Company: Digital Video
Pros: Easy to use; layers and camera moves can be animated; timeline-based editing and transitions; SWF and QuickTime animatic export; audio clip and image file-import facility.
Cons: Limited file import and export options compared to competition; limited content-creation and editing tools.
Story Planner Pro offers a quick way to break the story behind an animation or video sequence down into key scenes.
Once you have a script in place, you can depict the action in the various scenes in a series of panels, each with a sketch area and room for scene info, dialogue, notes and music or effects. Camera moves and actions in the scene, represented by arrows, can be used to further define each shot. Once assembled, the finished storyboard can be printed using one of the supplied templates, saved as a PDF or output as an animatic in Flash or QuickTime movie format.
Starting a new project involves specifying the canvas size, and the intended camera resolution and aspect ratio. As well as defining the pixel resolution of sketches and the aspect ratio of animatics, this initial information is reused if you export the scenes directly to Digital Video’s animation software Toonz.
You can display the storyboard in a variety of views, including as a single panel with a row of thumbnails below, or in grid arrangements. Each scene can be made up of several panels, with different configurations of cropped corners serving as a quick identifier for where scenes begin and end. Specialized buttons make adding panels and scenes an easy operation.
Text support for both sketch area and panel boxes allows you the use of different fonts to jazz up the dialogue and there is a range of basic brush and eraser tools for content creation. These can be controlled via a pressure-sensitive tablet and pen. A colour swatch is available, but you can only access four colours from the quick palette at one time.