Categories
Commentary Internet Social

New Website Layout!

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 3.37.35 PM

Time for a new look!  I’ve updated the site a bit and included a new theme, “Virality,” which kind of suits this format better, in some ways.  I miss some things but overall I think it will be easier for visitors to navigate and see more of my work at-a-glance.  The old posts are still there, but you have to click on the thumbnail links to get there.  This allows you to skip some entries and find others that may have been hiding at the bottom.  Theoretically, at least.  Probably got more than a few bugs to work out, but for now it seems to be functioning fine.  I was hoping things would load faster, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.  I’ll have to investigate that in the future.  Alright, enough messing around, time to get back to work.

 

Categories
Commentary Tips and Tricks Uncategorized

Time for a little Storyboarding Q&A!

Recently, I received some questions from a young up-and-comer in the industry, asking for some specifics on how I got started and looking for tips on getting noticed by clients.  Instead of just replying directly, I’ve decided to share the responses in a fresh new post here, so that others may benefit from my blabbermouthing and self-aggrandizing.

The Q’s in bold, with the A’s following:

1. How did you get so good? Having the ability to draw is one thing, but learning the art of Sequential storytelling is a skill not easily learned. I know you had a huge advantage with your parents and all but jees’.

Not to discount the wonderful influence of my parents, but almost everything I’ve learned about storyboarding was through real work experience, via freelancing, not on account of any of my parents’ connections.  My parents work in animation, whereas I’m a commercial storyboard artist, which requires a far more versatile skill set, if I may be so bold as to say so.

Consider that an animation storyboard artist that works for a month on say, the Simpsons, draws only what is within the Simpsons universe, which was created by designers and layout artists before him.  Day in, day out, drawing the Simpsons, and that’s it.  A commercial artist, in the same amount of time, may work on as many as 10 or more commercials, and must start from scratch each time; each commercial advertising a completely different product, which new sets, characters, and actions.  New clients, new directors, new producers, new writers.  One day you’re drawing car chases, the next it’s toy dolls, the next its cereal, the next it’s lottery tickets.  Sometimes you don’t even get a script.  Sometimes you don’t even get a desk.

You will get, however, a ticking clock.  Typical turnaround on a :30 commercial is 8 hours.  8 hours to final completion, meaning you have to have about 21 frames of good black and white artwork ready in 6 hours, leaving two hours in reserve for final tweaks and revisions.  And it has to be done on time- doesn’t matter if you’re sick, tired, or broken.  Perhaps you can see how this kind of work can produce a lot of anxiety- and let me ask you this- how well do you draw when you’re anxious?

Even the best artists will break under this immense pressure- happens every day.  Under these extreme conditions, wheat is separated from chaff and only the best remain.  Rough edges are worn smooth and streamlined, and in no time, you’re drawing really well, really quickly, and making money in an exciting industry.

I’m good because I survived- the work molded me this way, to be extremely versatile and fast.

And to bring the point home:  Truly great sequential storytelling is a byproduct of being an extremely versatile and fast artist.  You have to be able to see the story from all possible angles and be able to draw them, any and all of them, quickly, accurately, and with a sense of focus to the design.  From the millions of variations, you distill them down to only what is necessary, and right, to tell the story.  That’s it.

2. When did you know you were ready to take on real professional work? I mean that is a BIG and SCARY move, quitting your job and going the freelance route.

I touch on this in my Bio, but I left out a little bit as well.  So to fill in, I quit my computer repair job (I was repairing Macs out of high school and making very little money), and took the money I saved and enrolled in a master painting and drawing course at the now-defunct Associates In Art school.  I was, at 21, one of the younger students there, and had proved myself very talented and advanced for my age.  “Have you ever worked in the industry?” my teacher asked one day.  “No,” I replied.  “Well, you should,” he said.

That was good enough for me.  I made a portfolio (not a great one, but a decent one) and ran around town dropping it off at every studio I could.  Never hear back from anyone- except that “I could come in and pick up my portfolio now.”  Undaunted, I made a rinky-dink website, and started advertising on craigslist, as a freelance artist for hire, pretty much willing to draw anything for a check.  Logos, storyboards, t-shirts, and some other really god-awful stuff.  Really small, semi-professional gigs, most of which paid about $100-200.  But these were honest, humble beginnings, and I’m really grateful that I capitalized on being a craigslist artist instead of holding out for interning for a studio position and advancing from there.  Instead of being an employee, I was a small business owner, fully accountable for my own success or failure.  And it taught me to “hustle”- no job was permanent- so every day is game day.  Win or go home.  I wouldn’t have learned these invaluable lessons in a studio environment.

