What Tools do Storyboard Artists Use?

Learn the core tools, software, and programs that Storyboard Artists use in their day-to-day role

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Introduction to Storyboard Artist Tools

In the visually driven realm of storytelling, the storyboard artist is the visionary who translates scripts into compelling visual narratives, setting the stage for the entire production. The tools and software at their disposal are not mere accessories but the lifeblood of their creative process. These digital companions allow storyboard artists to sketch out scenes with precision, experiment with dynamic camera angles, and animate sequences with a few clicks, transforming the ephemeral into the tangible. With the right software, artists can swiftly iterate on feedback, ensuring that each frame aligns perfectly with the director's vision, thereby becoming an indispensable asset in the fast-paced world of film, television, and animation. Understanding and mastering these tools is a rite of passage for those aspiring to carve out a career as a storyboard artist. In an industry where time is as valuable as creativity, proficiency in the latest software is not just about keeping up; it's about standing out. It equips budding artists with the ability to quickly adapt to different production needs, showcases their technical acumen to potential employers, and ultimately, it is a testament to their commitment to their craft. For both novices and seasoned professionals, a deep dive into the world of storyboard artist tools and software is more than an educational journey—it's a strategic move towards achieving excellence in visual storytelling.

Understanding the Storyboard Artist's Toolbox

In the realm of visual storytelling, Storyboard Artists wield a unique set of tools and software that are fundamental to transforming scripts into visual sequences. These tools not only enhance the artist's ability to communicate the essence of a scene but also streamline collaboration with directors, animators, and other stakeholders. The right technological toolkit can significantly impact a Storyboard Artist's productivity and the overall quality of the storyboarding process. The technological landscape for Storyboard Artists is rich and varied, encompassing everything from drawing and animation software to project management platforms. These tools facilitate the creation of dynamic storyboards, enable efficient revisions, and ensure that the entire production team is aligned with the visual direction of the project. By leveraging these tools effectively, Storyboard Artists can optimize their workflows and contribute to the successful realization of film, television, and animation projects.

Storyboard Artist Tools List

Drawing and Illustration Software

Drawing and illustration software is the cornerstone of a Storyboard Artist's toolkit, providing the digital canvas and tools necessary for bringing stories to life. These programs offer a range of brushes, textures, and drawing aids that mimic traditional media, while also allowing for the flexibility and efficiency of digital editing.

Popular Tools

Adobe Photoshop

A widely-used program that offers extensive features for raster image editing, custom brushes, and layer management, making it a staple for digital artists.

Clip Studio Paint

Tailored for illustrators and comic artists, this software boasts vector capabilities and a vast library of assets, streamlining the storyboard creation process.


Popular among iPad users, Procreate offers a touch interface and a variety of brushes, making it ideal for Storyboard Artists on the go.

Animation and Motion Software

Animation and motion software allows Storyboard Artists to create animatics, which are essentially animated storyboards that provide a glimpse of how the final product will move and feel. These tools help in visualizing timing, pacing, and the overall flow of scenes.

Popular Tools

Adobe After Effects

Provides robust tools for creating complex animations and motion graphics, helping artists to produce high-quality animatics.

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro

Specifically designed for storyboarding, this software integrates drawing and animation features, enabling artists to storyboard and animate within a single platform.

TVPaint Animation

A versatile software that excels in 2D animation, offering Storyboard Artists the ability to animate their drawings directly within the program.

Project and Task Management

Project and task management tools are essential for keeping storyboard projects organized and on schedule. They help artists track their progress, manage deadlines, and collaborate effectively with other members of the production team.

Popular Tools


A visual tool that uses boards and cards to organize tasks and projects, making it easy for Storyboard Artists to manage their workflow.


Designed for task assignments and progress tracking, Asana helps artists stay on top of their deliverables and deadlines.


Offers a customizable interface for managing complex projects, with features that support workflow automation and team collaboration.

File Sharing and Collaboration Platforms

File sharing and collaboration platforms are critical for Storyboard Artists who need to share their work with directors, animators, and other team members. These tools facilitate the easy exchange of files and feedback, ensuring that everyone is working from the latest version of a storyboard.

Popular Tools

Google Drive

A cloud-based storage service that allows for the sharing and collaborative editing of files, including large storyboard image files and documents.


Provides secure file storage and sharing capabilities, with the added benefit of version history and recovery options.


A straightforward platform for sending large files, which is particularly useful when high-resolution storyboards need to be reviewed by remote team members.

Communication and Feedback Tools

Effective communication and the ability to gather feedback are crucial for Storyboard Artists. These tools help maintain clear dialogue with the creative team and facilitate the collection of input on storyboard panels and sequences.

Popular Tools


A messaging app that supports team communication through channels, direct messages, and integration with other work tools.


