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Top 10 Storyboard Softwares for Animators in 2024

Rory Shorter
Rory Shorter, Creative Content Editor
Updated

As the world of animation continues to evolve, so does the technology that supports it. Storyboard software is a big deal now, changing how animators work.

These new tools range from AI-driven storyboards to 3D suites. They're all about making creating easier, boosting how much you can do, and helping teams work together. For any animator, finding the best storyboard software is really important.

Here, we've picked out the top 10 storyboard tools for animators in 2024. They've all got their own special features. So, let's jump in and explore the future of animation.

1. Boords

AI Character Creator Boords 2024-03-06 at 3.53.34 PM

Boords, a cutting-edge storyboard software, is equipped with an AI storyboard generator. This dynamic feature transforms scripts into vivid visuals, encapsulating a variety of scenes, angles, and character actions. It acts as a virtual assistant, laying out the foundational elements of your animation and freeing you to concentrate on the creative aspects of your project.

The process is streamlined, saving time and enabling clear articulation of your artistic vision. As such, Boords becomes an essential asset for filmmakers and animators, assisting in the realization of their narratives.

The software's AI storyboard generator allows for rapid transformation of your script to storyboard. It eradicates the need for drawing, creating storyboards from straightforward text prompts. This feature enables you to generate a complete storyboard script from a single story online, within seconds.

Boords includes a text-to-image feature, which uses AI to convert your script into engaging visuals. A unique character guidelines feature is also included, allowing for consistent character representation across frames, based on your specifications.

Boords also provides the capability to transform storyboards into animatics, complete with subtitles and sound. The integrated timeline allows for editing of frame timings, making it an ideal tool for conveying your creative vision.

The software is designed with collaboration in mind, offering features such as the ability to download and export your storyboards as presentation-ready PDFs, PNGs, and MP4 animatics. A shareable link allows secure sharing of storyboards and animatics for feedback. Boords also includes a simple versioning feature, enabling easy saving and comparison of storyboard versions for quick iterations, with a comprehensive change history.

To sum up, Boords is a user-friendly yet powerful tool that merges a straightforward interface with professional features, establishing it as the preferred storyboard software for animators and filmmakers.

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2. Panelforge

panelforge

PanelForge offers an innovative approach to storyboarding and animatic creation, integrating drawing, 3D layout, and editing into a streamlined process. This software is designed for both professionals and enthusiasts, providing a powerful yet user-friendly platform for animation production.

At the core of PanelForge is its 3D layout feature, which provides a virtual stage for animators to design and position characters within an environment, enhancing the visual storytelling process. This feature not only adds depth to the storyboard but also simplifies the transition to animation, making the production process more efficient.

In addition to its 3D layout feature, PanelForge offers a 2D drawing canvas for sketching action sequences. This feature allows users to create traditional storyboard aesthetics with flat sketches or layers of custom-made characters and effects.

PanelForge also provides various options for exporting and sharing completed storyboards. Users can export their work as a video, PDF, PNG, Animation cache, Edit XML, Project XML, and Autodesk, offering flexibility in sharing their creations.

3. Blender

blender

Blender, a free and open-source 3D creation suite, is an excellent alternative for storyboard software due to its versatility in export options. It supports the complete 3D pipeline, from modeling and rigging to animation and rendering, making it an all-in-one solution for animators. Blender's ability to export in various formats such as video, PDF, PNG, Animation cache, Edit XML, Project XML, and Autodesk, allows animators to share their work conveniently and efficiently.

Blender's diverse export capabilities are a significant advantage, often overlooked. It enables animators to share their creations in numerous formats, facilitating seamless collaboration and review processes. This versatility eliminates file compatibility issues, streamlines the production process, and enhances workflow efficiency.

Blender is cross-platform, running equally well on Linux, Windows, and Macintosh computers, and uses OpenGL for a consistent interface. It is a community-driven project under the GNU General Public License (GPL), empowering the public to make changes to the code base, leading to new features, responsive bug fixes, and improved usability.

Blender's 3D viewport allows direct drawing, providing unprecedented workflow freedom for story-boarders and 2D artists. Its Grease Pencil object allows drawing in the 3D space, useful for traditional 2D animation, cut-out animation, motion graphics, or as a storyboard tool. It has several modes for editing and sculpting, and supports full animation with onion skinning.

4. Frameforge

FrameForge Storyboards 1600x copy

FrameForge brings the on-set experience into pre-production with its unique simulation feature. This distinctive aspect allows animators to previsualize their scenes through virtual cameras, providing a more authentic understanding of the scene compared to traditional methods like forced perspective or drawing tricks. The result is an efficient solution to creative and technical challenges.

Designed with user-friendliness in mind, Frameforge empowers even non-technical filmmakers to dive in quickly, maintaining their focus on the project's creative and technical aspects. One of its key offerings includes data-rich storyboards, which, when printed and distributed, serve as valuable guides during pre-production and on set. These storyboards offer detailed camera information, thereby enlightening the crew on not just the shot's appearance, but also its execution.

The software also provides a feature to construct sets to precise measurements, complete with pre-made sets for use. Users can enrich their sets by adding elements like doors, windows, and furniture. FrameForge further enhances this experience with a Blueprint View for a top-down perspective of the set, and a multi-camera interface for experimenting with various angles and framing.

Lastly, FrameForge equips users with a Shot Manager for viewing, rearranging, editing, or adding motion arrows to shots. The software also supports script import from various word-processing programs. In essence, FrameForge is a holistic tool for animators, designed to amplify both the animation process and the final output.

