Storyboarding for Animation

What is an animation storyboard?

An animation storyboard is a visual representation of a story, crucial in the pre-production phase of animation. It consists of a series of drawings or illustrations arranged in sequence to depict the key scenes and actions. Each frame or panel in the storyboard represents a specific moment in the narrative, providing a clear visual guide for animators and directors.

The main purpose of an animation storyboard is to map out the story's flow, scene timing, and character positioning. This helps everyone involved in the project understand the storyline and ensures a cohesive final product. By identifying potential issues early, storyboarding saves time and resources during the animation process, ensuring that the final animation is well-structured and engaging for the audience.

Who creates animation storyboards?

Directors use storyboards to visualize the narrative and ensure seamless story flow.


Animators rely on storyboards for understanding sequences and maintaining consistency in character movements.


Producers use storyboards to plan resources and keep the project on schedule and within budget.


Writers create storyboards to translate scripts into visual elements, ensuring their words unfold correctly on screen.


Editors use storyboards to plan cuts and transitions, enhancing the narrative flow.

Marketing and PR Specialists

Marketing and PR specialists use storyboards to create compelling promotional content for the animation project.

Short history of animation storyboards.

Early 20th Century

  • 1920s: The concept of storyboarding began to take shape at the Walt Disney Studio. It is often credited to Webb Smith, who started pinning up drawings in sequence on a bulletin board to visualize the flow of a story.


  • 1933: The first complete storyboards were used for the Disney short film "Three Little Pigs." This innovation helped streamline the animation process by allowing animators to see a visual representation of the story before production.
  • 1937: Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" became the first full-length animated feature film created using detailed storyboards. This practice set a new standard in the industry.


  • Storyboarding became a standard practice in animation studios worldwide. Studios like Warner Bros. and MGM adopted the technique for their animated shorts and feature films.


  • 1960s: Television animation also began using storyboarding extensively, notably in shows like "The Flintstones" and "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" produced by Hanna-Barbera.
  • 1970s: The practice continued to evolve with the advent of more sophisticated and complex TV animation and the early beginnings of computer-generated imagery (CGI).


  • 1980s: Studios such as Don Bluth Productions and Disney continued to refine storyboarding techniques. Storyboarding was crucial in the pre-production phases of now-classic films like "The Secret of NIMH" and "The Little Mermaid."
  • 1990s: The rise of CGI animation, led by studios like Pixar, still relied heavily on storyboarding. "Toy Story" (1995), the first fully CGI-animated feature film, utilized extensive storyboarding to plan out sequences.


  • 2000s: The use of digital tools revolutionized storyboarding. The newly introduced storyboarding software allowed storyboard artists to create, edit, and share their work more efficiently.
  • 2010s-2022: The technique continues to be essential in both traditional and digital animation. Storyboarding is now integrated with pre-visualization processes and other digital tools and AI to create detailed animatics, which combine storyboard images with rough animation and sound to give a better sense of the final product.
  • 2022- Present: transformed storyboarding with AI, automating tasks and ensuring consistency in characters and scenes. This tool integrates with digital workflows, boosting efficiency and creativity for animators.

Storyboarding remains a foundational element of the animation production process, continually evolving with technological advancements while maintaining its core purpose of visual storytelling.

The Challenges of Traditional Storyboarding

Visualizing the Script

Translating a written script into a visual format can be challenging. Storyboarding helps storyboard creators and the rest of the team see how scenes will unfold, making it easier to understand the narrative flow and the pacing of the story.

Timing and Pacing

Ensuring that scenes have the correct timing and pacing is crucial in animation. Storyboards allow creators to map out the timing of each scene and adjust the pacing to maintain viewer engagement and convey the story effectively.

Continuity and Consistency

Maintaining continuity and consistency in character actions, settings, and overall visual style can be difficult. Storyboards provide a visual reference that helps keep these elements consistent throughout the production.

Communicating Ideas

Conveying complex visual ideas and actions to a team can be challenging. Storyboards serve as a common visual language that all team members can understand, facilitating better communication and collaboration.