But, craigslist is craigslist, and I knew I could do better.  In 2007, I began submitting to illustration agencies- 29 of them, in fact, in a single evening.  Cast a wide net, you know?  Just to make it an even 30, I submitted to one final website, and went to bed.  The next morning, not a single agency bit, except for the last one, Frameworks, the storyboarding agency which now represents me.

I remember my first conversation with them. “Well Max, your work isn’t very good, but there’s some potential, and you work digitally- that’s something a lot of clients are looking for.  We’ll see if we can send something your way.”  That’s how it started.

3. Any tips on preparing my portfolio? or getting started? what do clients look for?

Absolutely the best thing I can recommend is you make a website or online portfolio (NOT deviantART) and make it inviting.  Don’t overload it to the point if breaking- clients will click away from a website that loads slowly.  Show a bit of range.  Keep things simple- you want to make it clear that you can deliver on time and not get too caught up.   Include a list of clients/references.  Write a small Bio and list your contact info.  Then keep everything updated.

As far as a physical portfolio, goes, well… I never had any luck with mine!  As mentioned above, I dropped it off at multiple studios and I’m pretty sure nobody ever even opened it.  Its sad really.  I watched as the receptionist tossed my portfolio onto a huge pile of others.  It’s not a great strategy, in these digital times, to put much stock in a physical portfolio.

Clients look for… recommendations, primarily.  If a client doesn’t know a good storyboard artist, they’ll call someone who might, be it a producer, director, or agent, looking for a recommendation.  You may know what you are doing, but no one is going to take your word for it.  So always do a good job, and your reputation begins to work for you.  Once a client finds a good artist they like, they’ll stick with that artist for a long time.  That said, most commercial storyboard artists are NOT that great, so if you have skill, you can squeeze them out.

Getting started, just be prepared to work for a cheaper rate than other more entrenched professionals- the only reason a client would take a risk on a newbie storyboard artist is if the price is right.  It’s really hard getting started, but once your career gains momentum, leads start coming in from all over.  And for me, getting representation was a huge factor in really “going pro.”  But it’s a catch 22 situation- you have to already be successful to gain that advantage.

In short, work hard and be patient!

Hope this helps.

 

 

Categories
Commentary Reviews Tips and Tricks Uncategorized

There’s a new player in town… introducing Shotbox

UPDATE 3/25/2015 – Sorry to pass along some news: Shotbox.se has shut down, and so this post is basically moot.  Shotbox used an online subscription model, and had promising but limited applicabilities as far as producing presentation-style storyboards.  For their part, on their website at least, they say they don’t have the time or money to maintain the product. 

What went wrong?  Well, I’d just be speculating and can’t speak for them.  As I discuss in my original post, Shotbox was very promising and I was curious to see how it developed.  As it was, I found it useful as it was simple, intuitive, and had some neat features, like generating basic animatic movies and shared workflows.  But the only feature it had that I really cared about was the ability to easily swap boards and have them resequence automatically, and it lacked very important features that I would have needed to use it professionally: The ability to customize headers and fonts and other basic design details.  The online-only functionality was not convenient, it really seemed unnecessary other than to maintain subscribers and prevent piracy, I suppose, and in the end was a big deterrent for me.  I would have easily paid $25 – 50 for a standalone version, even without the requested features I listed above.  I would have even recommended it and I think that it could have eventually panned out for them.  Now they are gone, and we are left with the other bloated, restrictive, and expensive alternative, Toon Boom Storyboard Pro v.whatever.

Storyboarding is a weird field- there’s not a one-size fits all approach, and each artist and project is very different from the next- If you are interested in making a killer app for storyboarding, and I encourage you to try, PLEASE LISTEN:

  • Make it affordable, like under $80 for something full-featured, and not tethered to online sharing services or subscriptions.
  • Drawing tools need not be included!  You aren’t going to make a better drawing app than Photoshop or whatever else is already out there.  Just give it the ability to import image files of various formats and sizes.
  • You just need to be able to CUSTOMIZE (many options for numbering, text, fonts, titles, headers, logos, layouts, colors, sizes, etc) storyboard presentations and save those formats for future use.
  • The ability to quickly swap, delete, and add frames into a sequence and have it automatically renumbered and laid-out is KEY.  LIKE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
  • For the love of god, make it MAC COMPATIBLE 🙂

Alright, well, that’s my spiel.  Geez, 10 years in the biz, and still not a decent, basic, storyboarding app.  Somebody, make this happen, and take my money too!!  Anyway, below, please find the original post.

