Storyboarding might look so much fun, but the work and confusion that occurs can quite make a wonderful behind-the-scenes video. You will get a lot of video tutorials on YouTube to start with storyboarding. 

Though I had prior experience in live-action storyboarding, it was after coming to webdew that I adapted to the storyboarding style of explainer videos. The explainer videos discussed include stock footage, live-action and animations.  

However, when I migrate to a new type of video, one question still troubles me: what template should I use for this project? Mainly in terms of the number of panels a storyboarding page should have.

This blog will tell you what is a storyboard panel and how to decide the number of panels for a storyboard project. Before getting into the number of panels, some of you might wonder what a storyboard panel actually is. Let's start with that!

What is a Storyboard Panel?

While making a video storyboard, it will be a compilation of many actions. A storyboard panel denotes a single instance of action or dialogue, where one drawing will make one panel. 

Put into simple words, these are basically sketches that a storyboard artist makes, outlining the action of every shot. Having storyboard panels, all set, makes production much easier and saves much money.

Now, you must be clear about what a storyboard panel is. So, let's get into the dilemma you will probably face and keep thinking about while starting every new storyboarding project.

How many Panels should you make for a Storyboard Project?

The explainer videos are animated after storyboards are made in Illustrator files with neatly layered illustrations. Adobe Illustrator art boards' options are flexible and can be exported to PDF format for presentation purposes. 

However, the work of storyboard artists like me is a step ahead of that. You must visualize the concepts before creating vector illustrations that can be animated directly from illustrator files later.

For this, you must make hand-done sketches to convey the concept in sketch format with the correct layout and framing of the shots.

Now, this can be done in many ways. There are countless options on the internet for creating many storyboard panels, mainly ranging from 1 to 12, along with styles and types. 

  • Making a 1-panel storyboard for explainer videos with space for numbering, voiceover, and animation notes above and below the panel makes sense. These need to be worked on in detail, and one sketch packs a lot of data, which helps to animate 1 to 3 seconds of footage.  But sometimes, montages and intricate movement patterns must be drawn for clarity and can't be explained in animation notes. All sketches are composed in 1 panel, reducing their size instead of giving one panel for each. 
  • If there are many such montages in a storyboard or if every panel is easy to understand and doesn't pack a lot of data, then 6 panels a page is also a pretty good option, composing horizontally in 2 rows of 3. 
  • Having multiple panels like 4, 6, and 9 number of panels usually helps with sequences which are fast-moving. So you don't have to turn many pages to grasp a sequence. If notes are going to be detailed as nearly half the right side of the page, or if sketches need not be very detailed and can be managed in small sizes, then 4 and 6-panel storyboards can be arranged vertically.
  • Having 2 or 3 panels per page is also a good idea if the sketches need to be detailed. But it can be presented in small groups.  We usually find 3 panels per page as a good option as it keeps the sketches in the group and is not too crowded. These look fairly big but are grouped, so the full presentation becomes fast-paced. Arranging 1 panel on every page has the issue of slowing down the reading speed.

But all this is relevant when you are actually going to print the pages on a normal a4 size printer, which many people prefer to do. If, in the process, there is no hard copy, then making individual sketches and arranging them in the desired template in software is also one solution.

This process takes little time and effort, but initially, when you are unsure about developing your projects for the first time, it can help you find the correct template.

Ultimately, presentation is a big part of storyboarding, as storyboards are made to communicate ideas efficiently in pictorial form. The experience of going through a storyboard can be greatly enhanced by its presentation. Using the correct template is the most significant part of that experience.

Tips for beginners

If you are a beginner, there are some tips that you should always remember.

  • Find out your script's pacing. If it is fast-paced, having more panels on a page is better. 
  • Determine how much average information a single panel packs. If that's high, then having less number of panels is advised. I started with 6 panels in my initial projects, as my priority was to do them fast. 
  • If sketches are smaller, we tend to focus less on details, which is helpful because some artists forget about storyboarding and start illustrating unnecessary details. Also, some artists are okay with drawings in small areas because they use mechanical pencils because of my technical background. 

Got a clear understanding of the Storyboard panel and its use?

So, ultimately, the number of panels for the storyboard depends on three aspects. Firstly, who is going to use it and what they prefer. Secondly, the story's pacing and expected detailing of the sketches. And thirdly (if there is a choice), whatever the artist is comfortable with while working on the commercial video storyboard panels. 

I hope this blog gave you insights into how to get started with storyboard panels. The webdew team creates many types of videos, including character animation, whiteboard videos, and motion graphics. 

Need a hand in creating amazing videos for your business? Contact us!

                                                                                                                                Editor: Amrutha

Frequently Asked Questions

The number of panels in a storyboard can vary depending on the complexity of the project and the level of detail required. Generally, storyboards can have anywhere from a few panels to several dozen or more. Each panel represents a specific scene or shot in the sequence, helping to visualize the entire project.

The primary purpose of a storyboard is to visually plan and outline the sequence of scenes or shots in a project, such as a film, animation, or video. It serves as a blueprint for the production team, allowing them to understand the narrative flow, camera angles, character positions, and key actions. Storyboards help ensure that everyone involved in the project has a clear understanding of the creative vision, ultimately saving time and resources during production.

A storyboard panel typically consists of a rectangular frame or cell where an illustration or sketch is placed. Inside the frame, you'll find the visual representation of a specific scene or shot. Below or beside the frame, there's often space for additional notes or descriptions to provide context for the panel, such as camera directions, dialogue, or action details.

Inside the storyboard panels, you'll find visual representations of the scenes or shots in a project. These visuals can include hand-drawn sketches, digital illustrations, or even photographs to convey the desired composition, characters, and action. Additionally, you may find accompanying notes or annotations that provide crucial details about camera angles, character movements, dialogue, and any other relevant information necessary to convey the story effectively.