Do you want to learn and master how to make an Animatic before making a full-blown animated character?
I’ll show you how. I create animatic elements all the time. It’s usually the sketchy form of a character. But first, let me upgrade your knowledge before we get started.
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Here are the 10 steps on how to make an animatic:
Build the skeleton of history
Have a visual, with the character designer
Do the make-up
Begin the process of animation
Use the blender software
Add sound and file selector
Add the storyboard images
Organize the scene
Create the final video
What is an Animatic?
An animatic is a way to bring to life the storyboards or sketches of a final audiovisual product, sometimes including a provisional audio, allowing you to visualize details such as shots, camera movements, sounds and continuity elements that can be corrected at an early stage.
On the other hand, it allows us to reach the realization with clearer and more fixed ideas of what we want to achieve and even opens the possibility of focus groups and audience tests.
In advertising both animatic and storyboard are used for the same purpose, to give ‘Visuality.’ An idea narrated with images is more striking.
The difference between these two tools is that the storyboard is not animated, it is simply a storyboard. The animatic, on the other hand, is animated and has a locution. The support changes: the storyboard is graphic, the animatic is video.
For a practical tutorial, watch this video
The key steps
Build the skeleton of history
Before building your storyboard, start by writing your idea. It is important to clearly define the strategic message and the intent you want to convey.
Determine the story, the places, and the characters. This step forms the basis of your scenario, which will continue to grow throughout the project.
Rethink history with the idea of making a film or a series (pre-production, writing work). First of all, you need to identify your need by writing a brief that will best clarify your expectations.
Once the brief is well analyzed, comes the writing phase of the scenario. The latter will allow to project more in detail and to create little by little the graphic environment.
Have a visual, with the character designer
The beginning of graphic creation. If the work comes from something already posed visually, it is rather the author who will refer; otherwise, there may be several people who will imagine how the characters, the environment and others will look.
When the visual is placed, we create model sheets, markers with front, profile, three-quarter and back illustrations, size comparison, Here a small search of this word on Google image gives you a good idea of the thing.
The idea is to find your way by creating a visual that will show how we think the scenes of the animated. This will allow people working on the film to have a reference tool.
Here, what it looks like. The storyboard is an overview of the animated, to work more on scenes; you can use the reference layout. The animator will put the framing, the characters at the beginning and at the end of the shot, and the assistant animators can then make the intermediate drawings.
It is also necessary to take into account the time, the timing, with an exposure sheet that will allow managing the time, the number of images of each shot.
Here is a delicate step:
The storyboard allows to visually realize the sequence of your plans and to think about the association between images and speech.
This step cannot begin if you have not finished the scenario.
Creating a storyboard can be done in different ways:
- On PowerPoint
- By hand on sheets of paper
- On a graphic tablet
As a first step, note in different boxes the keywords according to the pre-filled scenario. Then, under the keyword boxes, add new boxes in which you will add images corresponding to the video clip.
This is the favorite step of graphic designers: the creation of graphic elements of the video. For the design, it is better to use graphic production software such as Illustrator, Affinity Designer, Gimp or Photoshop.
It must be taken into account that all these elements will be animated and that we must adapt their design, especially if it is a character (well separate the different parts of the body).
NB: it is better to keep one and the same graphic style for all elements.
After validation of all previous steps, we can go to audiovisual production. The animation of graphic elements, or motion design, takes all its meaning in this key step of our video.
It is during this phase that we will use software such as Cinema 4D or After Effect. We will juggle between 2D and 3D according to the expectations of the project.
Sound design is the ultimate stage of our project and it is the most meticulous. This creation of a sound universe will bring out the graphic elements and make our animation more attractive.
Each of these steps has an important role and none is to be neglected.
The key is to create a series of functional and consistent steps for everyone working on the project.
With the work on the voices, which are an element that we often put at the beginning of the production, using the line test, but when there is for example a translation, it is also done over the already finished animation. There are also sound effects or music.
Cartoons evolve, with computer-generated images, and especially the capture of interpretation, animation films will still seek the movements directly from actors.
If the idea is not revolutionary, the animators have always asked people to serve as models, including by filming actors to better break down movements, new technologies allow sensors to be installed, to capture movement by computer.
How to achieve an ex-lording script
A good script should be clean, clear and easy to follow, this requires a difficult combination of skills. First of all you need to have an original, unique and creative approach to the subject.
