Several different creative sectors rely on storyboarding for their creative process, including filmmakers and animators and UX designers, game designers, and creative directors. However, the process of hand-drawing each frame or shot can take a great deal of time if you have to do it by hand. Our goal is to make storyboarding easier and more efficient by bringing you this list of free and paid tools, storyboarding software, and apps.
You can add text, sound, and script to your original sketches with these tools (or make use of assets from a library if you do not have time to sketch your own). Alternatively, you can share your storyboarding progress within the project, either by a link or a PDF - or get immediate feedback. Finally, you can continue working from anywhere with apps that work across multiple devices - desktop, mobile, and tablet.
No matter what kind of tool you prefer, from a simple 2D sketch tool like Make Storyboard to a 3D drawing tool like Storyboard Pro, you'll find the best options on this page.
If you're on a smaller budget, Storyboarder is an excellent option. It's free and open-source. In the program's clean interface, you have all the tools you need, so drawing shapes and characters is a breeze. In addition to writing dialogue, you can also enter timing information and the type of shot.
The Storyboarder and Photoshop apps integrate seamlessly, which means you can refine your board in Photoshop and have it updated in Storyboarder. In addition, you can export videos to Premiere, Final Cut, Avid, PDF, or Animated GIF from this software.
Toon Boom Storyboard Pro is the complete opposite of free. A standout among storyboarding programs, it's also one of the most expensive. However, in most studios, boarding and animating is done using Toon Boom, so you may want to learn about this if you'd like to break into the industry. As a result, the monthly fee is a lot lower than the initial cost, allowing most people to take advantage of the service.
You can use Toon Boom for a month and test the waters before committing yourself to a huge license fee. How can you benefit from this program? Sketching and animation go hand-in-hand in this process. Drawing your boards and seeing how they would animate is a great way to test your script while making sure you're on target with your scenes.
The program is primarily designed for animators. It can be used for ad agencies and for making small skits. Nevertheless, the Story Flow tool makes switching between board and script for writers incredibly easy. In addition to creating dynamic camera movements, you can also use some 3D effects that work well for 3D animators. Create layered panels in Photoshop quickly and easily by importing Final Draft scripts. There is plenty of support available for all the common programs in the art industry.
Storytelling is super easy with the plot. There are no limits to the number of boards, projects, and users you can have. With some nice features targeted toward animators, it is a web-based storyboarding app for beginners.
A drawing pane is available on whichever operating system you run this program on. Drawing your frames this way also lets you add dialogues and stage directions directly to your project. In addition, it is easy to move through different scenes in the app because it is visual. You can click and drag pieces around to change the scene. It couldn't be easier.
In addition to the collaboration features, we consider it to be exceptional and above the norm for products in this price range. As long as you have a desktop program to work on your drawings, you'll have more control. When you import the drawings into Plot, you can then arrange them accordingly. Hence, you've still got collaborative features with online management of very detailed drawings.
Price: $498.95 one-time fee or $12.99/month (Core Edition); $799 one-time fee or $24.99/month (Professional Edition)
Platforms: Windows, Mac, and Android.
Even without animation, drawing, or highly technical computer skills, your team can benefit from FrameForge, with HBO, Netflix, and BBC as users.
There are two versions of FrameForge's product: Core and Professional. Professional offers planning capabilities (down to the inch) for dollies and cranes. Scripts from any program can be imported into the software. In addition to movement arrows, framing notes, angle of view, focal length, and more, the storyboards ensure that your video team understands all aspects of production, from preparation to post-production.
Mobile users can use it on any mobile device, and PowerPoint presentations can be downloaded as a final product. Team members who want to produce more elaborate and lengthy videos for entertainment purposes might find FrameForge useful.
Price: $29/month (Indie); $49/month (Professional); $99/month (Studio) Free Trial is also available.
Platform: Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Visualizations can be personalized at every level in Studiobinder. Filters can be used to sort columns, order scenes, add images, adjust aspect ratios, color code images, and add notes to locations. In addition, project management features such as task assignment and commenting help Studiobinder make collaboration easy.
Also, the platform includes a handy presentation mode so you can show your team your projects. The company boasts impressive clients such as BuzzFeed, ESPN, and CBS Interactive. Team members who need to collaborate on various stages of the video production process and who prefer customizable tools should take advantage of this option.
In the software industry, online SaaS products have quickly become the norm. While desktop programs are not going away, we see more and more web-based options such as Boards that provide unique solutions.
The Boards software is a native storyboard platform that provides tons of free templates and collaboration tools. In addition, clients can log into their projects and add comments directly from their computers.
For teams working together on a project, you may also set up multiple user accounts. Storyboards in Boords can be presented in animatic form before being animated, thanks to flexible frame sizes and tons of free templates.
Despite the affordable monthly price, this product works on every major operating system. It is rare to find a program that offers this much functionality at such an affordable price. Boords is an excellent solution for collaborative work. You can try it for a while until you decide if it's right for you, but there is no commitment involved.
MakeStoryboard provides a simple, straightforward interface for uploading camera shots, drawing stick figures with its built-in tool, and incorporating text for scene details if you are not interested in the fancier options in the list. In addition, any drawing tablet can be used with marker, pencil, and pen tools.
Additional details unique to your team and use case can also be entered in custom text fields. Then, using a PDF format, you can export your storyboard when you're ready to pitch. Finally, stakeholders can review it using a private link without requiring an account in an alternative method. The best part is that it has a free subscription plan, making it an excellent option for teams on a small budget.
It doesn't have to be stressful to create a storyboard, and Canva makes it easy with a large library of templates, millions of stock photos (or the ability to upload your own), and color frames. The font type, colors, headers, and subheaders can be customized.
If you're working on a script or design with someone else, you can grant access to collaborate, and when you're done you can share the design through email or as a PDF. On the other hand, if your team needs an easy and simple tool to manage simpler projects or get started with storyboarding, this may be your best choice.
PanelForge delivers a feature-rich, drag-and-drop storyboarding solution with flexible frames and drag-and-drop tools. Storyboarding is free to try and offers a suite of paid plans for anyone working on animatics and more complex projects.
Drawings and 3D designs can both be created with PanelForge. Aside from creating animatics, you can also import and export files from Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro. The PanelForge tool is ideal for experienced marketers and storyboarders familiar with visualization tools.
I think it will stay around for a long time. It's been around for 20+ years. Yet, doesn't it seem funny how Photoshop can be used for so much more than photo editing? In addition to storyboarding, we see it used for digital painting, pixel art, etc. The digital drawing capability of PS is the same as that of other programs. There are now more brushes available for the PS environment, so there's even more support.
Additionally, you can download free storyboard templates in PSD format for Photoshop. This program doesn't need too much explanation because every artist is already aware of it. However, Linux users are most likely to be disappointed by the lack of support.
So, these are some of the best free and paid to storyboard software that you can find in 2021. Each piece of software has its own characteristics and way of being used. In the end, it all depends upon your usage and preferences to decide which software you will use to achieve your goals. If you have enough budget then you can work with paid tools as they offer more features. If you have limited or no budget, you can try to free tools as they offer pretty good features.
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.