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For any video or film project, animated or live action, a storyboard is basically a technically-precise comic book adaptation of the script, used for planning purposes. It shows the shots in a film or episode in sequence, as a plan for blocking, types of shots, angles, or composition. Usually broken down by scene, and often done on individual file cards so they can be rearranged to suit, then reprinted as a book for use on set. They are an absolute requirement for animation, and are in common use in most live action films.

Storyboards can range from very simple sketches to extremely detailed layouts; Hayao Miyazaki has been known to sit down and draw all the storyboards for his films himself, in order, playing back the movie that already exists in his head. If the storyboard drawings are arranged as a timed slideshow synced to the audio track (recorded first in most Western Animation) it forms a crude 'animatic', and this might show up in the DVD bonus features as a deleted scene; most scenes are cut before final animation is done for either story or budget reasons.

In the industry, the storyboarding process can go through a number of stages: the artists start out with initial rough sketches which are often drafted on post-it notes. These sketches are then attached to a wall or board (hence the term story-board) so they can be easily swapped and rearranged during pitching. Once the drafts are approved, the artists will produce a much cleaner version of the full board, ready to be used as a guide for the rest of the animation crew. Although storyboards were originally drawn on paper, the emergence of computer software has now allowed artists to produce their boards digitally. Revisionists are brought in to tidy up any loose ends.

Notable storyboard artists:

Please do not add examples to work pages, this merely defines the term.