Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Storyboards of the Cork Variety

So I'm ambling through one of our fine conglomerates animation studios yesterday and encounter a veteran storyboard artist, who tells me this:

Jeffrey [Katzenberg] is getting much more hands on at DWA. He's getting more involved in development again, and doing more meetings.

He likes the drawings up on boards with the boards spread around the room so he can reference other drawings in the presentation, go back to the setup, see it right then. Everybody still draws digitally, but they print the drawings out and pin them up. ...

So maybe I'm totally out of the 21st-century loop, but this all makes perfect sense. Storyboards are handy. Storyboards are good.

To be clear: I see boards pinned with drawings scattered about in various cartoon factories, but there are way fewer storyboards littering hallways or stacked in artists' rooms than in the olden days. "Paperless workplaces" are the summits to which many are climbing. But not too many years ago (1999? 1989?) it was way different.

Then, everybody drew on paper with pencils of carbon or grease, or Mont Blancs. They pinned their handiwork on cork boards and there were a lot of failed drawings on the floor. Now, artists are bent over Cintiqs, tongues protruding from pursed lips, putting their styluses to pixelated screens. And there's way less trash.

So it's reassuring to hear about producers who actually look at drawings on storyboards, who follow the action drawing to drawing and refer back and don't whine about "not understanding" storyboards. These are the types who demand to see an animatic, otherwise their wee little heads start to throb.

Didn't any of these people read comic books as kids? Or are we so deep into the digital age that the idea of looking at drawings on a flat surface is totally alien?


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