Prolost Boardo

User Guide

Prolost Boardo is a set of presets for Adobe After Effects that streamline the process of creating an animated storyboard, without requiring you to set a single keyframe.

Contents

Installing Prolost Boardo

Prolost Boardo requires Adobe After Effects CS6 or later.

  1. Double-click Prolost Boardo v1.5.zip to expand it, and open the Prolost Boardo v1.5 folder. Inside, you’ll find a folder called Prolost Boardo that contains seven presets:
    • Prolost Boardo.ffx
    • Prolost Boardo (Paper).ffx
    • Prolost Boardo (Paper Pro).ffx
    • Prolost Boardo (Noteshelf).ffx
    • Prolost Boardo (Custom).ffx
    • Prolost Fader.ffx
    • Prolost Oscillate.ffx
  2. Copy the Prolost Boardo folder to into your User Presets folder. The location of this folder varies with your operating system and your version of After Effects. Locate the User Presets Folder.
    • If you are upgrading from a previous version of Boardo, move the old presets to a safe place before installing the new ones.
  3. Now launch After Effects, and reveal the Effects & Presets panel. Under User Presets, you should see Prolost Boardo, and within that folder you should see the seven Boardo presets.

Customizing the Installation

The five Prolost Boardo presets are all the same preset, just with different default settings applied. The different settings correspond with different storyboard image types.

  • Prolost Boardo uses the default Setup Preset of 10% Margin.
  • Prolost Boardo (Noteshelf) automatically frames your storyboards drawn with the Noteshelf templates.
  • Prolost Boardo (Paper) automatically frames your storyboards drawn with FiftyThree’s Paper app.
  • Prolost Boardo (Paper Pro) works with boards drawn with Paper on iPad Pro.
  • Use Prolost Boardo (Custom) if you plan on customizing the Setup for your own storyboard format.

For more on Setup and Setup Presets, see the Prolost Boardo section below.

Sample Storyboards

In the Prolost Boardo v1.5 folder, you’ll find a folder called Sample Storyboards that contains the storyboard frames from the Bridge Out demo video. You can use these to try out Boardo without having to draw anything yourself.

These storyboards were drawn by the talented Peter König, but don’t be intimidated by their polish. Board-o-matics are just as effective when they’re rough and sketchy. You don’t need to be a great artist to use Prolost Boardo.

In Noteshelf, you can optionally work with a framing template that can be excluded from your exported images.

In Paper, just draw your scene, and Boardo will frame it for you automatically.

Storyboard Templates

Boardo will work with just about any kind of storyboard images, from photos to scanned napkin sketches. Boardo also has presets for storyboard panels drawn in the Noteshelf and Paper.

Using Prolost Boardo

The best way to get familiar with Prolost Boardo is to watch the demo video for version 1.o at the top of the page. Or you can read on for more details — or just relax and watch the silent screen capture below, showing ow I created a quick animatic in under ten minutes.

This silent screen capture shows a ten-minute session of creating a sample animatic sequence using Prolost Boardo 1.5.

Setting Up Your After Effects Composition

Prolost Boardo is designed to work with any size composition, but the most common sizes are 1920 x 1080 for 16:9 projects, and 1920 x 804 for Cinemascope (2.39:1) projects.

Use whatever frame rate is appropriate for your region and project. Most likely, this will either be 23.976 or 25 fps.

To add your storyboard frames to the comp, simply drag them into the Comp View or timeline. You don't need to scale or position them at all, the Prolost Boardo preset will do that for you.

As you sequence your storyboard frames in time, you'll want to be consistent about how you cascade them. This will make the automated cross-dissolve feature more intuitive.

Layers cascading up.

Layers cascading down.

Prolost Boardo

Prolost Boardo is the preset you use to automate simple pan/zoom moves on your storyboard frames. No keyframes necessary!

  • Set pan, tilt, zoom, and “Dutch” (rotation) for both the start and end of the shot.
  • The camera move automatically spans the duration of the shot. If you change the length of the layer, the animation updates automatically.
  • Optionally use Layer Markers to set custom in and out points for the move. More on that below.
  • Specify whether or not you want a feather, or ease, at the head and tail of the move.
  • The layer can optionally cross-dissolve with the one below it if they overlap in time. The duration of the dissolve matches the amount of overlap.

Apply Prolost Boardo to one or more of your storyboard images. They’ll snap to fit the composition, with a 10% zoom-in.

Note: This snapping to size is set up in the Setup control group. More on that below.

The first thing you’ll want to do after applying Boardo is twirl open both the Start and End control groups.

Start Pan, Tilt

These two sliders control the pan and tilt at the head of the move. The first slider controls a 2D “pan” effect, with negative values moving the image to the left, and positive values pushing it to the right.