In addition, you must know what kind of stories attract the public and finally how to build an interesting story with them. One must also be able to structure a narrative, to be able to develop a story in a way that makes sense.
Recalls then what are the steps to follow to make a script:
1-First develop an idea, formulating a theme a premise and an argument.
2-The next step is to define the protagonist, who will not only trigger the conflict, but must show enough strength to be able to go through the whole argument.
3-We define the other characters, remembering that they must be correctly orchestrated.
4-The unity of opposites must be established. Make sure that this unit is strong enough so that the characters cannot leave the story before reaching its end.
5-The protagonist must risk something that is much appreciated.
6-Be careful when choosing a correct point of attack. It must be a strong turning point that involves several characters.
7-Each point of attack will start a new conflict.
8-Remember that there are four forms of conflict: static, jumping, anticipated and slow growth. We must use only the last two.
9-The conflict cannot develop properly if there are no changes in the protagonist, or if it does not show obvious transitions.
10-A developing conflict showing an evident growth, is the product of a good presentation, its open exposure and the correct transitions it causes in the characters.
11-The characters in conflict, will move moving from one emotional pole to another. For example: from love to hatred, which will produce a crisis.
12-The growth of the crisis will continue to increase until reaching the climax.
13-The climax will cause a conclusion.
14-Dialogue is as important as any other element of the work. But each word said, must be the unequivocal manifestation of the character that expresses it.
Art is not a mirror of life, but rather a way of representing its essence. We must then emphasize the emotions. If we want to write about love, we really have to propose to write about a great love.
It is not enough to know that a character is possessive, we must also know why.
Remember that the story will deal with the characters immersed in a crisis, in these conditions no one can behave normally. The characters should not be afraid to expose themselves to the conflict.
How to create the video of an animatic in Blender
The animatic that we are going to create in this tutorial has two audio files (a musical background and a dialogue), a video that presents the studio that produces the animation and the image files that are part of the storyboard.
In this tutorial we will add all these elements to the Blender video editor and then we will manipulate them to create the video that makes up the animatic.
For now we are going to use those functions that were described in the article: Adding clips to the Blender editor . Later, after we see how to add effect clips and how to create key frames, we will create the final video with the necessary effects to produce a good quality video.
In order to follow the tutorial, I have uploaded the sound, image and video files to the internet.
Let’s start working on the animatic. The first thing is to open Blender and go to the window layout for video editing:
Adding the audio
The first thing we are going to add is the audio. Let’s go to the window that shows the editor of video sequences and, there, we are going to click on Add-> Sound. The shortcut for this function is SHIFT + A.
In the file selector that appears we are going to look for the directory where the files are to create the animatic and there we select musical.wav. Then we click on “Add sound clip”.
Then we will follow the same procedure to add the dialogue. This time we are going to select dialog.wav before clicking on “Add sound clip”.
At this time we have the two sound files starting at the same time. We can move the dialogue so that it starts almost at the end of the video, but I think it is better to add the other elements of the animatic first before starting to make changes. Therefore, let’s now add the video.
Adding the video with the initial presentation
To add the video, we will follow exactly the same steps we used to add the audio, but instead of selecting Sound, we will select Movie. So, the steps are:
Go to the Video Stream Editor. The mouse cursor must be on this window to activate it.
Press Shift + A or click on the menu Add-> Movie
Select the video “presenta.avi” in the file selector
Click on “Add movie clip”
Now we have the two audio clips and the video clip in the sequencer.
Sequencer with three clips
Before adding the storyboard images, we are going to make some modifications to start organizing the final video. We want to leave the presentation without sound, so let’s move the audio so that it starts after the video. For this we select the clip of the musical background by right clicking on it.
Then we press the G key. Now we can freely move the clip to the place where we want. We will run it to the right until the start of the clip is in the second 2. Once there we click with the left mouse button.
Audio and video clip
We do the same with the dialogue. As we are not going to place the dialogue in the appropriate place yet, but we know that the dialogue will be almost at the end of the video, we can locate it at any point. Let’s place it then near the end of the other audio clip (musical.wav).
To move along the sequencer we can use the mouse wheel. If we press it and move the mouse to the left, we will move forward.
If we move the mouse to the right we will go to the beginning of the video. We can also increase or decrease the size of the sequencer by moving the mouse wheel forward or backward.
Before adding the storyboard images, we will change the parameter so that the audio and video are synchronized. We go to the timeline. There is a selector that says “No Synchronize”, we are going to click on this selector and we will choose Synchronize A and V:
Synchronize A and V
Adding the storyboard images
Now we can start adding the Storyboard images. These images, which have been created in Krita, are organized according to the scenes they represent.
The first scene is 001, the second 002 and so on. We will go scene by scene to add the images to the editor of Blender video sequences.
Let’s place the cursor on the second two first. For this we simply have to click with the left mouse button on the sequencer. The rule below the sequencer will help us locate the second two.
Now we press Shit + A and in the menu we select Image. The image selection window will appear and in this we will enter the directory 001. Within the directory we will choose all the files. We can press the A key to select all the files. Then we click on “Add image clip”.
Add image clip
The images will be added as a sequence, but this is not what we want. So let’s separate them. The clip should be selected when adding it, but if it is not, we can select it by clicking on the sequence with the right mouse button. Once the clip is selected, press the Y key.
In the small window that appears, Blender will ask us how long each image should be. Let’s write 12 and click on the window.
Before adding the images of the next scene, we will decide the appropriate duration of the present scene. According to my calculations, this scene will last two seconds, so I’m going to drag the last image so that the end of the clip is on the second four.
To do this I must select the image with the right mouse button, then I must press G and finally, after placing it, I must click with the left mouse button.
Organizing the scene 001
Now we can organize the other two images to simulate as best as possible the movement the plane is going to have. We can move the tips of each clip if we select them and press G. Once located, we click with the left mouse button.
It is possible that the images are below the video. If so, we will not be able to preview the scenes. Let’s go, instead, to preview the video. To solve this problem, we will select the images and we will move it to a track above the clip of the video.
To select all the images we will use the loop type selection tool. To do this, we press the B key and select the images. Then we press G and move them as we have done before.
Loop type selection
Now we must follow the same procedure with the images of the other scenes.
- We add the images
- We separate them
- We organize the time of the scene
The animatic will give us an idea of the duration of each shot and scene. If the duration of the shots and the scenes in the animatic is correct, it will be much easier to create the animation itself.
That is why we must use enough time to improve the time of the scenes in the animatic and add images of the possible keyframes that we will need.
Finally we are going to move the dialogue so that it remains on the images where the character is speaking. Maybe we need to modify the duration of each image and, therefore, of the scene in general.
Once we have added all the images we will go to the end of the video and we will place the cursor at the end of the last image. Then we go to the timeline and there we press the E key. This will cause Blender to update the information of the duration of the final video.
Creating the final video
Before creating the final video we will make a small change to introduce the theme of the next article: the effect clips. We are going to increase the playback speed of the presentation video.
To do this we are going to select the clip of the video and we are going to press the key combination Shift + A. The menu to add effects will appear. In this menu we are going to select Effect clip-> Speed control.
The effect clip will be located above the selected video. As always when we add a new clip, the newly added clip will be selected. But for what we want to do we have to select the right side of the video. Let’s do that: we go to the end of the video clip and there we right click on the arrow:
Selecting right side
Now we are going to press G to be able to move the end of the video and we move it so that it remains on the second two. There we click.
Final position of the video
With this procedure we have increased the speed of the video. Now we have our animatic with the presentation video, sound and images. Finally we can create the final video.
We are going to modify the output parameters and we are going to render the video. The first thing we are going to do, if we have not already done so, is to change the upper left window to show the property editor. For this we go to the editor selector and select “Properties”
Now we can modify the parameters of the output video. In the Dimensions section we select one of the default formats. I’m going to choose HDTV 720p. It’s the one I usually use for the YouTube channel.
Then we go to the Output section. The first option is to change the directory where the file will be created. By default it is the temporary directory (“/ tmp /”) but it is better to save it in the working directory. The next thing is to change the file format.
By default it is PNG, but since we want a video it is better to choose Xvid. When choosing Xvid, Blender will create a new section called “Coding”, there we can choose the video format and the Audio format. I use the AVI format with the MPEG-4 compressor (divx) and the mp3 audio codec.
Once the changes are made, we can save the file by pressing the key combination Ctrl + S and we can finally create the animatic video.
To do this, go to the top menu and select Process-> Process Animation. Blender will begin processing the final video in the directory that we select
In the next article we will see more of the effects clips that will help us to create the video of the final animation.