They’re ugly. They’re rough. They often don’t look at all clean or polished. In fact, you would never want anyone important to see them. But they are an essential step in the process of animation. They are storyboards!
If you’ve never done an animation, (and I fall into this category until this semester) a storyboard is the mapping out of still frame images–aka sketches–as they correspond to dialogue. Sounds easy, right? Yes, the purpose is clear. But the storyboard is the most important and most difficult step of animating. It’s where you have to THINK! Not just draw. It’s where you work out all the camera angles, the zoom ins and outs, the style, not to mention all the characters and background scenes.
I am creating a relatively simplistic animation for a doctor at UIC to teach patients about diabetes. There will be no 3D, no fly-thoughs at a molecular level, no dramatic music. It’s going to be a 2D animation about how diabetes works, which will accompany a simple narration. Way over on the opposite side of the spectrum of complexity, however, things can get difficult.
The animation wil explain how glucose and insulin work in the body, and what is going on in the bodies of those with diabetes. To portray the complex interplay between glucose and insulin using cartoons to a population of adults with sometimes a sixth-grade literacy level is… tough. Anatomical context, clarity and simplicity are important elements to such an animation. I’ll be leaving out a lot of information, and it kills me.
But who cares about the science behind the disease, when it doesn’t help anything? It’s true, not everyone needs to know. BUT, to take an hourly medicine for the rest of your life, you need motivation. And part of that motivation might come from knowing what will happen, at a molecular level, if you don’t take your insulin.
Can’t wait to keep working on this. It’s fun!