Negative “tilt” values move the image up; positive, down.

Start Zoom

This value controls the zoom at the head of the move. Larger values enlarge the image, smaller values shrink it.

Start Dutch

This value controls the “Dutch angle” at the start of the shot — in other words, the rotation of the 2D image.

Start Ease

When checked, the start of the move will gradually ramp up to speed from zero velocity. Unchecked, the start of the move will be abrupt and linear.

The End Group

The controls in the End group mirror the function of those in the Start group, but they control the framing for the tail end of the shot.

Tip: You’ll notice that none of the controls in Start or End are keyframeable. Prolost Boardo works without keyframes, and animating any of its settings would produce unpredictable results.

Tip: Press I to snap to the head of the shot when setting up the Start framing parameters. Press O to move to the end of the shot when adjusting End.

The Camera Shake Group

Here you’ll find the Camera Shake Preset pop-up menu, which allows you to select from a variety of camera shake animations that will be applied to the entire shot.

Or select Custom and specify your own camera shake.

Custom Shake Speed, Amount

When you select “Custom” Camera Shake, these two sliders control the shake effect. The first value controls the speed of the shake. Think of this number as “shakes per second.” Low values like 1 or 2 give the shot a floaty, hand-held feel. Higher values, like 10 or 20, create intense, vibrating camera shake.

The second value controls the size of the shaking motion. Large values move the shot more than smaller values. Anything over 100 is pretty nuts.

Shade at Head, Tail

If you want to animate the amount of camera shake over the course of your shot, these sliders provide an easy way to do that. For example, set Shake at Head to 0%, and Shake at Tail to 110%, and the shake amount will ramp up from nothing to slightly more than whatever is specified.

Overlap Fade

When checked, the layer’s opacity will automatically be animated to create a cross-dissolve with the layer below. The duration of the fade is equal to the amount of overlap.

When Overlap Fade is unchecked, the layer’s opacity will be left to whatever you manually set it to.

If needed, you can combine the automatic fade animation with Opacity keyframes, and the two will work together.

Flip It And Reverse It

This is a group of controls for reversing the geometry and/or the motion of your shot.

  • Flop (Mirror X) – Check this to flop the shot, or mirror it horizontally. Any moves you’ve created will also be flopped.
  • Flip (Mirror Y) – Check this to flip the shot, or mirror it vertically. Any moves you’ve created will also be flipped.
  • Reverse Move – When checked, your Start and End values will be swapped, effectively reversing the motion of the shot.

Tip: If you wish to put your thang down, you’ll have to do that on your own.

Setup

This is where you set up the base Boardo framing. By default, Boardo zooms in 10% on your image, leaving a border for camera motion. You can choose among several presets, or dial in your own base framing. Whatever you set up here will become the basis for the camera motion defined in the Start and End sections.

Use the Paper App preset if your drew your storyboards in Studio 53’s Paper app for iPad.

Use the Noteshelf App preset if you drew your storyboards in the Noteshelf app for iPad.

No mater which preset you select these three sliders give you the ability to further refine the base framing:

  • Scale Offset
  • Horizontal Offset
  • Vertical Offset

Tip: If you choose the Custom or Full Width presets, a Scale Offset of 100% fits the storyboard image to the width of the composition.

Shot Stats

 
 

This section doesn’t offer any control. Instead the paramters report useful information about the shot.

When Show In is set to Frames, the values are expressed in frames. When it’s set to Seconds, the values are shown in seconds.

  • Start Time shows the composition frame on wich the shot begins.
  • Shot Length shows the complete duration of the shot.
  • Move Length shows the duration of the camera move.

Tip: The Start Frame of your composition is honored in the Start Time readout.

Adding Markers to Control the Move

By default, the camera move spans the duration of the layer, beginning at its in point and ending at its last frame. If you change the length of the layer, the animation updates automatically. This is simple and convenient, but sometimes you want more control over the camera move. Maybe you want it to start and/or end at some other time within the clip.

With Boardo, you do this by adding Markers to the layer. The first Layer Marker becomes the In point for the move, and if you add a second Marker, it becomes the Out point. The shot will be static until the first Marker, then the move will play out from Marker 1 to Marker 2, and then the shot will be static again from Marker 2 to the tail.

To quickly add a Marker to a layer, select it and press the * key on the numeric keypad. On a Mac keyboard without a keypad, press Control + 8.

Tip: If you only have one marker, it will always be used to set the start of the move. If you want the move to begin at the first frame of the layer, but end before the layer's last frame, create two Layer Markers and place the first on the very first frame of the layer. Hold down Shift when dragging the marker to snap it to the layer's in point.

Prolost Fader

This preset automates five different varieties of opacity animations. You can choose to have the layer "fade in" (animate from 0% Opacity to 100%) based on its overlap of the layer below, and/or or manually set head and tail fade durations using sliders or even Layer Markers. You can also have the layer fade in and out smoothly over its entire duration.

