3D animatics are very good for roughing out camera angles and motion, whereas 2D animatics help bring the focus back to the character (eyelines, facial expressions, emotion, interaction) much better. To get back to the feeling of the movie, I wanted to do 2D animatics and focus on what the character was doing, but still have a way of roughing out and testing shots.
Each shot was done as one or many drawings either on paper/tracing paper or in gimp, with the backgrounds seperated into layers, allowing for limited animation in the sequencer. For tricky shots I resorted to UV projection of sketches onto blocky objects in seperate blend files. Then I edited everything together in the sequence editor. For speed, I kept a bunch of the old 3D animatic shots around, since they didn’t have to be redone.
To rough out the shots in 3D I built a ‘blueprint set’- a sort of 3D proxy in blender, and a simple 3D block character. Then I linked these into a blend file with one scene and 2 screens: sequencer and 3D view. ctrl-arrowing allowed me to tab back and forth.
I wanted to place a new camera at each shot and use a camera changer script. Unfortunately, the existing camera switcher from project orange no longer worked, and I wrote a new one- at first it had very bad performance, until I realized that blender often skips frames while scrubbing: you can’t just look for a marker at the current frame, you have to look for the most recent marker before and up to the present. This worked really well, so I added a button in python that added a camera at the current viewport with the typed name and a marker at the current time. this allowed me to go back and forth quickly from set to storyboard, adding cameras for each shot.
In case you’d like them, here are the scripts: add_shot.py and camswitch.py
More shots from the storyboard/animatic have been added to the media gallery.