5. Plot

Plot

Plot is a storyboard software tool developed with animators, filmmakers, and creative teams in mind. Its standout feature is the ability to facilitate collaboration amongst unlimited team members and clients. This is not merely a sharing tool but a platform that allows each team member to actively contribute to the creative process, regardless of their professional background.

This software tool encourages an efficient feedback loop, fostering a dynamic creative environment. It allows for real-time input, which not only improves the quality of animations but also accelerates project timelines. This innovative approach to collaboration redefines the way filmmakers work together, positioning Plot as an indispensable tool in the contemporary animation industry.

Plot is engineered to create storyboards quickly and without complications. Users can add scripts, insert images, collaborate, and export a perfectly formatted storyboard with a single click. It provides various pricing options to accommodate different needs and budgets.

6. Toon Boom

Storyboard Pro

Toon Boom revolutionizes the animation process with its integrated drawing engine. The engine permits artists to simultaneously utilize vector and bitmap, providing a unique blend of flexibility and precision. This is further enhanced by a responsive brush tool that mimics a real brush and features such as texture addition and line modification, facilitating the creation of intricate and lively storyboards.

A key component of Toon Boom, Storyboard Pro, enables script integration from any source, maintaining story alignment throughout the animation process. It simplifies scene breakdowns, naming, and captions by automatically generating a storyboard from an imported script.

The drawing engine in Storyboard Pro extends the limits of creativity. It includes a rich library of rulers, guides, and grids for accuracy, and supports the creation of complex images with multiple layers, texture shading, transparency, and overlays.

The timeline editing feature of Storyboard Pro sequences panels, forming the foundation for your animatic. It allows for scene timing adjustments, addition of transitions, timing of camera animation, and animation of each layer within a panel.

Sound editing and effects are seamlessly integrated into Storyboard Pro. The software allows for the addition of multiple soundtracks, recording of temporary tracks, linking of any audio clip to storyboard panels, and adjusting audio levels. It also supports the export of the entire sequence in a variety of formats and quality levels.

7. Storyboarder.ai

storyboarder ai

Storyboarder.ai is an innovative, AI-powered tool designed to streamline the storyboarding process. Developed from the insights of experienced filmmakers, this cloud-based platform addresses the need for quick storyboard creation. It functions by allowing users to upload a script or pitch paper, which the AI then converts into a detailed shotlist.

Users have full control over the resulting images, with the option to edit and customize the shotlist as desired. Once completed, the storyboard can be exported as a PDF, making it easier to share with the production team. Despite its many advantages, Storyboarder.ai does have some limitations. It only supports scripts in PDF format and does not include voiceover capabilities.

It lacks a Character Guidelines feature, which would ensure consistent character representation, and it doesn't provide a comprehensive suite of features such as automatic storyboard-to-animatic conversion, integrated timeline editing, and fast iteration versioning.

Regardless of these limitations, Storyboarder.ai remains a valuable tool for animators, creative freelancers, and agencies. It offers three different plans tailored to various user requirements, helping them to rapidly bring their stories to the screen.

8. Canva

Templates 2024-03-06 at 3.26.01 PM

Canva makes storyboarding easy with its huge collection of pictures, icons, and drawings. Animators can quickly show their ideas using these images. This speeds up storyboarding and helps share ideas better. It's really useful early in animation projects, when you need to share and get the okay for ideas fast.

Canva doesn't have things like camera directions or voiceovers that other storyboard software might have. But it's easy to use and has a free storyboard maker. This is great for working with others and showing clients your work, even if it means a bit more effort in storyboarding.

Making a storyboard in Canva is step-by-step. You start the app, look through templates, check out features, customize your storyboard, and then share it. You can easily add titles, subtitles, and text. You can also make important parts stand out by making them bold, underlined, or italic.

Canva is good for working together because you can edit the storyboard with others in real time, from anywhere. This makes it handy for group work. Even with some missing features, Canva's storyboard creator is useful for animators. It helps with showing ideas clearly and working well as a team.

9. Celtx

Celtx

Celtx, a comprehensive pre-production software, provides an array of robust storyboarding tools for users at all stages of animation. Users can swiftly create polished storyboard tiles, either by uploading existing images or sketches, or by utilizing the software's drawing tools. To aid in the creation process, Celtx features a vast library of categorized illustrations, such as furniture and figures.

Beyond its storyboarding capabilities, Celtx bridges the gap between script and storyboard with an intuitive navigation function. This feature ensures that storyboard frames align accurately with the script's action. Additionally, each frame provides a space to add critical filming details such as frame, angle, focal length, camera movement, and equipment, ensuring animators have all the necessary details at their fingertips.

Despite its professional-grade features, Celtx maintains a user-friendly interface, making it accessible to beginners. It offers a 7-day free trial, followed by affordable monthly plans at $22.49, ensuring its accessibility to a wide range of users.

The Celtx online Storyboard Creator serves as a powerful pre-visualization tool. This feature translates an animator's vision into a detailed outline for the pre-production crew, facilitating image uploads, note additions, shot definitions, and sequence arrangements via drag and drop, thereby transforming scripts into visual stories.

10. Krock.io

Krock.io

The most compelling aspect of Krock.io for animators is its AI storyboard tool, which automatically generates storyboards from CSV data. This may be a hindrance for some animators in their storyboarding process as it requires you to structure your storyboard in a CSV file first before it can transform your data into a storyboard using AI.

However, it allows easy image uploads and customization of frame details. The software allows for structured feedback and real-time collaboration, enhancing the creation process. It supports various styles, from minimalist to hyper-realistic, and allows easy PDF export for sharing.

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