Enables video conferencing and screen sharing, allowing Storyboard Artists to present their work and receive live feedback.


A video review and collaboration platform that allows teams to leave timestamped comments directly on animatics and video files, streamlining the feedback process.

Reference and Inspiration Management

Managing references and inspiration is a key part of the creative process for Storyboard Artists. Tools in this category help artists organize their visual references, mood boards, and research materials.

Popular Tools


A visual discovery engine that allows artists to create boards for different projects, collecting and organizing reference images and inspiration.


A note-taking app that can be used to compile research, save articles, and store images, all of which can be tagged and easily searched.


A simple tool for organizing and viewing multiple images on a digital canvas, which is ideal for comparing reference materials while drawing.
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Learning and Mastering Storyboard Artist Tools

As a Storyboard Artist, mastering the tools and software of your trade is not just about learning the features of each program; it's about developing a strategic approach to acquiring and enhancing the skills that will allow you to bring stories to life with efficiency and creativity. The right approach to learning these tools can significantly impact the quality of your work and your ability to collaborate effectively with other professionals in the film and animation industries. Here are some practical steps and learning tips to help you navigate and master the storyboard artist tools landscape:

Build a Strong Conceptual Foundation

Before diving into the specifics of any software, it's crucial to have a strong grasp of visual storytelling fundamentals. Understanding cinematography, composition, and narrative structure will inform how you use any tool and can guide you in selecting the right software for your needs. Resources like books, online courses, and workshops on visual storytelling can provide this essential knowledge base.

Embrace Hands-on Learning

The best way to learn any new software is by using it in a real-world context. Start with the trial versions of storyboard software like Storyboard Pro or Adobe Animate and work on small projects that challenge you to use all the features of the tool. This hands-on experience is invaluable and will help you internalize the workflow and capabilities of the software.

Join Online Communities and Forums

Storyboard artists often share their knowledge and experiences in online communities and forums. These can be excellent places to ask questions, get feedback on your work, and learn from the challenges and solutions of others. Websites like Reddit, Discord servers, and platform-specific user groups are all great places to engage with your peers.

Utilize Official Tutorials and Documentation

Make the most of the tutorials, guides, and documentation provided by the software developers. These materials are specifically designed to help you understand the tool and often include tips and tricks that can streamline your workflow. Regularly revisiting these resources can also keep you updated on new features and best practices.

Invest in Structured Learning

For software that is central to your role, consider investing in structured learning through online courses or certification programs. These can provide a more in-depth understanding of advanced features and techniques. Certifications not only boost your skillset but also enhance your professional credibility.

Commit to Continuous Learning

The technology and tools available to storyboard artists are constantly evolving. To stay relevant and effective in your role, make a commitment to continuous learning. Follow industry blogs, subscribe to newsletters, and attend webinars to keep abreast of the latest developments in storyboard software and techniques.

Collaborate and Get Feedback

As you develop your skills, collaborate with other professionals such as animators, directors, and writers. Sharing your knowledge and getting feedback on your storyboard work can provide new insights and help you refine your approach to using the tools. Peer review is a powerful way to learn and improve your craft. By following these steps, you'll not only learn how to use storyboard artist tools and software, but you'll also master them in a way that enhances your storytelling capabilities, making you a more effective and sought-after professional in the industry.

Tool FAQs for Storyboard Artists

How do I choose the right tools from the vast options available?

Choosing the right tools as a Storyboard Artist involves assessing your storytelling needs and the demands of the production environment. Prioritize learning versatile software like Adobe Photoshop for drawing and Adobe After Effects for animatics, which are industry standards. Seek advice from seasoned professionals and explore tools that enhance your efficiency and collaboration, such as Storyboard Pro. Opt for those with features that cater to animation or live-action projects, depending on your focus area.

Are there any cost-effective tools for startups and individual Storyboard Artists?

Storyboard Artists must adapt swiftly to new software to translate stories into visual sequences effectively. Prioritize mastering core features relevant to your current storyboarding tasks. Engage with quick online tutorials, and join industry-specific forums or social media groups for tips and tricks. Apply the tools in real projects immediately, even in a rough capacity, to reinforce learning. Embrace these tools as extensions of your creative process, enhancing storytelling efficiency and team communication.

Can mastering certain tools significantly enhance my career prospects as a Storyboard Artist?

Storyboard Artists can stay current by engaging with online forums, following industry blogs, and subscribing to digital art magazines. Regularly attending animation and film festivals, workshops, or webinars can also provide exposure to cutting-edge techniques. Networking with peers through social media groups or industry events allows for the exchange of knowledge about the latest software updates and hardware advancements, ensuring artists maintain a competitive edge in visual storytelling.
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