Storyboards Differences (between live-action and animation)

There are a number of differences in storyboarding a live action and animated productions. Most storyboarder specialize in one or the other, as their personal drawing style may not work for all types of productions. For instance, live action directors don’t want to see cartoony looking storyboards or live action story artist may not able to draw cartoony style.
In live action boards, artists style vary greatly. The look of the characters and the boards don’t really have to look much like the look of the live-action actors. In fact most of the actors may not be cast when we start boarding.
Just ask the Director for general info of the characters and draw them all different enough so that you can tell them apart from the boards. For instance, if one character is bald and other is fat, those are simple ways to make them look different on your boards.
For traditional animation, the storyboard need to look exactly like that of the character on the model-sheets. This is because most of the overseas animation studios tend to follow the look of the storyboard exactly as they animate.
When boarding a CG (Computer generated, also known as 3D animation) animation, matching the look of the character is not as important. The character designs may not be complete, when storyboarding starts on a CG project. But even though they are complete, you should have boarded characters somewhat like the final design, but you don’t have to make them exactly.
Another big difference between live-action and animation boards is how many drawings is generally necessary for any scene or action. In Live-action we need to draw the begining and the end of any action and add drawings for any specific actions in any shots which needs to be seen. We don’t have draw every little actions for the characters as the actors decides for themselves how they act.
But in Animation, the animators are the actors. The storyboards for hand drawn animation in particular, needs to show most of the “key frames”. Key Frames are the key drawings dictating every big and little action drawn by the animator. The “In-betweens” are then added during the animation process to smooth out the action.
In CG Animation, the drawing to show the action will fall somewhere in between those needed for hand drawn and live-action productions.
Another difference in live-action and animation, is to how to properly number scenes and shots. In Live-action, a scene includes various shots or various camera angles used in one location during one period of time.
For instance you can have a scene in your living room that includes a wide shot and two close-ups. And all three shots are a part of one Scene. Hand-drawn animation considers every shot to be a new scene. So when they are saying the living room example you will have three scenes. We don’t even use the term “shot”, in 2D Animation.
The CG Animation can be numbered either way, but as more often than not they are numbered live live-action. The production which we work on will tell us how they work on a scene number.

This could sound a little confusing but knowing the distinction between them could make all the difference whether or not you get us back on a another production.

Over the past 21 years, i’ve worked in the animation industry in numerous commercials, films including variety of different mainstream Hollywood movies like “The Golden Compass” and “Life of Pi” both of which won an Oscar and BAFTA for best visual effects in 2008 and 2013 respectively.