Storyboarding for Shadid

Conclusion and thoughts

I was approached by Shadid, with hope to help him create the storyboard for his ‘fight’ animation, ‘Ghosted’. I knew that it was a good opportunity to at least give it ago because I have never attempted a fight scene before. It would be a good experience just to push myself to learn how to tackle an action scene. Now, I wish that I could have more time to perfect the staging and layout more – Shadid had a script which he wanted me to follow the shots listed out. I think if I had more time I would have maybe played around more to present some more of my ideas.

I of course strayed a little bit, and tweaked elements to fit better with the flow of the action. The most challenging part was blocking and working out how the fight would move in the scene. Trying to keep composition and keeping the pace with strong poses. I found working as a storyboard artist for this type of scene difficult because I wanted to give the animators freedom to work on the fight scene – working out the particular moves for the fight. I watched a lot of martial art films and fight scenes to really understand actions and camera angles. Overall I am happy I took on the project – it was a challenge but it has taught me alot. It took longer than I expected because it was a 3 minute animation and the fight had to have more actions to show exactly what was happening.

Final Storyboard sheets

storyboard-4My first two storyboard sheets I created on paper and edited slightly in Photoshop to show contrast within the layout. The light and perspective down the corridor work well, I think as it leads the audiences eyes down the corridor following her path. These shots are more intimate as we focus on points of the characters and scene so there are a lot of close ups and tense dramatic shots to create suspense. storyboard-5

The shots get wider here with more space ready for the action to follow. The characters are transforming and running forward. Infact, maybe more close ups should be included to show details – however it is a fast paced scene of the two throwing force at one another.


I started using Photoshop so I could edit parts of the drawings and move about the composition. Here there is a variety of camera shots – the two characters in the close up, are going to be pushing each other out of the frame – although they both are equal weight in the shot, the struggle is their strength matches.


Okay so this storyboard sheet took me a while trying to figure what direction everyone was heading and blocking the fight out on the corridor. I wanted to keep the heroine on the left moving towards the right (as this is how we read the screen.) However this switches when the villain takes control, I then switched it around again when she reaches the lockers and again when she falls and he is above her.

storyboard-8This section was another challenge because of the different perspectives and the fight scene with the long stretchy arms. Also had to introduce another character in a short amount of time.

alice-9These shots were fun to put together but also difficult as I wanted the poses to be strong. The arms were a great tool to pull the eyes towards where in the shot we should be look and that pace – the straight lines especially creating that fast pace action.

storyboard-10Alot of close ups here worked well to reveal the struggles and the thoughts of the character as they are failing to destroy the creature. However both characters are still cool and collected – they are professionals after-all!

storyboard-11The ending had to have both suspense and a great finale to the fight.

Collaborating with Shadid

Originally Shadid and me spoke in class – this is how I got on board to the project. Throughout the weeks I worked on the project we would catch-up in class and at lunch times and review/ discuss any problems I had or any ideas and updates to the project.


Shadid created three documents for me to look at as a storyboard. One was the script and a scrit presentation with gifs of the shots that he wanted for the storyboarding. Another one was character designs and the last a mixture of anime gifs that he liked and the styles of camera work I think he was interested in. He shared this to me on google docs so he could update it live and I could see.


Here is an example of the presentation, with the script, next to it was a gif or reference image that as the director he imaged. I used these alot to create my storyboard – however I also tweaked and played around with different ideas too to find out the best solution. It was useful to have the imagery next to if his script could not completely convey clearly what he wanted.

We also spoke back and forth on Facebook messenger. It is a good way to stay in contact and send over notes or updates about time management and when I would be getting things ready. The storyboard took longer than I expected originally so I had to ask for more time and to push the deadline – Shadid was still modelling and this time so it was okay and it all fell into place. We communicated well on this medium when we could not talk face to face.


After me and Victoria had created the storyboards we put our work on a Google drive folder so we could send over all that we had. We wanted it all in one place and labelled our storyboards individually with out names on the actual sheet, and uploaded the full documents.

hot_02Shadid asked for the images separate to, so we created separate folders inside to place the many single images clearly to the order of the storyboard and labelled like above.

Above you can see on the contents on one of these folders, the pictures all together labelled well so when Shadid downloaded the folder it was in order and clearly labelled. It was important to work clearly so Shadid could easily take the pictures and put them into a timeline.

Thumbnails and sketchbook

After receiving the script I created thumbnails in my sketchbook. I wanted to visualize the story so the first few thumbnails were just a way for me to get an idea of the story and imagine it outside of my brain.

Scan_20170328 (7)Scan_20170328 (6)

After choosing the final thumbnails from my experiments below I created the above chart with every frame so I could cross them off and pace myself. These are just two examples of these pages. There’s probably only me that can understand them – they were only a to do like list.