Identifying Potential Issues

Potential problems with the narrative, shot composition, or scene transitions can be hard to spot in the script stage. Storyboarding allows creators to identify and address these issues early in the production process, saving time and resources.

Scene Composition and Framing

Determining the best way to frame shots and compose scenes can be a challenge. Storyboards allow artists to experiment with different compositions and framing techniques before committing to final animations. Resource Allocation: Planning and allocating resources effectively is crucial in

Resource Allocation

Planning and allocating resources effectively is crucial in animation production. Storyboards help producers and directors visualize the scope of each scene, making it easier to allocate resources such as time, budget, and manpower efficiently.

Animating Complex Sequences

Complex action sequences or intricate movements can be difficult to animate without a clear plan. Storyboards break down these sequences into manageable parts, providing a clear roadmap for animators to follow.

Client and Stakeholder Approval

Getting approval from clients or stakeholders can be a lengthy process. Storyboards provide a visual representation of the project, making it easier for clients and stakeholders to understand the vision and provide feedback before the animation process begins.

Visualizing the Script

Experimenting with different ideas and concepts can be risky and time-consuming. Storyboards allow creators to quickly sketch out and test various ideas, making it easier to explore creative options without investing significant time and resources.

By addressing these challenges, Katalist streamlines the animation production process enhances communication, ensures consistency, and ultimately contributes to the creation of a more polished and effective final product.

Get Started for Free

How to Storyboard for Animation with Katalist

1. Get Started for Free

  • Visit to sign up and start your journey into seamless storyboarding.

Get Started for Free

2. Create a New Project

  • Use Katalist's AI Script Assistant to generate a complete, professional-level script from a description or an idea.
  • Alternatively, import your existing script in formats like FDX, CSV, PDF, or DOCX.
  • Select the aspect ratio and choose animation as the art style to set the tone for your project.

3. Convert Script to Storyboard

  • Utilize Katalist’s AI Storyboard Generator to automatically convert your script into detailed storyboards.
  • This feature saves you time and ensures accuracy, providing a strong foundation for your animation project.

4. Edit the Generated Shots

  • Use Generative Fill to add objects or items into your storyboard.
  • Control the exact posture of characters to match your vision.
  • Edit prompts and regenerate shots to achieve the perfect scenes for your project.

5. Customize Characters

  • Upload a photo of your character, and Katalist will transform it into a main character with just one click, seamlessly integrating it into your storyboard.

6. Control Camera Angles and Shots

  • Use Katalist’s professional-level control features to adjust camera angles, shots, and poses, ensuring that your visual story matches your creative vision.

7. Review and Refine

  • Go through your storyboard to review the narrative flow, timing, and pacing.
  • Preview the storyboard in presentation mode to get a better look and feel of the complete picture.
  • Make adjustments as necessary to perfect the storyboard before moving into the animation phase.

8. Collaborate in Real-Time

  • Share and edit storyboards seamlessly with your team using Katalist’s enhanced collaboration features.
  • Real-time collaboration ensures that everyone stays on the same page and can contribute effectively.

By following these steps, you can efficiently create detailed, professional storyboards that enhance your animation project, streamline your workflow, and foster creative collaboration.

Get Started for Free

Using Katalist for Storyboarding in Animation

AI Script Assistant

Generate complete, professional-level scripts from a description or an idea. Say goodbye to writer’s block.

Script Import

Import your scripts in various formats, including FDX, CSV, PDF, or DOCX. We’ve got you covered.

AI Script to Storyboard Generator

Automatically convert your scripts into detailed storyboards, saving time and ensuring accuracy.

Consistency in Characters and Scenes

Maintain continuity with automated tools that ensure consistent character designs and scene layouts.

Custom Character

Upload a single photo of a character, and Katalist will transform it into your main character with one click.

Enhanced Collaboration

Collaborate in real-time with your team, sharing and editing storyboards seamlessly.

Professional Level Control

Control camera angles, shots, and poses to create a visual story that fits your ultimate vision.

Choose Katalist AI for your storyboarding needs and experience a new level of creativity, efficiency, and collaboration in your animation projects.

Get Started for Free