Creating a storyboard to film using AKVIS Sketch

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Tutorial: AKVIS Sketch

Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard


The author of this tutorial is T. Skaarup.

This tutorial was created using the AKVIS Sketch plug-in with the Adobe PhotoShop photo editor.

Motion Pictures, TV Commercials, You-Tube Videos, Music Videos, Stage Plays, and other productions that require extensive planning often use "Storyboards". Storyboards are similar to very basic "comic books" of the action with a few important differences.


  1. Take into account the POV (Point-of-View) of the Camera or Audience. The location and motion of the camera is represented. This helps the Cinematographer map out the course of the filming. It also helps determine if a crane, rail, hand-truck, or gyro-stabilizer will be needed.
  2. Take into account the necessary motion of the Actors or Props. This helps the Director tell the story without words. Storyboards can be very a powerful tool when used correctly.
  3. State the dialogue that needs to spoken during the Scene. Helps determine what is essential for the story and prevents mistakes such as making the actors speak dialogue while running, climbing, dancing, etc.
  4. Are black-and-white. Color is only used when an item in the scene absolutely requires (for the story) to have a color. When the color is not stated it gives the Set Designers, Costumer Designers, Prop Department and others a greater amount of freedom. When a color is given in the Storyboard then that color is essential to the story.
  5. Are Low-Resolution. The images should clearly convey the action in the scene. But the Storyboard image should not overpower the story itself. Clear and Simple images are the best.

AKVIS Sketch can dramatically simplify and speed up the process of creating a storyboard by using low-resolution digital camera images to create the Storyboard scenes.

Final Storyboard Mock-Up Page
  • Step 1. Plan out the necessary locations, scenes, motion and dialogue of your story. Once you have determined the story you want to tell try to reduce it into still images and then consider the motion. Try to put the story into a linear time-frame as it appears to the audience. Using a blank Storyboard page to scribble on can be helpful. You’ll find that you will change how you tell your story when you use a digital camera to walk through the major scenes by taking pictures.

    Here are some images (shown in the order they were taken) of two friends who want to get together after school to play piano.

    Original photos for storyboard
  • Step 2. Import your individual images into Adobe Photoshop. Now compress the images to a small size (about 20% the original size), in this case, about 975 pixels wide (Image -> Image Size). Compression is done to purposefully lose detail that would distract from the essential purpose of the scene.
    Calling the menu Image Size
  • Step 3. Create a new layer and add annotation arrows and text if necessary. Arrows can be found in the Custom Shape Tool. Open the Custom Shape Tool.
    Selection Custom Shape Tool

    The Tool menu bar will show the currently selected shape. Click on the little drop menu which appears next to the Shape representation . Choose one of these arrows. Set the foreground color to a neutral gray. Draw an arrow using the Custom Shape Tool. Make the tip of the arrow slightly smaller and asymmetric using the Edit -> Transform -> Distort.

    Changing the shape of arrows
  • Step 4. Set the foreground color to black. On this arrow use the Text tool to write the word "follow" in a hand script font such as Mistral. Merge the top two layers so that the arrow and text are on the same layer.
    Adding text
  • Step 5. Apply a light effect to this layer by using Filter -> Render -> Lighting Effects.
    Adding lighting effect

    Set the foreground color to black. Now apply an outline of the arrow by using a outline stroke of 3 pixels Edit -> Stroke. Lighting effects give the arrow a sense of hand-drawn character and distinguish them from background images.

    Flatten the image.

    Ready-color image
  • Step 6. Use AKVIS Sketch to convert it to a black-and-white sketch (Filter -> AKVIS -> Sketch). Use the following settings:
    Settings Panel in AKVIS Sketch

    Use similar steps to annotate and convert the remaining images. Save these final JPEG images under a unique name for easy retrieval.

    Transform photos into a sketch
  • Step 7. Open the AKVIS Storyboard Template in Adobe Photoshop. Save it under a new name so that modifications do not alter the original template.

    The placeholders for the sketch in the Storyboard Template are 975 pixels wide by 650 pixels high.

    A fragment of a storyboard template

    You can use the Rectangular Marquee Tool with a Fixed Size Style to select the exact size of the Template window. Open one of the final sketches, copy a selection the same size of the Template window to the clipboard, then return to the template and paste the image into it’s own layer. Move it to the bottom of the layers list.

    Selection of a fragment of a sketch

    Copy each of the sketches as a separate new layer on the Template. Keep the sketch layers at the bottom of the Layers palette.

    Filling out the template storyboard
  • Step 8. Once the sketch images have been placed, fill in all necessary information to complete the scene. Expand the ENTER Production Info and ENTER Cell Info and double-click on the text icon to edit the scene information.
    Adding text information

Storyboards will save you an enourmous amount of time and a ginormous amount of frustration when you’re planning any motion picture, television commercial, music video, You-Tube video, or stage play.

