Storyboard rules for Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends

This guide does a great job at showcasing some of the issues unique to producing a show with a flat, graphic style in Flash as well as other storyboard issues that have a more universal value, no matter how the show is produced.  Much can be gleaned from the exhaustive amount of “before and after” examples that Craig McCracken has provided.

This thick tome was given to me as a guide when I tested for Foster’s as a storyboard artist a long time ago (gosh…probably 2005?)  Foster’s was a show that was produced in Flash and had a somewhat “flat,” graphic look.  Hand-in-hand with a more graphic look goes an animation style and shooting style that best showcases this type of art direction.  Sometimes the characters look better animated from one angle over another.  Also, being a show produced in Flash, the producers might want to take advantage of the Library of assets that one can build up over the course of a season (or more.)  To do this, a limited amount of camera angles (to a certain extent) can increase the chances of reusing some of the assets they have built up.  See, for example, how a more straight-on shot is chosen over the down-shot.

I guess what I like best about this guide is its peek into the mind of a director who is readying a storyboard for animation and trying to identify potential problems that might pop up in the next phase of the production process.  A lot of the “before” scenes aren’t necessarily wrong, but you can see why Craig revised them.  Some are simplified for ease of animation.  Some are revised for better compositions (like Brad Bird’s pearl of wisdom–lowering the horizon.)  Others are revised because, in Craig’s hard-earned experience, he knows the technical difficulties the “before” way might present if not nipped in the bud at the storyboard stage.

Anyway, enough of my prattling on.  Might as well let Mr. McCracken do the talking–

Fosters SB rules

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