Just a couple of weeks ago on this here bloggy thing I was griping about Toon Boom Storyboard Pro’s latest “update” and how it basically isn’t that impressive to me.  The drawing tools were still rather primitive and the export options just as unattractive as before.  All for the low, low price of $999. No thanks.  Let me be absolutely blunt:  TBSP is a poor drawing program grafted on a poor sequencing and layout application, from a strange and terrible futuristic “Soylent Green” type universe where strawberry jam costs $150.  I can’t wait for these guys to get toppled by some nimble upstart… you can guess where this is going 😉

Enter Shotbox, which I discovered recently via Twitter (Follow me: @max_forward).  Shotbox is a very easy to use storyboard sequencing and layout program that I encourage you to try out.  In the little time I’ve spent using it, it’s made a very big impression on me as a killer storyboarding app.  It’s currently in beta testing.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 9.58.39 AM

To be clear, Shotbox does not include any drawing tools, or the ability to manipulate the images (i.e. zoom, crop, add arrows) once inside the app.  You have to draw and export your individual frames using a different program, like Photoshop.  I don’t mind that at all; in fact, I appreciate that the creators of Shotbox are instead focused on the challenges of storyboard layout, export, collaboration, revision, and distribution.

BTW- I don’t intend for this post to be an official review of Shotbox- I just want to highlight some points of interest and a few things to watch out for.  I may get some things wrong or they may be changed or worse by the time this is posted.  I encourage you to evaluate it for yourself.

To get the basics stated quickly:  Shotbox allows you to create a storyboard sequence and quickly and easily add images, descriptive text, notes, timing information, etc etc, basically everything you would want to see in a storyboard.  And of course, it allows to dynamically rearrange and renumber the sequence on the fly, meaning that revisions are painless.  So, it definitely does the basics and it does them very well, from what I can tell.

 

A quick peek at the interface
A quick peek at the interface

The PDF export options are beautiful, simple.  They are, in some ways, rather limited (for example, you cannot currently include a header logo, which is a problem for me), but the options they provide are well-designed and useful.  Final exports can be downloaded and edited in Adobe Illustrator (I haven’t tried this yet).

Also included is an optional video timeline, which is easy to use, where you can add an audio track (I haven’t tried this option) and export an animatic (I have tried this, and it works well).

Something Shotbox does that I’ve not seen elsewhere, is the ability to label (via color coding) the shots themselves, for whatever utility that might provide.  I can see potential in that, as a method of distinguishing Alternate Shots from the main sequence.

Also new to me in this app is the ability to save multiple draft versions and revisit earlier edits.  Personally, I never make mistakes, so I won’t need this function, but I could see it being of use to others… 🙂  In all seriousness, this is pretty cool.

Here’s the real game-changer: Shotbox is, as far as I can tell, a fully online application, meaning you access it via your web browser and the files are uploaded to their cloud servers.  This allows for ease-of-edit from multiple collaborators and streamlined method of distribution in multiple formats.  Directors and Producers can leave notes for the artist on individual frames, or make the edits themselves, in case the artist is doing some serious drinking and not to be disturbed.  I’ve not thoroughly tested these features, though.  And of course, not having an off-line version could be viewed as a downside in some scenarios.  But overall, these “cloud collaborative” features are a major plus and definitely the future of storyboarding.

Aside from adding the ability to insert logo headers on the pdf exports (an absolute requirement in commercial storyboarding, lacking in the beta version of Shotbox), which I’ve already written to them to suggest, a feature I’d love see included in the final build is a “Pitch Mode” option for export.  Let me explain what that might entail:  Right now, their export options, while beautifully designed (I like the font choices and overall balance to the page layouts), include with each frame information that is not helpful when pitching a board to a client.  And when I say client, I mean my client’s client, and by that I mean my director is pitching it to his client, an ad agency executive, who is not necessarily savvy when it comes to interpreting storyboards.  Anything beyond the frame number and frame description is potentially confusing to a client- and so Shotbox’s frame labeling (a small colored square) and frame timing information (a rather cryptic-looking format: 1s23f, 0s12f, 3s0f, etc) are potentially hazardous.  The pitch is a very tense period of decision on the part of the executive and they look for any excuse to reject a proposal- and as such, superfluous information must be edited out of the pitch.  So I would love to see a “Pitch Mode” option for export, that allows only the basic information that needs to communicate the story:  No labeling or timing info.

