At Annecy the TVP team demonstrated TVP Pro 9.5 which featured the storyboarding panel in progress. This feature has substantially changed my workflow. I will storyboard a few clips ahead now, but still never a complete storyboard of an entire film. For this type of work the new TVP storyboarding function is ideal. I often (always perhaps) make a sketch of the camera setups as I go into a scene; a schematic of where the camera is positioned around the subject. This is important to adhere to once decided upon and is a necessary editing practice for maintaining continuity. I have fallen into the habit of sketching this floor plan on the timeline’s notes layer. It gets stretched and squished of course but that doesn’t bother me – it’s important to have it in view at all times. This type of storyboarding encompasses about 80% of all my editing functions.
To better understand how this new function works let me explain (with Herve's encouragement) how I use it. It is important to learn TVP's new nomenclature; each piece of animation from cut to cut is referred to as a CLIP. A sequence of clips that together forms an enclosed event is referred to as a SCENE. A sequence of scenes that makes for a completed film, a video, a demo -- whatever you think of "it" to be, is referred to as a Project.
The way I now work is that I sketch out my camera schematic as a sketch on the notes layer and create about 4 or 8 clips in the storyboard panel, drawing a very rough sketch of the first frame of each clip. Storyboarding a few scenes based on the repositioning of my camera in the camera layout schematic helps me avoid poor edits. This is the thrust of my storyboarding purpose. It is not to present my work to a client or a team of co-workers but streamline my work flow. If you do have the need to deliver printed storyboards, the new feature has a way of letting you print your clips on paper, including typed descriptions of Action, Dialog and Notes below each drawing in standard, storyboard fashion.
I stretch out an image layer of the first, single image that begins each clip which either follows a soundtrack, or if I am forced to work without one, I just make a guess of how long I think a clip should take within the scene. Now comes the beauty of 9.5's storyboarding feature: each clip is the beginning of an individual piece of animation but we can also play back all the clips in sequence as if they were on a single layer! The clips can be hidden when you don’t need them but are always present. You can also shuffle them around the way you would shuffle paper storyboard panels. Then instead of completing one clip, you just turn the first, storyboard sketch into an animatic and move on to the next clip which you work into an animatic and so on and all this time you can play these advancing clips as a single scene or you can cut and paste clips into new arrangements. It’s brilliant and enormously speeds up the creative process of animation.
If we wish, once the entire scene becomes completed, we will be able to transfer it to a true NLE, using the new Export EDL function. This is an Edits Decision List that merely points to the address and length of each clip. all NLE's these days can open an EDL and let you place your TVP scene into your NLE's timeline, ready to be finalized by further global tweaks.
Below is a link to a Slocum scene Sandra and I are working on at the moment. It depicts Slocum's collision with a rogue, tsunami-like wave. As I progress with the animation, Sandra progresses with her color work. Please take into consideration that not a single clip has yet been completed, including the color ones. This is due to the nature of our new way of working. We do not think in terms of drawing and painting and completing a clip before we progress to the next one, but in terms of working on one scene before we go to the next.
This is a big time saver because our work can now be done just as if we were animating directly in Vegas, without having to jump back and forth between two applications. Here's the scene:http://www.oldanimator.com/video/tvp