Blender Tools,Pipeline,Production

Blender 2.73 – a new storyboard workflow

15 January, 2015 |  18 Comments | by Ton Roosendaal

Several 2d animators and story(board) artists have been reporting exciting results with the upgraded “Grease Pencil” annotation tool in Blender. What started as a quick way to add notes in the viewport has now grown into a powerful animation tool for sketching storyboards — and even final animations.

Matias Mendiola, who worked here on Cosmos Laundromat storyboarding in September, posted the video below. He could do this minute of film in just half a day. No tedious .jpg file naming and saving, loading, texture mapping, and video editing needed!


According to Matias, the main benefits are:

  • It uses a single .blend file as starting point for the scene, avoiding the use of paper, scans, and other software.
  • It combines the storyboard and animatic in the same work session, making the process much faster.
  • Backgrounds and character drawings can be reused for different shots and scenes.
  • Allows the director to work on scene timing from the very beginning.
  • Allows the director to use the same (or multiple) camera angles and movements that will be used later in production.

Download the .blend file here (3 MB). Needs Blender 2.73 to work!

18 Responses

  1. JG Loquet says:

    Very interesting ! This feature is far from anecdotic, it’s come a good way towards bridging the gap between 2D and 3D, very promising .. It’s already a big speedup for preprod, but if could probably be used to produce final animations ..

    Once again, kudos to the dev team !

  2. i have been doing this since 2.49b …. awesome way of making animatics and storyboard

    keep it up

  3. Eibriel says:

    This will be very helpful to add detail to my non photorealistic renders for !

    No need to go to Gimp or Inkscape for finishing anymore!! :D

  4. Hassan says:

    Realy realy interesting this could be the newest way to go when it come to do 2D animatics

    keep pushing blender beyond his limit guys !!

  5. Banksyde says:

    Sooner or later, I knew that Blender would come around to being used a boarding tool. Now I’m waiting for somebody to use Blender as a 3D boarding tool. Because that is the future of storyboarding.

    Bravo, Pratik! You’re ahead of the game.

    • Tobias Johansson says:

      Blener has already been used as a 3D bording tool. From wikipedias article about Blender:
      “The first large professional project that used Blender was Spider-Man 2, where it was primarily used to create animatics and pre-visualizations for the storyboard department”

      • Gare Cline says:

        Well, Wikipedia doesn’t always get it right. I had a number of friends who worked on that show and from what I understand Proof did the pre-vis and they use Maya.

        • Gare Cline says:

          I stand corrected.

          I have recently been reminded that Blender was used as a pre-vis tool on Spiderman 2. Matter of fact, I’ve seen the footage. I believe that Anthony Zierhut used the particle simulator to create a helicopter crashing into a bridge. However, I think Wayback Machine misquotes Anthony by suggesting that he was using Blender to storyboard Spiderman 2. As far as I know, neither Blender nor Maya have ever been used to storyboard a major US motion picture. That is why I think what Matias has done is very forward thinking.

          • Previz is indeed a different topic. What Matias does is sketching in 3d, using all the fancy benefits of having Blender’s viewport, and yet have all the creative freedom of a storyboard artist!

  6. How can I render the animation? By the screen cast option or is there a better way?

    • Gnuren says:

      You can render the viewport both as a still shot, and as an animation. There is a button for both in the 3d view port. One looks line a camera, the other looks like a clapper board.
      Or you can google ‘blender viewport render’ and look in the wiki.
      Hope this helps ☺

    • You must use OpenGL render animation on render menu

  7. felipe vece says:

    the tool is great but i think without being overwelming
    it be nice if the tool has like a paint buket or a fill selection tool
    or pre made forms lice a circle o a cube triangle,
    and being able to make more 2d aniamtion in blender because
    i feel it has the capacity
    but still is an awesom tool gret job blender

  8. ohakuma says:

    would be nice to have a video on the workflow he use :)

  9. Leo says:

    Seams like really nice way for storyboarding a scene such as this one. :)

    I don’t think the line quality is good enough yet too replace my 2d animation software for final animation however. And I don’t really like the way the eraser and line thickness works at the moment. You’ve made some nice improvements to grease pencil still (like the colored onion skin)! :>

  10. TheBeachdancer says:

    Why does grease pencil need a different kind of render to render?

    Why doesn’t it render normally?

  11. mnkySHIELD says:

    Can someone explain to me how was the camera switch animated ? AM newish to blender…

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