How It Works How It Works
   — Workspace — Workspace
   — Using the Program — Using the Program
   — Classic Style — Classic Style
   — Artistic Style — Artistic Style
   — Timeline — Timeline
   — Toolbar — Toolbar
   — Background Effects — Background Effects
   — Adding a Frame — Adding a Frame
   — Text and Watermark — Text and Watermark
   — Drawing on a Canvas — Drawing on a Canvas
   — Presets — Presets
   — Preferences — Preferences
   — Batch Processing — Batch Processing
Examples Examples
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   — Transform a Video into a Cartoon — Transform a Video into a Cartoon
   — Sketch Gallery — Sketch Gallery
   — Pastel Drawing Technique — Pastel Drawing Technique
   — AKVIS Sketch in Architecture — AKVIS Sketch in Architecture
   — Graphite Pencil Portrait — Graphite Pencil Portrait
   — Watercolor Drawing — Watercolor Drawing
   — Artistic Processing — Artistic Processing
   — Watercolor Painting out of Photo — Watercolor Painting out of Photo
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   — Watercolor Portrait — Watercolor Portrait
   — Pencil Sketch of a Pet — Pencil Sketch of a Pet
   — Postcard Framed in Pencil Drawing — Postcard Framed in Pencil Drawing
   — Baseball Photo to Color Drawing — Baseball Photo to Color Drawing
   — Make a Sketch from a Wolf Photo — Make a Sketch from a Wolf Photo
   — Motorshow: a Pencil Drawing — Motorshow: a Pencil Drawing
   — Wild Beast of Prey: Watercolor — Wild Beast of Prey: Watercolor
   — A Hand Draws a Hand — A Hand Draws a Hand
   — Convert Vector Drawing to Sketch — Convert Vector Drawing to Sketch
   — Portrait out of a Newspaper Clipping — Portrait out of a Newspaper Clipping
   — Quiet Harbor: a Watercolor Painting — Quiet Harbor: a Watercolor Painting
   — A Little Girl: B&W Pencil Sketch — A Little Girl: B&W Pencil Sketch
   — Westmuir Street in Glasgow — Westmuir Street in Glasgow
   — Sweet Couple: Create a Postcard — Sweet Couple: Create a Postcard
   — Black-and-White Image in Photo Frame — Black-and-White Image in Photo Frame
   — Dream to Reality: How to Blend... — Dream to Reality: How to Blend...
   — Christmas Card from a Photo — Christmas Card from a Photo
   — Artist at Work — Artist at Work
   — Friends in a Cafe: Sketch&Blur — Friends in a Cafe: Sketch&Blur
   — Versailles: Traveling to the Past — Versailles: Traveling to the Past
   — Drawing on Aged Paper — Drawing on Aged Paper
   — Self-Expression: Sketch in a Minute — Self-Expression: Sketch in a Minute
   — Two Beloved Dogs — Two Beloved Dogs
   — Orchid: Drawing in Watercolor Pencil — Orchid: Drawing in Watercolor Pencil
   — Shiny Apple: An Artist's Touch — Shiny Apple: An Artist's Touch
   — Cardinal: A Scene From Nature — Cardinal: A Scene From Nature
   — Variations On A Rose — Variations On A Rose
   — Cute Girl: а Pastel Drawing on Paper — Cute Girl: а Pastel Drawing on Paper
   — On a Bright Street (Sketch&Photo) — On a Bright Street (Sketch&Photo)
   — Mount Saint Michel Watercolor — Mount Saint Michel Watercolor
   — Gala Evening — Gala Evening
   — Radiant Girl: a Detailed Color Portrait — Radiant Girl: a Detailed Color Portrait
   — Parisian Chic — Parisian Chic
   — Toy Story: Create Your Own Comics — Toy Story: Create Your Own Comics
   — Video Clip Processing — Video Clip Processing
   — Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard — Creation of a Short-Film Storyboard
   — Smudging Technique on a Sketch — Smudging Technique on a Sketch
   — Making Embroidery Patterns — Making Embroidery Patterns
   — Quicktime Transition — Quicktime Transition
   — Red Oleander (Old Drawing Effect) — Red Oleander (Old Drawing Effect)
   — Seeing Eye Dog (Comic Book) — Seeing Eye Dog (Comic Book)
   — Produce Illustrations for an RPG Article — Produce Illustrations for an RPG Article
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   — Timeline: Stop the moment! — Timeline: Stop the moment!
   — Sunny Sketch — Sunny Sketch
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   — Reflections on the Garry Oak — Reflections on the Garry Oak
   — Creating a 3D Drawing — Creating a 3D Drawing


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