Digital Video, creator of the cel animation software Toonz, has released Story Planner and Story Planner Pro. The new application is a tool for creating storyboards with graphical and textual information, and generating animatics with soundtrack and animations.

The software was developed based on the suggestions of expert storyboard artists’, according to Digital Video. Story Planner is a fundamental management tool to facilitate the creative thinking process simplifying the workflow in cinema, advertising, animation and video games industries, and is designed to increase the production speed, saving time and costing.

Story Planner costs €49 (around £34), and allows a streamlined creation of a storyboard with sketches and notes laid out in an unlimited number of panels describing the flow of the story. Sketches can be created with a full set of raster-based drawing tools, or any image can be imported; captions and notes can be added and formatted. The story flow can be quickly organized in panels and scenes; camera movements and other graphical elements can be used to define actions in the scenes. Storyboards can be printed out, or exported as PDF files, according to a custom page layout.

Story Planner Pro costs €395 (£277), and adds to the standard features the possibility to compose complex animatics in a timeline editor. Moreover, the timeline controls the animation of the camera and of graphical elements placed in sketch layers. Audio tracks can be added and edited to create a sound track in sync with the animatic, and fade and dissolve transitions can be used. After a real-time preview, the animatic can be generated with a single-click command.

Both versions are available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X running on both PowerPC and Intel processors.