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Why Creating Animation Boards Is Essential For Freelancers

ben marvazi 2020

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Understanding how animation boards work is very important if you’re a freelance animator or studio owner who communicates your vision and ideas to clients and collaborators. Animation boards can also save you time and money in the long run. 

You are probably wondering, what exactly is an animation board? And what are the benefits of using them? We’ll give an overview of all the reasons why animation boards are essential and explain how they can help freelancers to estimate the time and budget needed for a project, and to identify any potential problems early on. 

Overall, animation boards serve as a valuable tool for freelancers to effectively plan and execute their animation projects.

What Are Animation Boards?

What Are Animation Boards? Loose pencil sketches of an animation story

GIF by Alex Boya via GIPHY

In a nutshell, an animation board is a visual representation of your animation story. They are also known as storyboards and tell the story, characters, and settings of an animation project. 

Animation boards are used to plan out the pacing and flow of the animation video and also used to organize the various elements of the story. Animation boards typically consist of a series of illustrations or sketches that depict the key scenes in the animation, along with notes and captions that describe the action, dialogue, and camera movements. 

So who are animation boards used by? A number of people! Mostly by animators and directors, but also other members of the animation team to plan and organize the animation production process. 

They can be done in a traditional hand-drawn format or digitally using storyboarding software. Animation boards are an essential tool in the pre-production process of animation.

Why Animation Boards Are Important

Why Animation Boards Are Important, south park character saying it is really important

GIF by Southpark via Tenor

Animation boards are a visual aid for the animation process. They allow you to communicate your ideas to clients and ensure that you stay true to your vision.

Animation boards are an essential part of any animation project, whether you're working with a client or tackling freelance projects on your own. They allow you to communicate your ideas and ensure that you stay true to them as the project progresses.

How To Use Animation Boards

How To Use Animation Boards, sloth welcoming tourists saying they will be their guide

GIF by Spiderbat36 via Tenor

Use them as a guide. An animation board is not a script, but it can help you organize your thoughts and keep track of key elements. This can be particularly helpful if you're working with other people on the project and need to be clear about what parts of the story are yours—and which parts belong to someone else's area of expertise.

Use them to manage your time and resources, especially if you're working alone or in small groups where there aren't many people around who have specific skills that are needed for a project. Creating an animation board helps you stay focused on what needs attention now so that you don't waste time getting distracted by other things that aren't related directly to what needs to be done right now (which is often all too easy in freelancing).

Use them as guides when making decisions about how much time should be spent on different sections within each scene or sequence during development stages; for example, do certain areas need more detail than others? Do characters’ movements make sense according to their personalities?

Animation Boards Help With The Creation Process

Animation Boards Help With The Creation Process, The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo playing rock paper scissors

GIF by reddit via GIPHY

Animation Boards Help with the Creation Process:

Planning and organization

Animation boards provide a visual representation of the story, characters, and settings, and allow the animation team to plan out the pacing and flow of the animation. This helps ensure that all the key elements of the story are included and that the animation is coherent and well-structured.


Animation boards serve as a common language between the animation team members, and between the team and the client. They provide a way for the team to share and discuss the creative vision for the animation.


By visualizing the animation in advance, animation boards allow the team to identify and address any potential issues or problems early on in the production process.

Time and budget management

Animation boards help the team estimate the time and budget required for the animation, and to plan out the production schedule accordingly.

Animation reference

Animation boards also serve as a reference for the animators during the animation process, providing a guide for the final animation.

Animation Boards Are Helpful For Clarity

Animation Boards Are Helpful For Clarity, Yoda asking if you seek clarity

GIF by KyleCombs via Tenor

Animation boards help you to focus on the most important parts of your story. When you create animation boards, it's easy to get stuck in the weeds and try to figure out every single detail of your project before you even start. 

You may end up spending hours trying to nail down some details that aren't even that important! Animation boards will help you prioritize what is essential for delivering a great product so that you can focus on the core parts of the story and make sure they're covered well (and not everything else).

Animation boards also give us a clear idea of how we want our project to flow visually. This is helpful because often times we don't know exactly how things are going to look or feel until after we've already started working on them—and sometimes even then it can feel like an uphill battle trying to find answers about where things need improvement or refinement until after they've been completed! 

By using animation boards early on during production, we can ensure that all aspects of our visual storytelling align with our overall vision for what kind of experience each scene should deliver—which ultimately makes our clients happy (because their customers will love it too).

Animation Boards Can Save You From Yourself

Animation Boards Can Save You From Yourself, penguin character tapping a page reading 'need save'

GIF by dlp3273 via Tenor

When you're used to working with a team, it can be overwhelming to suddenly be the only person responsible for your craft. And if you've ever freelanced before, then you know how easy it is to overcommit yourself and get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks in front of you. Animation boards are a great way to help prevent that from happening.

They allow you to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper (or screen) so you can see just how much work each project truly entails—and whether or not you can actually complete everything you’ve committed yourself to do as part of that project. 

This will help you avoid overcommitting yourself or under-committing on any given task—and instead do exactly what needs doing at exactly the right time so that you stay on track throughout production without burning out along the way!

Animation Boards Create Opportunities For Negotiations

Animation Boards Create Opportunities For Negotiations, Homer Simpson approaching a man to negotiate

GIF by simpsonsworld via GIPHY

When you create animation boards, you’re presenting your vision to the client. You’re showing them what they can expect from your project and how it will look when complete. This gives them an idea of how much effort has gone into the project so far and also shows off your skills as a designer.

This is crucial because it will give you better control over any future negotiations with the client. If they want something to be changed later on in production, then it should be easy for them to see where else in their budget or time frame these changes could come from without affecting other parts of the project too much.

You can also explain why certain scenes are important for your storyboard; if someone doesn’t get what makes each scene meaningful, then it may end up being cut from production anyway!

Animation Boards Demonstrate Your Expertise

It is important to show your client that you know what you are doing and have done this before. This will help them feel more confident in your abilities, as well as put their mind at ease knowing that they can trust you with their project. It also shows them that you are organized, professional and confident in your abilities.

Animation Boards Give You Important Information

Animation Boards Give You Important Information, information pouring into mans head

GIF by A4Mode via Tenor

After going through the process of creating an animation board, you’ll know exactly how much time, resources, and money you’ll need to set aside to complete a project.

Animation boards are a useful tool for freelancers and clients alike. If you’re the one hiring someone to create your animation, it helps to have an idea of what kind of production process is required to get the job done. And if you’re the one creating animations for others, it’s important that you know how much time and resources will be needed so that both parties can agree on expectations from the beginning. 

Animation boards help make sure that both sides are clear about what needs to be done in order to complete a project successfully.

Animation Boards Are A Great Tool for Every Animator

Animation boards help you plan better, but they also make it easier for others to understand what’s going on! This can save time and money down the line because everyone knows exactly what they need to do. 

Plus, they give you peace of mind knowing that everything is running smoothly as well as making sure no details have been missed along the way (which could happen if there weren’t any animation boards!). 

For more information about graphic design in animation, as well as answers to any other questions you might have, be sure to follow our blogs, check out our free masterclass, and our Animation Business Accelerator Program, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!

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