Whether it’s an animation film, television show, movie, or commercial, storyboarding serves as an essential foundation for the success of your project. It provides a sneak peek of the outcome before bringing everything to life. An animation storyboard is a visual guideline of your animation, outlining characters, settings, actions, and character dialogue that will breathe life into your story.

Mastering the art of storyboarding is fundamental to the creative journey as a solid storyboard streamlines the complex animation process and maintains organisation simply by understanding how to craft an animation storyboard template. This allows a smooth and established workflow for both the production team and clients.

This comprehensive guide covers all aspects of animation storyboarding, from essential elements to animation software, such as Adobe Photoshop, highlighting its significance in the storytelling process.

Key takeaways:

  • Storyboards can be traditional hand-drawn sketches or digital creations using software like Storyboard Pro. Each type offers unique benefits depending on the client and production’s needs.
  • The animation storyboard gives visual direction and pace to the production crew. It helps save time and resources when issues are identified in the earlier stage.
  • Storyboard animators should focus on highlighting key moments, working closely with the production crew and client, and continuously refining their drawing and storytelling skills to showcase the emotions and persona of the characters. 

What’s a Storyboard in Animation?

A finished storyboard is a sequence of images that captures the main elements of each scene, offering animators, the production staff and clients a visual of the final animation.

Superpixel’s Mandai Ranger Buddies Ad Campaign Storyboard Image Example
Superpixel’s Mandai Ranger Buddies Ad Campaign Storyboard Image Example

In the pre-production process, the storyboard artists create rough sketches after the storyline, visual references, animation styles, character designs, and full script are written. The animated storyboard outlines the key scene of an animation show or film that should be executed and what it should look like when it’s finished. 

Storyboards are labelled with scene numbers and dialogue notes to show the important parts of the scene. Action notes are added to describe what characters do and how scenes are supposed to look, while camera notes explain their movements and angles. Other important details are also included to keep everything clear and connected during the production phase.

The Importance of Storyboarding 

An animation storyboard provides a clear visual guide for each scene, outlining how it should appear. Without a storyboard, the production crew would need to rely solely on written scripts, which are more complex, open to multiple interpretations and would lack the clear guidance provided by visual references.

Animation storyboard tiles from SuperPixel for Mandai Wildlife Group, demonstrating dialogue, action notes, and shot number.
Animation storyboard tiles from SuperPixel for Mandai Wildlife Group, demonstrating dialogue, action notes, and shot number.

Here are the main reasons to use an animation storyboard:


Helps in visualising the animated film or animation projects before the actual production begins. This allows the creative team to imagine and plan the sequence of events and shots before the actual production begins. Polishing story flow and any necessary adjustments could be done to improve the overall quality of the final product. 


Storyboarding arranges the sequence of scenes, providing a structured layout of the events that will unfold. This enables thorough planning throughout the pre-production, production, and post-production phases, ensuring a seamless flow in the final animation.


Animation storyboards are an essential tool for communication between the director, animators and the production crew, ensuring everyone is on the same page. Moreover, it assures that clients or non-creative individuals understand the project’s direction before production begins.


Storyboarding aligns the whole process, saving time and resources by providing a clear guideline. A clear direction from start to finish helps to prevent misunderstandings, reduces the need for revisions, and minimizes wasted time and resources. This ensures that the production stays on track, from meeting deadlines to staying within budget.


Identification and resolution of potential issues in the early stage could be done with an animation storyboard. By mapping out the sequence of scenes, animators and the production crew can expect and solve any creative or technical challenges as well as address the client’s feedback before starting the production process.


The storyboarding stage provides a platform for exploring creative ideas and experimenting with different camera angles, visual effects, and character movements to showcase their maximum potential. During this creative process, the storyboard artist can explore various approaches and techniques to elevate the quality and impact of the final product, ultimately enhancing the viewing experience for the targeted audience.


Storyboards act as a reference throughout the production process, guiding animators in creating each scene with a clear direction. By referring to the board, artists can maintain consistency in the overall storytelling, from visual style to character movement. This guideline also helps animators to accurately portray the client’s and director’s vision onto the screen.

These key points highlight the crucial role of storyboarding in the animation process, emphasising its significance as a powerful tool for creating successful animation films or projects.

Types of Storyboards

Understanding the different types of storyboards helps to choose the right format for each project. Each type offers unique benefits, such as clear visuals, effective communication, and efficient workflow.

Mastering storyboard types empowers artists to create compelling visual narratives, optimize their creative processes and meet diverse expectations.

Traditional Storyboards:

They consist of still images and are usually hand-drawn on paper with written explanations of what is going on in each scene. The details in traditional storyboards can differ but they can still act as a guide for the animation team. 

While some require basic artistic skills, others require a rough overview to portray the visual flow and key information.

Here’s an animation storyboard example from the animated TV series, Tom & Jerry:

Tom & Jerry Cartoon Storyboard Image Example Souced From Google.
Tom & Jerry Cartoon Storyboard Image Example Souced From Google.

Thumbnail Storyboards:

These rough sketches are used to outline the arrangement and flow of a scene. A thumbnail storyboard is typically used by a small team or even an individual who already has a clear vision of how they wish to visually portray their idea. Due to the small size, they are less detailed which takes a shorter time than traditional storyboards.

Check out this thumbnail storyboard example from the animated film, Wall-E:

Wall-E Animation Film Storyboard Image Example Sourced From Google.
Wall-E Animation Film Storyboard Image Example Sourced From Google.