These kinds of animations can be useful when creating animation within a shot. You might build a shot in a precomp, for example, where you could dissolve between two or more animated frames.

The fade effects created by the preset can work in conjunction with Opacity keyframes. Whatever value you set Opacity to, animated or not, will be treated as the maximum Opacity for the fade effects.

Fade

This pop-up allows you to choose the type of opacity fade automation.

  • The default, By Overlap (Plus Sliders), causes the layer's opacity to automatically animate from 0% to 100% (or whatever the layer's Opacity value is), to create a cross-dissolve from the layer below. The duration of the fade is equal to the amount of overlap. If your layers cascade up, the shot will dissolve into visibility over the overlap. If your layers cascade down, your shot will fade out over the length of the overlap.

    You can use the (Head) Fade Frames and Tail Fade Frames sliders to add a fade to whichever end of your layer is not controlled by the overlap. So if your layers cascade up, giving your an overlap fade at the head of your shot, you can use Tail Fade Frames to add a fade at the tail.

  • Choose Head Slider Controls Head And Tail to have the layer fade in and out by a set number of frames, controlled by the (Head) Fade Frames slider. This one slider controls both the head and tail fade duration.

  • Head And Tail Sliders allows you to set individual head and tail fade durations using the two sliders below.
  • By Markers causes the layer to fade in and out to and from Layer Markers that you create. The layer will fade from 0% opacity at the head to 100% at the first marker (if present). Then the layer will fade out from 100% at the second marker (if present) to the tail frame.

    To quickly add a Marker to a layer, select it and press the * key on the numeric keypad. On a Mac keyboard without a keypad, press Control + 8.

  • Over Layer Duration causes the layer to smoothly fade up from 0% to 100% (or whatever the layer's Opacity value is) and back down to 0%, over the entire duration of the layer.

(Head) Fade Frames

When Head Slider Controls Head And Tail is selected, this slider determines the number of frames over which the layer will fade in at the head, and fade out at the tail.

When Head And Tail Sliders is selected, this slider sets the duration of the fade in from 0% Opacity to 100% at the head of the layer.

When By Markers or Over Layer Duration are selected, this slider has no effect.

Tail Fade Frames

When Head And Tail Sliders is selected, this slider sets the duration of the fade out from 100% Opacity to 0% at the tail of the layer.

When By Markers or Over Layer Duration are selected, this slider has no effect.

Prolost Oscillate

Prolost Oscillate is a simple preset for animating the opacity of a layer in an oscillating cycle. This kind of animation is handy when creating animated storyboards—it provides a nice way to add life or subtle movement to a frame, by cycling between two different drawings.

To set this up, layer the two drawings together in a precomp, and apply Prolost Oscillate to the top layer.

You can control the speed of the oscillation, the steppiness of its appearance, and choose between a random or regular pattern. You can also optionally have the layer fade in and out at its head and tail.

Opacity Oscillation Speed

Controls the speed of the opacity animation. The number you set here is equal to the number of complete pulses per second for Regular oscillation.

Set this to zero to disable the oscillation effect.

Staccato

This controls the steppiness of the opacity oscillation. Lower values are smoother, higher values are more staccato, or "steppy." The default of 1.0 is smooth but still allows the layer to reach both 0% and 100% Opacity values.

Head Fade Frames

Controls the number of frames over which the layer fades in from 0% opacity at its head.

Tail Fade Frames

Controls the number of frames over which the layer fades out to 0% opacity at its tail.

Oscillation Type

Choose Regular for a periodic oscillation, equivalent to a sin wave. Choose Random for a Perlin noise-based oscillation that will be more random and organic in character.

 

Changelog

  • Version 1.0, inidital release.
  • Version 1.5 includes several updates to the Prolost Boardo preset, and also revs Prolost Oscilate:
    • Prolost Boardo
      • Pan and Tilt are now individual percentages sliders
      • Camera Shake is now its own group
      • Custom values for Camera Shake no longer modify presets
      • Custom Camera Shake Speed and Amount controls are now individual sliders. Amount can be keyframed.
      • New Shake at Head, Shake at Tail controls for animating camera shake over the duration of the shot
      • New Setup Presets for common source image types
      • New Stats section provides information on shot length, shot start time, and move duration.
      • The Prolost Boardo preset is now included in four different versions with different default Setup Presets:
        • Prolost Boardo
        • Prolost Boardo (Paper)
        • Prolost Boardo (Paper Pro)
        • Prolost Boardo (Noteshelf)
        • Prolost Boardo (Custom)
    • Prolost Oscilate
      • Smoother fading in and out of the oscilation effect at head and tail.