Focal Press Book: Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts (2nd Edition, Hardcover)

Focal Press Book: Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts (2nd Edition, Hardcover)

Focal Press Book: Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts (2nd Edition, Hardcover)

B&H # FOPB2EHRDBK MFR # 9781138170742

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Product Highlights

  • Author: Nancy Beiman
  • Hardcover, 346 Pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press
  • Date Published: December 8, 2015
  • Key Techniques/Tips from Veteran Artists
  • Workflow Solutions to Save Time & Money
  • Troubleshooting Tips and Tricks
  • Storyboard/Character Design Examples
  • Interactive Companion Website with Video
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Focal Press 9781138170742 overview

  • 1Description

Learn the secrets to successful storyboards and poignant characterizations in this second edition of Prepare to Board! Creating Story and Characters for Animated Features and Shorts, a hardcover Focal Press book by Nancy Beiman. Whether you're a beginner or intermediate, you'll discover key techniques, tips, and tricks from experienced character designers and storyboard artists with 30 years of experience, so you can apply them to your own film, TV, and animation projects. In-depth interviews with these leading industry professionals will teach and inspire you.

Study examples of well-executed storyboards and character designs, as well as those in need of improvement. Benefit from workflow solutions that save you time and money, and avoid common mistakes and problems with troubleshooting tips and tricks. Additionally, the interactive companion website includes video tutorials, examples of storyboards, and examples of good and bad pitching techniques.

Prepare to Board! shows you how characters and story must be developed at the same time, helping you achieve an understanding of the relationship between the two elements. Problem-solving techniques applicable to a variety of animation projects help you get out of sticky situations. And a rundown of the basic concepts of cinematic storytelling, including camera angles, lenses, and composition, is included in this helpful volume, as well. Artwork from numerous international students and professionals supplements the author's own illustrations.

Table of Contents


First Catch Your Rabbit: Creating Concepts and Characters
  • Linear and Non-linear Storytelling
  • Setting Limitations and Finding Liberation
  • Shopping for Story: Creating Lists
  • Nothing is Normal: Researching Action
  • All Thumbs: Quick Sketches and Thumbnails
  • Reality is Overrated
  • Past and Present: Researching Settings and Costumes
Vive la Difference! Animation and Live-Action Storyboards
  • Graphic Novels: Shaping the Frame
  • Screen Ratios: The Fixed Frame
  • Television Boards and Feature Boards
  • Technological T(h)reats
  • Digital Storyboard: An Interview with Elliot Cowan
  • Who Loves Short Shorts?
Putting Yourself into Your Work
  • The use of symbolic Animals and Objects
  • The Newsman's Story Guide: Who, What, When, Where and Why
Situation and Character-Driven Stories
  • Stop If You've Heard This One
  • Defining Conflict
  • Log Lines
  • Stealing the Show
  • Parodies and Pastiches
What If? Contrasting the Possible and the Fanciful
  • Beginning at the Ending: The Tex Avery 'Twist' 60
  • Establishing Rules
Appealing or Appalling? Beginning Character Design
  • Reading the Design: Silhouette Value
  • Construction Sights
  • Foundation Shapes and Their Meaning
  • The Shape of Things
  • Going Organic
  • Creating a Character from Inanimate Objects
  • Across the Universe
Size Matters: The Importance of Scale
  • Practice your Scales
  • Stereotypes of Scale
  • Triple Trouble: Working with Similar Character Silhouettes
  • Getting Pushy
Beauties and Beasts: Creating Character Contrasts in Design
  • I Feel Pretty! Changing Standards of Beauty
  • A Face That Only a Mother Could Love?
  • Gods and Monsters: Contrasting Appearance and Personality

Location, Location, Location: Art Direction and Storytelling


Starting Story Sketch: Composing Yourself
  • Tonal Sketches
  • Graphic Images Ahead!
  • The Drama in the Drawings: Using Contrast to Direct the Eye
  • The Best-Laid Floor Plans
  • Outgrowing Your Furniture
  • Structure: The Mind's Eye
  • The Wonderful World of Color Accents and Keys
Roughing It: Basic Staging
  • Made You Look: Using Tone and Line to Direct the Eye
  • I'm ready for My Close-Up: Storyboard Cinematography
Boarding Time: Getting with the Story Beat
  • Working to the Beat: Story Beats and Boards
  • Sizing Things Up
  • Do You Want to Talk About It?
The Big Picture: Creating Story Sequences
  • Turning the Page: Sequential Construction from Literature
  • Arcs and Triumphs
  • Acting Up: Identifying Acts and Sequences in your Story
  • Pacing the Film
  • Acting Out: Acts and Sequences
  • Outlines and Treatments
  • A-B-Sequences: Prioritizing the Action
  • Naming Names
Patterns in Time: Pacing Action on Rough Boards
  • How Many Panels Do You Use in a Storyboard?
  • Yakkity Yak: Dialogue on the Storyboard
  • Writes and Wrongs: Using Transitions
  • Climactic Events
Present Tense: Creating a Performance on Storyboards
  • Working with Music
  • Visualizing the Script
Diamond in the Rough Model Sheet: Refining Character Designs
  • Tying it Down: Standardizing Your Design
  • Your Cheatin' Part: Non-literal Design
Color My World: Art Direction and Storytelling
  • Fishing for Complements
  • Saturation Point: Colors and Tonal Values
  • Writing the Color: Color Scripts
  • O Tempora, O More or Less


Show and Tell: Presenting Your Storyboards
  • The More Things Change: The Turnover Session
Talking Pictures: Assembling a Leica, Story Reel or Animatic with a Scratch Track
  • This is Only a Test: Refining Story Reels

Build a Better Mouse: Creating Cleanup Model Sheets

Maquette Simple: Modeling Characters in Three Dimensions

Am I Blue? Creating Character Through Color
  • Creating Color in Context
  • It's a Setup: Testing Your Color Models

Screen and Screen Again: Preparing for Production

Further Reading: Books, Discs, and Websites
  • Artist's Websites
  • Books by Animation Character Designers, Animators, and Illustrators
  • Books on Screenwriting, Art Direction, and Visual Storytelling
  • DVDs
  • Anatomy Books for the Artist
Appendices: Animated Interviews
  • Discussion with A. Kendall O'Connor
  • Caricature Discussion with T. Hee
  • Interview with Ken Anderson

About the Author

Nancy Beiman currently teaches animation and character design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She has worked for nearly thirty years as a supervising animator, director, character designer, and storyboard artist. A graduate of the Character Animation Program at the California Institute of the Arts, Nancy worked in development and as a supervising animator on several Disney features, including "A Goofy Movie," "Hercules," and "Treasure Planet." She was nominated for an Annie award in 2000 for storyboarding "Little Angelita" for Disney, and won a Cine Golden Eagle in 1984 for her personal film "Your Feets' Too Big." Nancy is a member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Australian Black and White Cartoonists Club. In 2004, she illustrated two children's books: Duffy and the Invisible Crocodile and Basil Bigboots the Pirate for Australian writer Patricia Bernard. Recently, she has taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design, as well.
Table of Contents
  • 1Description

Focal Press 9781138170742 specs

Subject Storyboarding and character design for animated projects
Author Nancy Beiman
Hard/Soft Cover Hardcover
Number of Pages 346
150 in color
Illustrations Yes
ISBN Number 9781138170742
Publisher Focal Press
Date Published December 8, 2015

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