For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

No. 92, Using Storyboard Pro with Scanned Images

Screenshot of the You Tube screen.  For the video, see link below.

Storyboard True Believer

I am now a true believer in making full use of the storyboard stage of production. To fail to do this is simply foolish, as so many important questions can be resolved at this stage, avoiding mistakes and wasted work at the animation stage.

There are excellent tutorials by Mark Simon and others showing how Toon Boom Storyboard Pro (SBP) works when the artist does all his or her drawing within the application, but less has been said about the artist like me who prefers scanning drawings done on paper. Here is some information from that viewpoint.

Here is a link to the sequence I have been working on; if you are following this blog, you may recognize characters discussed in some of my recent posts.

As discussed in my blog post No. 87, I like to draw on half-sheets of used animation paper.  (See the post here for a review of that.) I put them up on my pinup wall and study them for continuity of action, clarity and strong characterization before committing them to the scanner and SBP.

In the case of the sequence just scanned, I was able to add voices for three of the characters: the busybody woman whom I call Miss Hopegood, the Old Man, and the little girl crying. The third of those was found in a sound effects library, while the first two are original recordings made with my Zoom H1 digital mini recorder, an amazing and economical device the size of a small TV remote.

The ZOOM H1 Recorder, with an American 25-cent piece for scale.

I processed the resulting WAV files in Adobe Sound Booth, deleting unwanted portions and modifying the sound quality as desired. As I am not a trained sound engineer, some of the technical settings for the sound files are a bit beyond my understanding, so I generally settled for the default settings. But those turned out to be good enough, especially as this is actually a "scratch" track, or a sound track which may be later replaced with a more sophisticated version.

Additionally, I was able to find recordings of airport terminal background noise, which adds greatly to the ambience of the whole sequence.

Still to be added are such specific sound effects as walking and the beeping of an electric trolley.

Is a Digital Storyboard an Animatic?

And, while this digital storyboard can now be called an animatic in that the scenes are timed to simulate the timing of the proposed final cut, there are many more effects of transition and movement of the camera and layers that can be added to increase the approximation of the animatic to the final film experience. An animatic is often also a working, malleable document which, with the gradual replacement of storyboard frames with actual rough animation and then finished animation, will eventually metamorphose over time into the final production.


  1. Oh!, I really like that wee poor business woman.
    I rather think this is a funny short film. Great work!
    I just have a question about it, if I'm permitted.
    I'm just here wondering why did you, right in the beginning, have the old man come in straight, then, turn it 3/4, and then zoom to his face from a diagonal.
    Won't that be harder to do, or is it a cut?

    That old man is cheeky! I like it

    1. Thanks, Rafael. A good question about the change of angle on a zoom. Yes, that would be hard to do, and not logical. But as you suspected, it is indeed a cut to the full front closeup. The next two frames are also cuts, jumping in closer and closer to his eye which then morphs into the luggage wheel. (His head will also be moving up and down as he trudges along.)

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Varun. I do appreciate your feedback.