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April 16, 2008

from story reel to animatic

by sven at 11:40 pm

Only recently have I come to understand that there's a distinction between the terms "story reel" and "animatic."

A story reel takes the pictures from your storyboard and makes them into a slideshow. Sometimes 2D elements will be separated from their background and moved around using a compositing program -- to give the clip more life.

Here's my story reel for Act 2 of Let Sleeping Gods Lie:

story reel
click on image to play clip (39sec - 2.5 MB)

An animatic is a mock-up of a shot you're planning that's rendered using 3D CG software. Animatics are commonplace both for live action and animated productions.

For the past two weeks I've been slowly going through my story reel and replacing drawings with CG stand-ins. Today I finally got rid of the last drawing left in my timeline. Yay! A small milestone -- but a milestone nonetheless.

click on image to play clip (1min 27sec - 8.6 MB)

This is the 7th animatic I've rendered out so far. I'm going through a process of iterations... I write down notes each time I output an animatic -- and then I go back and make the next version.

Waiting for shots to render out is a killer... So I've been learning to make ample use of two time-saving tactics. One: render clips at "quickshade" resolution rather than "realistic." Two: render clips at 160x120 pixel resolution rather than 640x480 -- that's 1/16th as many pixels that the computer has compute!

Looking at animatic #7, I see camera moves to fix, timing to adjust, effects that aren't indicated, and areas where I might need to create completely new shots. I'm not convinced that the story "reads" yet. ...But it's getting there.

posted by sven | April 16, 2008 11:40 PM | categories: let sleeping gods lie