But as a platform for quickly producing high quality Shoot Boards (client-approved boards that are used by production staff) and Animatics, Shotbox has no equal.

I’ve taken a moment (it really didn’t take long) to throw together a board I put together using Shotbox.  I recycled frames from an earlier project not shown yet on this blog- Mary Poppins, the Musical!  Check it out!

Mary Poppins - Powered by Shotbox
Mary Poppins – Powered by Shotbox

As of this writing, the beta only allows 3 test project per user, but I expect that to change once they introduce a pricing model.  It’s not far from market-ready, from what I can see.  They’ve been active on Twitter, so I encourage you to follow them at @shotbox for future updates.

 

 

Categories
Commentary Storyboarding Tips and Tricks Uncategorized

Free Professional Commercial Storyboard Template

I’m feeling generous! It’s a great day to give back to the community. Wait, what day is it? Anyway, the time has come for me to provide something of utility to the young storyboard artists out there. I have for you, for FREE DOWNLOAD (it’s on the internet, after all), my personal, made from scratch, professional commercial storyboarding template! Yes!

According to the file’s “created on” date, I crafted this template in 2009, when I began doing national commercials, and all my clients needed boards done in 16×9 format, for HD broadcast. Up until that point I was doing them in standard NTSC 4×3 aspect ratio.

So, here’s a preview, and here’s the official link to the image, which you can save to your hard drive!

16x9_24_grid

I’ll point out some details here. First off, this is not a definitive industry standard template (no such animal exists). It’s just the template I use for almost every project, and by nature of experience, I can testify it has worked out very well for me. But I by no means suggest that it is perfect for every storyboard. It is also not intended to be a “final” presentation storyboard- I use it to create my storyboards, and then after I’ve drawn them, the clients often give me their own template to transfer my frames into. So maybe think of this as a storyboarding workspace. It’s a bare bones grid of rectangles, in 16×9 ratio. Just add water. I mean, drawings.

The document itself is 3450 x 3600 pixels. That’s a fairly large image resolution but the frames themselves are only about 708 x 394, give or take. I’m aware that’s not HD resolution, and I’ll address that. If you’re looking for HD, scroll down to the bottom, where I have other templates available.

Lets talk a bit about why this template works well for me. As should be clear by now, I’m primarily a commercial storyboard artist, which means the stories I tell are about :30 long. The industry standard (if there is such a thing) number-of-frames-per-day for a commercial storyboard artist is about 18-21 frames, and that’s about right from what I’ve experienced.

So why use a 4×6 grid of 24 frames when 21 is the usual maximum? You see, a storyboard artist must provide more frames than the bare minimum, and sooner than the allotted time frame, because until the final versions are rendered and presented to client, one cannot know if the task is complete. For this reason, I always plan to overshoot the standard 21 frames per day standard, to be done sooner than the 8 hour typical allotment. Its like a “baker’s dozen” strategy- it’s not enough to only do what is asked, you must also provide alternate options, or at least be prepared for that possibility. Its very typical that when you present the final boards to client, they will, after seeing the work, realized that some things are missing, and that more work is to be done. If you had not accounted for this extra time, you’ll bust your deadline, and that’s the worst thing in the universe.

Blah blah blah. The point is, in the real world, you usually need about 21-24 frames in the final board, from which the director may edit to about 21 frames, and that’s why I made the template like this. 24 frames, all laid out nicely on one page, which is another advantage, and I’ll talk about that now.

In my experience, in order to truly see the story “flow” you need to be able to see all the frames at once. Or, at least in large batches. It’s easier for you as the artist to plot the continuity between frames and see what is needed to tell the story visually. And it’s easier for the client to evaluate for the same reason. I’m not just pulling this out of my butt. Take a look (below) at The Diz pouring over some boards with his target audience. He likes them all arranged in large batches so he can “read” them like a novel. It’s natural.

m-7158

Also- its easier to draw! Because you keep the previous frames in your working memory as you draw the successive ones. You can easily reference an earlier images you’ve drawn, and of course that helps make sure your drawings are consistent.

