Laying out the Storyboard
Storyboarding is where you start to visually layout your branching script, scene by scene. The goal of storyboarding is to get the essential characters or props and text for every scene of your script into individual panels and then do a sanity check: does what you put in the panels align with the questions and choices from that scene in your script?
You may want to go directly from writing your script to creating your final comic, but it can be very challenging to turn your words into pictures. Creating a storyboard is like making a quick pencil sketch, block out visual elements in individual panels. You may change the layout of panels, or re-arrange or edit text several times to get content to fit in the panel.
In visual storytelling, conversational speech should be kept brief. Tell the story visually by showing the reader what’s going on. For example, here’s a poor layout of a storyboard, with far too many words in each panel:
Here’s a much better and more visual layout of the same content:
The Comic-BEE Storyboard help video is a quick guide to get you started. It covers selecting the layout of the individual panels for a scene, the stick figure assets with different poses, moving assets, and working in layers.
You may want to add all the visual details to your storyboard: e.g., the desk, chair, table lamp, and coffee cup on the desk. A storyboard is not the place for that level of detail – you want to quickly figure out what is essential, how it will fit in the panels, and then move on. Adding in all those extra details in storyboard actually slows you down when you get to the next (and last!) step: Final Comic.
A new Storyboard feature – designed to ultimately speed creation of your final comic – is tagging. By tagging (with the Tag button in the upper left of the storyboard menu) those storyboard characters or the available prop assets (desk, chair, computer, etc.) that you repeatedly use, they can be automatically replaced with full color graphic assets that you select when you get to the Final Comic workflow. Tagging can save time in creating the Final Comic panels for stories with many scenes. Note that character assets can only be tagged if you added characters to the Titles & Characters section of Write Script. Props can also be tagged – but be consistent in naming a prop the same thing!
We don’t yet have a video to step you through the full tagging process – but there is an overview of the process of assigning artwork to tags and running the automated process in the section below on Final Comic.
Here are some tips to help you work with storyboard assets in the panels
- If you do tag an asset and then copy the asset into another panel or scene, the tag stays with the storyboard asset.
- You can select multiple assets and Group them (tagged or not!), and then copy, paste or resize the group.
- If you need to resize or reposition a Group, do this while everything is selected, as clicking anywhere else in the panel will ungroup the assets.
- Once you have a Group selected, you can use the Pin capability to save everything to use later. Look at the very bottom right of the storyboard canvas and click on the small up arrow, then click at the left on the lower tab (find the push pin!) for Pinned Assets. Note that any “Recently Used” assets show by default. Once a Group of assets is pinned, you can add the whole group to your panel by just clicking on the Pinned asset.
We hope this helps you finish your storyboard and move to the LAST stage in creating your comic!