. i like it, but are the smooth crossovers at the end of the sequence intended? it appears to me senseless to have a slow transition from one shot to the next one. additionally, i do not understand the cuts from 1:10 to 1:15. are these different camera angels or is the camera only moving? i am not sure whether it would make sense to add a little bit more variation into this sequence (e.g. a close-up of the lamp hitting the ground)

    keep up the good work.

    • loramel says:

      Thanks a lot for your feedback.

      Yes, ‘Directing the Story’ is a bit repetitive, but I guess that is intentional (repetition memorizes). It was the same eye opener for me too. Another one was (later in the book) the controlled/planned emotional impact utilizing composition.

      I chose the slow transitions to indicate camera moves. The long cross blend at the end will be substituted by a one long camera move veering away from Ara, mimicking the dispersion of the song Ara is singing.
      The cuts around 1:10-1:15 may be a bit confusing, and I really like your idea about the closeup to the cage,so I will try this modification (and reserve a place in the credits section for you :) )

  2. Martin says:

    hey, thank you for the credit!

    actually, i would really like to work on my own short animation. the first 36 seconds are already finished but i have unfortunately no time at the moment to continue my work. therefore tracking your progress is something like a compensation for that. :)

    i found it very interesting to finish a short part of my movie (the first 36 secs) from storyboard to final render. i learned a lot what i can improve to increase the quality of the movie and to speed up the workflow.

  3. AlexAltea says:

    Hi!
    I’m now in a project to remake a game. Its hard to make some models and I’ve seen two days ago your great model fron the dragon.
    Can you send me a model from the dragon? I will make a low-poly from the head and use it in the project. Of course, I will mention your name on the credits. We cannot do this alone.
    Please, reply to my mail: alexaltea123@gmail.com
    Thanks in advance!! Bye!

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