Digital Storyboards:

Digital storyboards are a modern approach to traditional storyboards. Instead of using the hand-drawn method, this technique uses software that is designated for this purpose. This approach allows easier amendments and editing allowing quick changes and revisions. Digital storyboard includes movement, timing, and audio elements to give a more dynamic preview of the finished product.

3D Digital Storyboard Example by SuperPixel for Pacific Place Mall, Jakarta.
3D Digital Storyboard Example by SuperPixel for Pacific Place Mall, Jakarta.

Every kind of storyboard offers its benefits and is selected depending on factors like the complexity of the animation project, the preferences of the storyboard artist, and the target audience for the storyboard.

Well-known Animation Storyboard Examples

Need more ideas? Check out these great animation storyboard examples made for famous animated series and movies.


Up Storyboard Image Example Taken From Google
Up Storyboard Image Example Taken From Google

Up is a heartwarming animated film about an old guy named Carl Fredricksen who embarks on an adventure to fulfil his lifelong dream of visiting South America’s Paradise Falls. In this storyboard, the artist captures Carl’s emotions as Ellie pins a badge on him through the drawing.

Adventure Time

Adventure Time Cartoon Storyboard Image Example Sourced From Google.
Adventure Time Cartoon Storyboard Image Example Sourced From Google.

Adventure Time is an animated series about Finn and Jake exploring the Land of Ooo. The storyboard shows how the quirky characters are on an adventure for exciting quests. With lively and colourful drawings, it showcases the playful and imaginative side of the show.


Storyboard Image Example Of Transformers Sourced From Google
Storyboard Image Example Of Transformers Sourced From Google

The thrilling and packed action series, Transformers, is about robotic cars in epic battles. This detailed animation storyboard precisely captures how the action scenes should take place and how the crew can capture it effectively while paying attention to small details such as shattering glass, to enhance the overall experience. 

Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series, Storyboard Image Example From Google
Batman: The Animated Series, Storyboard Image Example From Google

Batman: The Animated Series is an animated television series that follows Batman, the iconic superhero, adventure to protect his city. This detailed storyboard shows exactly where Batman enters the scene, how each punch lands (or misses) its target, and where different lighting – like the moon, or spotlights – is used throughout the scene.

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope Storyboard Image Example Taken From Google
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope Storyboard Image Example Taken From Google

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope is a famous sci-fi film about Luke Skywalker’s journey against Darth Vader and the empire. The iconic scenes like lightsaber fights and space battles are carefully drawn in its storyboard to capture the film’s exciting story. 

Tips and Tricks for Storyboard Artists

Next, let’s explore some helpful tips and tricks you can use when creating your animation storyboard template.

Analyse Your Script:

Analysing the script helps capture key scene fundamentals in animation production, and eases how you would envision the workflow. Labelling storyboards provides an organized reference for sketching.

Thumbnails and Angles:

In storyboarding, sketch rough drafts to outline how you would foresee the finished film or final product. Focus on the big picture to enhance imagination and decide on included details for the overall image.

Thumbnails allows you to experiment with camera angles, determining which angles produce the best outcome. They offer a preview of the final result before finalizing the product.

Character’s Persona:

Capturing the character’s persona is crucial in character development. Animators envision the characters through script and voice recording, expressing emotions through facial expressions, body language, and actions seamlessly. This ensures an accurate interpretation of the director, production crew and client’s expectations.

Elaborate any Technical Details:

Precise instructions such as details on how the camera movements and angles are crucial information for animators. For example. Incorporating zooms, pans, tilts or specific transitions into the storyboard enhances its visuals. 

These instructions can be conveyed through notes or arrows to indicate the desired direction, ensuring a smooth narrative flow.

Collect input:

Expect amendments after drafting your initial animation storyboard presentation. Seek feedback from clients and team members, incorporate adjustments, and transition to animation production upon satisfaction. Once your team and clients are satisfied, you can transition from pre-production to animation production.

How to pursue a career as an animation storyboard artist

Becoming an animation storyboard artist requires a blend of artistic, technical, and storytelling skills. It’s important for aspiring artists to first understand the fundamentals of animation and storyboard creation, including the entire production process from pre-production to post-production, as well as the storyboard’s role in it.

Expertise in animation software such as Adobe Photoshop or specialized storyboard tools is essential, as they are commonly utilised in storyboard creation and editing.

Subsequently, an aspiring board artist should practice their drawing skills so that they can effectively portray the movement, emotion, and perspective through the early stage of sketches and storyboard panels. 

An essential aspect of showcasing skills and attracting potential employers is a diverse portfolio. A portfolio that showcases a range of storyboard work, from the initial draft to a finished product.

Lastly, remaining adaptable and versatile to the industry’s evolving demand, trends and techniques is crucial for storyboard artists. Staying updated with developments in animation and storyboard creation ensures relevance and competitiveness in the field.

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Bring Your Animation Vision to Life with Superpixel

If you’re a business or brand aiming to convey your message through animation, it’s crucial to partner with a production company that values impactful storyboarding. This is where Superpixel steps in to assist you.

In SuperPixel, we have a strong and established workflow starting from a solid storyboard. Our team comprises experienced storyboard artists, animators, and designers who grasp the importance of meticulous storyboard planning. By leveraging our expertise, we transform your concepts into vibrant reality, ensuring that your animated film deeply connects with its intended audience.

If you’re ready to bring your story to life, contact us today, and let’s embark on your animation storyboard journey together.