A storyboard artist, or story artist, creates storyboards for advertising agencies and film productions. A storyboard artist visualizes stories and sketches frames of the story on paper. Quick pencil drawings and marker renderings are two of the most common traditional techniques, although nowadays Flash, Photoshop, and other storyboard applications are gradually taking over. The digital camera is one of the latest techniques in creating storyboards. A storyboard artist is also known as an illustrator visualizer.
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They are mostly freelance artists, typically hired by art directors and film directors. Deadlines are always tight, and overnight working is very common. Typically freelance storyboard artists will belong to one or more storyboard agencies much like an illustration agency. Some frequently used drawing applications are Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop. Many storyboard artists nowadays begin and finish their work on computers using software and digital pencils like Wacom (Graphics tablet). Storyboard artists may use photos to create visuals where stock photos or photos taken specifically for the project are put together digitally to produce a photographic representation called a photovisual. For motion pictures, some filmmakers, directors, and producers choose to use computer programs designed to create storyboards such as StoryBoard Quick, StoryBoard Artist or FrameForge 3D Studio. 3D Programs such as Poser and DAZ Studio can also be used to create elements of the storyboards. However, a storyboard artist can sketch an idea quicker than images can be collected into a computer program.
Storyboard artists have different goals in different industries:
- In advertising, the storyboard artist can be called upon to create a representation of what the finished TV commercial, or spot, will look like in order to persuade and engage the client to buy the concept being pitched. This can either be at the time the agency is trying to win the client’s business or once the client has signed on with the agency. In either case, the important element is for the storyboards to visualize for the client what the agency’s creative director or “creatives” are thinking will sell the client’s product. A storyboard artist may also be asked to visually represent several versions of a campaign for print ads. This gives a client a chance to choose between variations and allows them to be included in the creative process.
- In film, a storyboard artist is hired at the beginning of a project. When a storyboard artist is hired by a motion picture company, the artist must break down the scenes of the script into shots which can be filmed. This is done under the supervision of the film’s director in order to ensure the director’s vision from the start of the project. Therefore, it can be helpful for the storyboard artist to know the mechanics of filmmaking when assisting the director. As the production proceeds, the storyboards are presented to the cinematographer who is then responsible for bringing that vision to the screen. Film production companies may also hire a storyboard artist to create polished presentation-style storyboards (which might also include sound) which can be used by an executive producer to raise the money to create the film.
- In animation, projects are often pitched on the basis of storyboards alone (that is, a screenplay may not be written until later), and storyboard artists continue to work throughout the production to develop particular sequences. After a sequence is edited the director and/or storyboard artist and team may need to rework the sequence as it becomes evident that changes need to be made for timing and story.