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Create a Storyboard for your Digital Project

What is a storyboard?

Storyboarding is a project planning technique which uses a combination of text and images to lay out your ideas.  Storyboards can be used to help you plan an essay, a presentation or a digital media project. 

Why should I create a storyboard?

Storyboards can:

  • Help you plan and communicate the main idea of your project.
  • Keep your work clear and focused.
  • Be used for many tasks in different contexts.  For example, they can help you plan an essay, a presentation or a digital media project.
  • Be created in a variety of ways, and there is no single, 'right' way to create one.  Every storyboard will look different depending on the project.

What are the essential elements of a storyboard?

Storyboards are typically made up of these five elements:

  1. Set of shapes made up of made up of text and images, which are often squares, rectangles or circles.  These shapes can be placed vertically, horizontally or in meaningful clusters and are often referred to as 'panels.'
  2. Shapes are placed in a logical sequence.  For example, boxes should be read across the page the same way we would read a book-starting in the top left, returning at the end of each line.
  3. Boxes are filled with pictures, symbols and text.  This should include the graphics, text, information about the atmosphere and tone, angle of the camera, and a place for feedback. 
  4. Any length, from two to two thousand shapes.  The length of your storyboard will depend on the length of your work.
  5. Simple or complex as you need them to be.  You can use stick figures and short text, or more detailed drawings and longer sentences.

What are the steps for creating a storyboard?

  1. Before starting your storyboard, you have a few decisions to make:
    • Are you going to create your storyboard by hand?
    • Are you going to create your storyboard using a digital tool? See 'Find Storyboard Resources' in the next section.
    • Are you going to use a storyboard template that's already been created? Try our storyboard template attached in the next section.
    • Are you going to create your own storyboard template?
  2. Once you've decided which format you're going to use, you can start adding the script for your project underneath each panel for each corresponding scene.  Panels might be in the shape of a rectangle, square or even circles depending on the template you're using.
  3. Sketch out the imagery for your project.  The imagery can be as simple or as complex as you choose- you can use stick figures and short text, or more detailed drawings with longer sentences.
    • If you don't feel comfortable sketching out the imagery, you can provide a description of your vision for the imagery instead.  For example, "dog coming in left, cat coming in right, sunset appears in the middle of the animals."
    • If you're using an online tool, they will often have free images and characters available for you to use.
    • If you're using a template document on a device, you can import photos that help to show what you envision for each scene.
  4. Add in any additional notes for each panel.  For a digital media project, this might include things like a description of the atmosphere of the scene, camera angles or movement, and any special effects.  You can also include information about the audio or sound effects you plan to use.
  5. Once you've completed your storyboard, you should seek feedback from a variety of people.  You might ask your professor, a peer, or someone outside of your course.  This will help you to see where there may be gaps in information, or if there are any sections that don't make sense. 
  6. Review the feedback and make corrections as necessary.
  7. You're now ready for the production phase.

Adapted from Burgess, Cindy. (2018). How to Make a Storyboard for Video. Retrieved from https://photography.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-make-a-storyboard-for-video--cms-26374

Resources to Help with Planning Your Video

Link to Guide: Create a Script for Your Digital ProjectLink to Guide: Create a StoryboardLink to Online Module: Scripting & Storyboarding

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