These page focuses on the first chapter of the script which in the end Victoria took over because I didn’t have enough time to complete. I wanted to capture the emotion of the character when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

combine-2These thumbnails were initial ideas and drawing out the script that Shadid had in mind. I returned to these thumbnails and the following pages when completing the final storyboard.

combine-3Above are lots of small thumbnails to jolt down quickly the action shots. Again just to get an idea of how the story flows currently.

combine-4combine-8Thumbnails really trying to understand the movements that the characters can go through during their fight. And understanding the complicated sequences.

combine-10combine-9Above are two floor plan layout of the corridor. I have mentioned above that one of my difficulties was working out the staging of the character and where they will be placed in the scene. One way was to jolt this down and try and imagine the most effective route.

combine-11Lots of drawings of wheelchair to get used to drawing them an working out how it moves where the person sits and where the knife can sit on her wheelchair.

combine-12Refining thumbnail sketches and figuring out composition more.

combine-13Some of the following pages contain final stills from my storyboard. These are the refined rough drawings. I was playing with water to the ink to give contrast to the shots.

combine-14On the left is the problem I faced was fitting the wheelchair and the demon in one shot but keeping the same composition. The wheelchair should stay on one side throughout so the shots were not confusing. I was just experimenting until I found a solution.

combine-15More experimental shots of the demons smile. Trying to capture the evil look of the demon.

combine-16combine-17Lots of action thumbnails – I wanted to capture strong action poses and expressions of the characters.

combine-18Rough experimental thumbnails working out shots and ideas.

Scan_20170328 (2)Some more sketches of the wheelchair and playing around with shots.

Scan_20170328I made some drawings of the lead characters from the character designs Shadid gave to me. I wanted to get used to drawing their features and characters. I also created some layouts of the bedroom and van after reading in the script to get a better understanding of how to block the scene.


Part of my research for the storyboard was watching martial art films. I wanted to get an understanding of the movements and the camera angles used for their filming. Above I drew out small scenes from several films and understanding how these complex movements are show. It also let me explore how I could draw out gestures for the storyboard. I learned alot from this exercise.


As well as understanding the camera movements I had to create several fight scenes which need to be interesting and powerful. I watched these martial arts films and drew the gesture poses of the actors to understand their flow-lines and some poses I might incooperate into my storyboard. It let me think about the movements I want for my own fight scene too – they need to be interesting and powerful.


The protagonist is meant to have won trophys in the Japanese sport Kendo. I decided tor esearch a little into this sport and understand the strikes and movements of this art. I wanted to make sure the character still held onto this and used it in her defense, especially how she would hold the sword with two hands. My storyboard tries to capture the upright and strong poses of this sport.

I feel its important that we capture her character – Kendo was apart of her life before she lost her legs and I think this would still be apart of her and the incredible way she fights these ghost demons. Above is a video I watched on kendo – its informative and was interesting to research. The poses and the speed of the moves at time its slow and then quick. It was important to understand this to know how to approach her fight mode.


I watched so many martial art films and fight scenes that I made my own playlist on Youtube where I could refer back to them. It’s a great took to keep all the videos together – I don’t think I can share all the videos but I looked at a lot of martial art films because of the clever cheorography and camera angles (and Shadid I think liked the Anime style).

Related image

Ip Man (2008)

I watched Ip Man a really good martial arts films – what I liked about it is the pace and the clever movements of the protagonist who fights incredibly fast and cool. I think it was incredible to watch and I watched it really studying how the camera and staging worked so it improved my knowledge for the story boarding.


Chocolate (2008)

When I got stuck on particular movements I referred to the videos and helped me with the poses of the character. Above is like a shot I was creating – I just couldn’t imagine how I could make it work and this helped me. Also, Jeeja Yanin the female martial artist (above) was incredible to watch her fighting the men and her strength. A great reference!

Scan_20170328 (12)These are some sketched I made while watching some high school films. I wanted to better understand the corridor and filmic language. Just a quick study to improve my own storyboard.

Scan_20170328 (10)This was list of all the different elements I had in my part of the storyboard. I was ticking them off as I finished them.


I was struggling with how a sword and claws could fight one another. This scene from The Wolverine features the X-men Logan is in Japan, he is fighting a samurai sword. I watched this to understand how the two could fight and interact – how each weapon acted to the other.

When creating my storyboard for Shadid I wanted to research into fight movements and camera angles already out there to understand how a fast paced scene takes place. Buffy The Vampire slayer was a good reference as it focuses on a teenager/young female (like in Shadid’s story). She fights otherworldly creatures therefore it is good reference to see how she fights and how she acts.

I decided to look at The Incredibles for reference, since the villain in Shadid’s story can stretch it’s limbs like Mrs. Incredible. This particular scene is fast paced action and climax of the film. It was a goof reference to see how the limbs were in-cooperated into the film scene.

I like the perspective in this video. As Elastigirl / Mrs Incredible gets trapped in each door she must continue to travel forward in order to escape. In particular I like the perspective and the layout of the shots. A good study for me to see how I can use such poses / camera work to be as effective as possible.

This scene from the Quest for Camelot features the protagonist running away from large monstrous creatures. I think I decided to look at this to see how the male character fights them off with his staff and how this scene plays out.


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