Storyboarding For Animation | CG Master Academy

Storyboarding For Animation

An 8-week course developing skills required for storyboarding and story development for animated features.

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Learn to draw a captivating story

This class will help you fall in love with the cinema, if you haven’t already. One of the main reasons we make art is to tell a story and/or to communicate an idea or emotion. However, the power of storytelling is often overlooked. This class will walk you through some of the fundamentals, such as framing and cutting your scenes, as well as ways to transition into the next one. How do we compose a simple dialogue between two characters without it being too boring? What about three? How can we make a fight scene more than just a series of cool moves? How do we overcome the fear of montages? Eventually we will also go over the process for boarding a sequence for a typical TV animated project. Even though the class has an emphasis on the application for animation storyboards, the core knowledge should be applicable to any other types of visual storytelling students may encounter in their future endeavors, such as live action projects, commercials, illustration books, comics, etc. By the end of class, students will be expected to learn how to think like a director of any storytelling project.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, q&a, and time on assignments.
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop or Storyboard Pro, Wacom tablet (or equivalent), OR traditional mediums (pen & paper)
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Analytical Figure Drawing and Environment Sketching or Good Drawing Foundations with a stress on character and environment sketching

Storyboarding For Animation WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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We will start the class by learning the typical pipeline of a film / tv production. The importance of storyboarding, why we do it, and what it is expected to help achieve. Then we will get into some of the basic terminology, and showcase various shots (eg wide shots, medium shots, closeups, extreme closeups) with real examples on the type of drama each shot could provide.
We will dig into the various shots as discussed in the previous week, as well as ways to help frame our shots to make them more effective. We will go through the rule of thirds, ways to add more depth into their shots, and avoiding jump cuts (or when to do it on purpose in our favor). We will also identify different ways to deal with crowd shots without creating a chaos.
Now that we have a decent vocabulary in the most common shots and camera angles, we will be considering movements in our camera. We will go over some of the basic camera moves (zoom, tilt, dolly, truck in, pan, etc) with real examples of how they are used. Then we will introduce the 180 degrees rule: the importance of it, ways to break it if necessary, and tricks to avoid breaking it by accident.
We will look at various creative ways to open a sequence that can help establish the story. Then there will be some additional information and tricks in framing the subjects such as: things to avoid when framing your characters, using light and shadow, and creating balance in your shots.
We will go over various fighting sequences and try to analyze how they’re done. How to use the geometry in your advantage, as well as getting into the importance of telling a story through the action sequence, as well as boarding movement. We will also extend our use of framing from the previous weeks and introduce the concept of playing with subjects coming towards or away from the camera for more dynamic movements.
In the first half of the class, we’ll look at additional information in composing fight scenes, including analyzing some more complex scenes with more than just two characters. In the second half of the class, we’ll walk through the animation storyboard production pipeline, looking at real examples of what is usually expected at which stage, what the directors’ notes may look like, etc. From this point forward, assignments will try to emulate the professional working pipeline.
The lecture will focus on analyzing various songs and montage sequences. We will talk about ways to be more creative with transitions and how to add styles. More importantly, emphasizing the storytelling through it all.
We will look at how story artists present their work. There will be a variety of sampled portfolio from cartoony comedy projects to more realistic action boards. The students will get to see different ways they can choose to present their own work in the future. Every way has its own pros and cons too; we will be going over them as well.

Igniting your imagination

Phil Allora
Rachel Kral


April 20th!

Spring TERM Registration

Feb 8, 2021 - Apr 26, 2021




April 20th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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