That’s in contrast to what I’ve seen some of my commercial storyboarding colleagues do: the “one at a time” approach. They fire up photoshop and make individual files for each of the frames right off the bat, in isolation to one another. As a result, the boards are drawn without ease of consideration of what came previous and what comes next. They end up looking like “key frames,” which are not storyboards, but rather individual standalone storytelling moments used primarily for pitch purposes. It’s easy to confuse the two. Another weakness of this approach is that it unconsciously pushes the artist to treat the image as overly significant, and as a side effect, the image resolutions are made much too high, with far too much detail, which takes too long, it’s just no good. And the file sizes end up being huge, which is another problem, because often you have to be able to email these images to clients, or upload them to servers, and that takes up more time as well. Technology advances quickly, and these issues may fade with time, but for now, they are relevant. It’s happened often enough that I’ve emailed clients their storyboards only to find out at the 11th hour that my files never made it through because the attachment exceeded the maximum allowed by their email client.

So it’s advantageous that the frames on my template are about 700×400 pixels. It’s in the “Goldilocks” zone; not to big, not too small, just right. I’ve used this template on hundreds of projects and it’s really stood the test of time, so I recommend it highly.

And as by means of demonstration, here’s an example of how the template looks after a day of work:DailyHabit2b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, over the years, I’ve had to make other storyboarding templates, see below. I barely use them, but you may peruse and download them if you feel they could be of use. Enjoy!

4x3_3_classic 4x3_3_simple 4x3_8_og 4x3_24_grid 16x9_3_classic 16x9_6by6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who are interested can also download the collection as a .zip file, HERE, and it includes the HD resolution version of my 4×6 template.  Go for it!

Categories
Commentary Reviews Storyboarding Uncategorized

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 4 is here! Yay?

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 1.54.23 PM

I was working onsite yesterday and got an email notification from Toon Boom announcing their new update to the successful and highly-lauded application, Storyboard Pro, now in version 4.  The email touts the many new features, the most significant of which are the new “bitmap drawing” tools.  You might be thinking “Don’t most drawing programs use or at least offer bitmap drawing capabilities anyway?  Bit maps are just pixels, right?”  You’d be right to assume that, and this feature is long overdue.

I’ll take a second, if you are not familiar, to introduce Storyboard Pro- to my knowledge the only serious program to attempt to tackle the unique challenges of storyboarding.  Other applications exist, most are free, and most are rather hideous-looking and offer no drawing tools.  Almost none are available for OS X.  So Storyboard Pro is basically the only player in this game, currently.

It’s main features include very basic drawing tools (I don’t think I’m being unfair to compare their early offerings to something visually akin to MS Paint), fairly robust formatting options, and a fairly  flexible user interface.  The program really does a good job of meeting the needs of a highly complex and infinitely variable and rapidly evolving approach to animation production, and I’m sure it works as advertised in terms of syncing with the other Toon Boom offerings like Animate or Flip Book or whatever.

But I don’t regularly use Storyboard Pro, and doubt I will start anytime soon, because it rarely brings any utility to the field of commercial storyboarding, and it really comes down to the program’s inability to truly fine tune the page presentation layout and sequencing options, even though, as mentioned above, the program does attempt to offer a wide range of options.  But it doesn’t go far enough, not nearly far enough.

One of the biggest challenges in storyboarding is, believe it or not, arranging the finished panels, or frames, onto a page.  I call this layout process “sequencing,” and believe me, it can be a real headache.  It seems simple, until you actually try it.  I’ll explain.

To start with, check this out.  Just do a google image search for “storyboards,” and take a moment to see all the billions of ways people storyboard.  Some people like to arrange their panels vertically, some horizontally, some have 3 across, some have 6 down, some like 8 to a page, 9 to a page, 12 to a page, 24 to a page etc etc.  Each artist has their own preferred way of working.  Every studio, even major studios, have subtle and sometimes drastic differences in the ways they want their storyboards sequenced.  So here’s the troubling conclusion:  There is no codified, generalized, accepted, time-tested, traditional, normal way to storyboard.  There is no standard to speak of.  As by means of contrast, I invite you also to look at the google image searches for “screenplay” and “sheet music,” to see for yourself the relatively harmony and unity of those layout structures.  Not nearly the kind of variation you see in storyboarding.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 1.59.51 PM

The wild differences in layout styles between production houses cause huge problems for freelance storyboard artists in the commercial realm.  I have many clients, and each wants their boards to look have the “signature” layout of the studio, and each believes their method is best (it isn’t) or more in keeping with “the standard” (there isn’t one).  This is usually part of their strategy of getting an edge on the competition, due to the competitive bidding nature of the industry.  The advertising agencies award jobs based in part on the presentations of my clients, and storyboards are a big part of that.  So, whatever they can do to make those storyboards look more special, must be done.  I understand the motivation, and so I do my best to accommodate.

