Storyboards raise the visual bar. Projects that include a storyboard are more likely to side-step the blunders that can result from miscommunication during production.
In this post, we’ll discuss the latest storyboard software, storyboard apps and iPad styli. Plus we’ll provide you with a bunch of storyboard templates for free.
Our Top 10 List of Storyboard Software
There’s a variety of storyboard software on the market, ranging from software with preset characters to professional storyboard software that requires drawing skills. You can find everything from traditional licensed software to web-based solutions to mobile apps. There is something for everyone here. Alternatively, you could download your own storyboard templates.
FrameForge offers various bundles, each with increasing complexity and price points. All levels include optically accurate virtual cameras. The highest-end packages allows users to define exact equipment specs for dollies & cranes, precise lighting, calculations for sun positioning, reports and more. Software ranges from $399-899.
StoryboardPro is a professional web application from Toon Boom. Tailored specifically for commercial storyboards artists, the software includes animated and live boards with all the bells and whistles a serious storyboard artist would need. They offer permanent access for $999 and a monthly subscription for $58.
Out of the UK comes Moviestorm. Promoted as “a filmmaking tool for everyone,” so you don’t need to be an artist. You can create everything from storyboards to full pre visualization, and various theme-based add-ons provide additional robustness. Pricing starts at $225.
Power Production provides a few storyboard solutions, each with varying complexity. It offers customizable characters and presets for locations and props. They offer script imports, character animations and other integrations. Power Production’s software starts at $190 for Storyboard Quick while the more robust StoryBoard Artist Studio sells for $900+.
5. ShotPro (Storyboard iOS)
On the iPad side of things, ShotPro is a solution to easily create storyboards or pre-visualization. Add a structure sensor and you can scan real-world objects, locations, and people to import as 3D objects into your storyboard. That’s pretty slick. The price is also hard to beat at $39.
6. Storyboard Fountain (Mac)
StoryBoard Fountain is one of the newer players in this space. This web app has a modern user interface, and focuses on going from script to visuals via sketches (using your mouse or Wacom pen). The beta app looks quite sharp, is open-source and available for free.
7. Storyboard Composer (Storyboard iOS)
Storyboard Composer relies entirely on the use of existing photos or video so there’s no need for drawing or sketching skills. It’s easy to add arrows and boxes to identify the movement of shots, and even animate them. It could also double as a solution for creating mood or vision boards. The app sells for $15.
8. StoryBoard Pro (by Atomic Learning)
StoryBoardPro is a another web-based solution that does not require any drawing or sketching skills. You can build a scene by importing videos, photos and sounds, and add notes on individual frames. StoryBoard Pro is free.
Storyboard That is not specifically for the film industry, but it can do the job. You create your own characters using a web interface and also doesn’t require any hand-sketching to get started. You can create storyboards for free but they will be publicly available. Subscriptions start at $15 per month.
This is a combo solution. Boardo is an After Effects plugin for adding cool storyboard animations and effects to existing images, but you’ll need to create your images in outside software. We recommend using vector-based drawing apps on an iPad such as Paper (free), Astro Pad ($30) and Noteshelf ($9).
Afterwards, you can combine the finished sketches in After Effects/Boardo to create animated boards you can export as videos. Boardo starts at $30.
Bonus: Top 5 stylus for drawing on tablets (2016)
No matter the software you go with, there’s nothing that can beat the precision of drawing a sketch by hand and importing the results. If you have an iPad handy (no pun intended), we suggest purchasing a stylus for sketching your storyboards by hand. Here’s our top 5 picks for best stylus for storyboard artists. All of these stylus were designed for iOS devices and all include palm rejection options.
- Adonit (Pixel) with highly pressure sensitive with precision tip and bluetooth, $80+.
- Apple Pencil No lag time, creates pressure sensitive lines and tilt to shade, $99.
- Wacom (Intuos Creative 2) precise tip, pressure & sensitivity levels, bluetooth, $60+.
- Pencil by 53 Bluetooth, built-in eraser and blend, no pressure sensitivity, $50
- Adobe Ink & Slide Fine point stylus, pressure sensitive, slide is a ruler (not pictured) $30.
Or create your own storyboards with our storyboard templates
If your storyboards will not be client-facing, sometimes the best option is to print out your own storyboard template and sketch it by hand. Even stick figures can go a long way in visualizing and planning a scene with your DP/AD. Remember shooting boards only require a rudimentary drawing skill level. Because it’s the framing, action, camera movement and direction that matter most.
Need a printable storyboard template? We’ve got you covered. We’ve created over 10 premium storyboard templates to fit pretty much any use case. Click below to download the free storyboard templates.
(VIDEO): Storyboarding For People Who Can't Draw
Here’s a video from Indy Mogul, covering the basics and importance of storyboards and shooting boards with examples from a short film script.
Managing Storyboard Files Online
Once you receive your storyboard from an artist, make sure to include a copies in your final production wrap binder. Storyboards and revisions can be easily backed up and shared electronically these days with solutions like Dropbox or Hightail.
If you’re looking for a more A-to-Z production management solution, StudioBinder makes it easy to manage your production files online, in addition to managing crew, creating schedules, and sending out call sheets. Plus it’s free to get started.
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That’s the basics on storyboard software and templates. We hope you found this post and the free downloads helpful.
Now, if you have decided the sketching is a little too much and you want to hire a storyboard artist for a more polished presentation, check out our article on 8 Websites to Find & Hire a Storyboard Artist.
What storyboard software do you use? Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment below
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