Tutorial: Storyboarding in Photoshop

I’ve realised that the way I use Photoshop to storyboard isn’t that well known. This way of working uses Frame Animation within the Timeline panel. It takes a short while to organise new shortcuts and change a few settings, but once that’s done it’s easy to add new frames and scroll through the storyboard. Most importantly, it’s simple to export.

I have used this technique in CS5 and CC. This tutorial uses Photoshop CC 2018 on a Mac.

The size of the canvas doesn’t matter. I generally use a 1920×1080 pixel canvas if I’m boarding in 16:9; the inbuilt Film & Video presets can be helpful. Like with any Photoshop file, a large canvas area plus lots of layers can become unwieldy.

Setting up the document

Open the Timeline panel by going to Window > Timeline.

01_01

Click ‘Create Frame Animation’.

01_02

In the bottom left-hand corner of the Timeline panel there will be a single frame. Click the little arrow in its bottom right-hand corner.

01_03

Change the amount to 1.0, or one second. This is important because in order to export the frame rate is set at 1fps.

01_04

Click the ‘Duplicate Frames’ button to add two more frames.

01_05

Click the button in the top right corner of the Timeline panel.

01_06a

If ‘New Layers Visible in All Frames’ is checked, uncheck it.

01_06b01_06c

I like to save a copy of the document as a template.

Setting up shortcuts

By default, Photoshop does not assign any shortcuts for Frames in the Timeline panel. Click Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

02_01

Next to ‘Shortcuts For:’ choose ‘Panel Menus’.

02_02a02_02b

Scroll down to ‘Timeline (Frames)’ and open the dropdown menu.

02_03b

I set shortcuts for ‘New Frame’, ‘Next Frame’ and ‘Previous Frame’. Choose whatever keystrokes suit you best. I don’t worry too much about what the shortcut is as I then assign them to buttons on my Cintiq.

02_04

Click ‘OK’.

To assign the shortcuts to a Wacom tablet, open the Wacom Tablet Preferences. This can be accessed either through the Radial Menu or, on a Mac, System Preferences.

02_06

Select ‘Functions’.

02_07

Click the drop-down menu next to the button. Select Keyboard > Keystroke …

02_08

Add the keystroke and assign it a name.

02_09

Click ‘OK’.

It’s worth testing the buttons a few times, to make sure they’re working as expected. Usually if I have problems it’s because I’ve made a mistake in entering the keystroke.

Storyboarding

This is not a tutorial on how to storyboard, but I’ll give a few hints about how to use this setup.

First, don’t add any layers on the first frame. Always leave it blank. I like to have both the first and last frame blank.

Add a layer to draw. I like to keep my layers reasonably tidy, by sorting all the layers for one shot into one folder.

03_0203_03

 

 

It’s easy to reuse layers across several frames. As long as you don’t transform the layer (resize, rotate, etc.) you can move it without duplicating or redrawing. This progression was a simple case of duplicating the frame, then moving the position of the figure. If I rotate the layer with the figure on frame 4, it also rotates on the other frames. It’s the same if I decide to add to the drawing.

03_0403_0503_0603_07

As creating a new frame duplicates the current frame, you need to turn off the layers you don’t want to see in it. (This is when grouping layers can be particularly useful.) Then, add a new layer to draw.

03_08

Exporting

Go to File > Export > Render Video …

04_01

Change the name and save location.

04_02

Change the dropdown menu from ‘Adobe Media Encoder’ to ‘Photoshop Image Sequence’.

04_03

Change the Frame Rate to ‘Custom’ and enter 1 fps.

04_0404_05

Render Video automatically exports all frames, but it is possible to select a group of frames on the Timeline and then export the selected frames only.

Once you’ve finished adding the information you need, click ‘Render’.

04_06

If only a few images have exported, or some have been exported two or more times, check that the frames are all set at 1 sec and that you are also exporting at 1 fps.

This is a very quick walkthrough of the process, so please let me know if you think there’s something I haven’t covered. Ask any questions below!

Advertisements

One thought on “Tutorial: Storyboarding in Photoshop

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: