Video StoryBoard Best Practices

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  • rodzilla

    Looking to the QBN community to see if you all would be willing to share a glimpse into your video processes mostly in regards to text base and animated graphics videos.

    Currently, the agency I work for does the following:

    1) Prep script (approved by client onto creative)

    2) Creative builds assets/scenes in illustrator onto 7500 x 4200 artboards with six 1920 x 1080 up. We develop each scene in conjunction with approved script.

    3) Once all scenes are approved we create a single artboard document in illustrator 1920 x 1080 and break apart each scene so that the animator can get as much control as possible.

    4) Once all layers are done in one file, that is imported into AE and animated from there

    Right now for us, the layering out the files is a bit cumbersome, but know that animators need control over each item is necessary, but is there a simpler more efficient way to import into AE? We are told AE can't just import the files we've created as it needs to be separated out, so i'm just looking to see if there are better more efficient ways to do this.

    Hopefully this makes sense. Is there a better way to do this? How does your team work? Looking forward to what you all have to say.

  • evilpeacock3

    This is indeed a pain point for AE folks inheriting source from non-animators.

    AI artboards aren't seen by AE other than the first one in the document, and any animatable elements are ideally on individual layers so they'd import to a AE composition ready-to-rock.

    If you want to stay fully vector source art might need some point or compound path clean-up before round-tripping to AE.

    A highly recommended tool that really helps get AI content into AE as native shape layers in bulk would be Explode Shape Layers, but this is probably already used by any AE user with any experience:…

    But mostly you can help by putting every type of content into their own AI layers with clearly understood names.

    If anything is used more than once on a storyboard frame make sure the source art is either a AI Symbol or is linked to a single master file. Showing common consistency is kind of important as an animator will know if they need to create multiple versions of an "actor" or not.

    The real trick for me is that I can take a "clean" AI file and batch all the storyboard frames to both individual AI *and* PSD files using the "Save as" command to write over the source while checking off "Save Artboards".

    The PSD files with text layers can be quickly batched to native AE text with some practice using this method, and all vector elements easily sucked out of the individual AI files of the same frame.

    AI will save over and update all these individual storyboard frames if you keep it open after doing that export. After I move past ingesting all my source "actors" I eventually ditch the unlinked exported storyboard frames and work as usual.

    To keep AI from flattening type with styles applied it can help to select everything in the AI file and tick off "Isolate blending" in the expanded options in the Transparency Palette.

    One can also simply copy and past formatted text from AI to AE via the clipboard as well, which is the quicker method if your not doing something with lots of text objects to animate.

    There's lots of details an know-how in-between the cracks of the above, but that's basically what I have to do for a most AE builds I inherit.

    Also note that Adobe XD now automatically exports to AE, so you may want to look into getting designers using that to build the storyboards to simplify the hand-off.

    • I have started to play with XD and it looks like the hand off could be easier, but XD rasterizes gradients during the export to AE process for some reason...rodzilla
    • Also, thanks a ton for your input. Sounds like we are doing what we should be, albeit cumbersome. I will look into this aescript you linked as well.rodzilla
    • Wow that is a long process. I never considered having someone layer out my PSDs and AI files.CyBrainX
    • I just wouldn't expect someone who doesn't use AE to remember layer folders create a precomp and AI not exporting editable type.CyBrainX
    • Good to know XD fudges gradients; That feature is brand new and I've not had any real testing of it yet, but it was easy at least.evilpeacock
    • Also, aescripts is a critical resource for AE animators/users. If you see something there that you think might be useful, definitely try it!evilpeacock
    • It is a long process, but I've "enhanced" it with scripting in both AI and AE. I have to roll over really complex sets of content that must be native in AE.evilpeacock
    • The PSD to native AE type is a life saver, but if you don't need it, skip that.evilpeacock
    • CyBrainX, my writing isn't great, the layering thing is usually pretty quick, e.g. just break out text elements, background, any other needed. Then batch!evilpeacock
  • fyoucher12
    • Definitely need to try this one as well.evilpeacock
    • Cool this is interesting - thanks for sharing!rodzilla
  • rodzilla0

    Bump once for any other potential video heads we have :)