This brings me to the underlying reason that sequencing is such a pain- REVISIONS.  Happens all the time, almost every time.  Careful consideration, from start to finish, is given to the each frame and it’s place in the presentation…  the drawing portion is finished, and now I lay them out in sequential order: frame 1, 2, 3, 4 etc, page after page, sometimes 15 pages worth, as has been typical of my more extreme cases.  Usually this is done in Photoshop, due to it’s stability and high performance text tools.  Text very often accompanies storyboard drawings and sometimes many short paragraphs of text will accompany each drawing.  I export jpgs of each page, usually 4 to a page, in vertical format, and then compile those pages into a pdf, and present that to the director for final approval.  He/she mulls it over and says “Looks really great, Max.  Fantastic.  Oops!  I forgot that we need one additional frame.”  Nuclear bombs explode in my head.  “I need to add just ONE frame in very beginning,” they continue, “that’s not so bad is it?”  They smile insidiously, knowing FULL WELL that their simple, reasonable request, will take an hour to implement.  Why?

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 1.58.44 PM

Simply put, because injecting an additional frame at the beginning of a storyboard means that all of the subsequent frames must be nudged over 1 space.  That’s not far to go, but imagine this analogy:  You arrive at a movie theater, and you and your wife wish to sit at the start of a particular row, but only one seat is available on that end.  On the far end, another seat is available.  If everyone would simply shift one seat over, you could all fit in the row and you could sit with your wife.  “Hey everybody, would you, please, one at a time, starting with you there, on the far end, please grab you popcorn, candy, and snacks, and move over 1 seat to the right?”  Everybody GROANS!  What a pain in the ass.  Re-sequencing is no fun!  It’s really the only part of my job that I don’t enjoy.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 1.57.43 PM

Now, this is a scenario where Toon Boom Storyboard Pro really can help.  It can automatically sequence on the fly.  Like everyone in the theater could stay in their seats, and the seats moved over slightly (like on a conveyor belt) and a new extra seat popped up for your wife exactly where you wanted.  And, if you wanted to change your mind and sit somewhere else, you can do that, on the fly.  Nice!

But TBSP can’t offer you any sequencing help if you can’t find an export option that’s compatible with what your client likes to see in their layout.  TBSP has lots of export options, I give them good credit for really attempting flexibility, but they continue to fall short when it comes to the specific information that accompanies each storyboard panel.  TBSP insists on including information that is irrelevant to my clients, and is often ugly and cluttering, such as panel number out of total number of panels, displayed in such offerings as “(004/026),” or “004 | 1/1″when all I want is a “4.”  A simple “4.”  Toon Boom Storyboard Pro can’t do it.

Say I want to add a bit of dialogue to a panel.  TBSP unhelpfully insists that the word “Dialogue:” be included as part of the caption.  I don’t have a lot of room under these panels to write out text, and “Dialogue” is too long a word, and frankly, clutters up the design of the storyboard page.

It’s tiny, irrelevant, unadjustable inclusions like these that prevent me from regularly using this software.  When I do use it, it’s for the longer form projects, where the directors are notorious for last-minute frame additions, and they are willing to forego a sense of style to their storyboards.  That’s it.

Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 2.07.54 PM

So now there’s a new version of Toon Boom Storyboard Pro.  TBSP 4 is available for purchase and I tried out the trial version of it this morning.  I could tell that overall this version was running faster and more streamlined than my earlier version (1.5).  Much has been done to simplify and streamline the interface and I appreciate the new bitmap drawing tools very much.  The program feels fast.  Maybe that’s because the 30-frame limit is keeping the program from drawing on too many of my computer’s resources, but I can’t substantiate that one way or another.  It’s definitely an improvement.  I feel like I could adapt to this if I needed too.  But I doubt my clients could, because, even though I could tell they have made efforts to evolve their export/layout options to have more flexibility, it’s still way off the mark.  If TBSP can’t match the existing appearance of a client’s storyboard template, I can’t use it.

Also, it’s $999, which smacks to me of a 1-day-late April Fool’s joke.  I would pay $200 for it, tops.

Just my two cents.  Thanks for reading!