animaticMost people have, at one time or another, heard of a storyboard. A storyboard usually couples simple sketches with written descriptions of what the voice over is saying in a scene. A storyboard is typically a static series of images displayed sequentially for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation or interactive media. The storyboarding process was originally developed by Disney during the early 1930s.

By contrast, many people haven’t ever heard of an animatic. One way to think of it is that an animatic is kind of like a storyboard on steroids. An animatic is still a series of still images for each scene but they are timed and sequenced with the voice over track and/or sound track added to check whether the sound and visuals we are developing are working together seamlessly to tell a brand’s story.

An animatic is designed to help define the imagery and get the core message conveyed as effectively as possible. Usually in the animatic process we are able to identify scenes we could trim to shorten the video’s overall length. In the script writing process, we use a text description of the visuals to help give direction for the storyboard and animatic. The visuals for the animatic are very quick sketches or gesture drawings just to give us, and our client, a good feel for how the video will visually flow. Here’s an example of an initial animatic we created for a recent animation project for LegacyX:


As you can see it’s very basic, quickly sketched out visuals with arrows to denote movement. And here is the final finished product below:



Now if you watch this video with both the animatic and finished video side by side, you can see there were some elements that stayed relatively consistent to the original animatic and others things were tweaked or changed completely to tell LegacyX’s story more effectively.



As you can see the animatic goes one step further than a static series of images in a storyboard to help critically see whether everything is working together seamlessly to tell your story. With most explainer videos, you are culling your message down to its bare bones to try and stay as engaging to the viewer as possible.

Up until about 10 years ago, animatics were produced by filming storyboards pages. Now animatics can be produced using computer animation programs simply and efficiently to make sure everything within your animation is working in sync to best tell your story.



Eric Guerin is the founder of Adelie Studios. He chooses to use his creative powers for good and not evil by helping businesses to better market themselves using animated marketing videos. He can easily be bribed with coffee. Read more of Eric’s posts