Anytime you watch a behind the scenes of a Disney/Pixar animated movie, you will inevitably see the storyboard pitch session, showing how they core group of filmmakers work out the story in pre-production. A new called Boardfish streamlines that process by making it infinitely easier to organize and manipulate your storyboards to keep the story moving, even when whole beats are taken out,.
“Our team of filmmakers, designers, animators, and technologists live to design memorable pictures in motion. While working on commercial productions we have found missing pieces in our production pipeline and have created a suite of in-house tools to solve our problems. Boardfish is the first of many tools we plan on bringing to market, and we hope you find it as useful as we do.” – Boardfish
Boardfish was created by the design team at Mekajiki, a company of filmmakers, animators and technologists, who needed an application to keep their production pipeline organized and accessible for everyone on the team. All while not losing sketches that fall through the proverbial cracks. The app worked so well in house, that they decided to launch it to the public, which could make the production process better for all creatives.
Simply put, Boardfish is the digital storyboard album that enables creatives to import their storyboard sketches into it. Boardfish then enables users to create titles for each board, and give it a brief description or direction for each one.
Then once you have them in, you can move them around until the story takes shape the way you want it. The benefit is, it does all the heavy lifting. If you want to move a sketch out of order and into a new place, or simply eliminate it, Boardfish will automatically ripple the storyboard accordingly, rearranging the sketches to accommodate the change. You can add, delete, hide, drag-and-drop single or multiple items, the works.
- Drag and drop images to create boards
- Up to four captions per panel can be positioned on any side of the image
- Panels can be rearranged, deleted or hidden
- Complete control of page layout, spacing, fonts and colors
- Panel labels for panel numbers and scene/shot numbers
- Ability to import logos for title page and headers/footers
- Custom layouts can be saved into preset templates
- Export to PDF or print directly from Boardfish
- Native OSX Application
The Boardfish UI is broken down into three different sections, including The Grid, Outline View, and the Inspector pane. The Grid is where you can see thumbnails of all your sketch panels, laid out in a grid with captions linking to them. Change any order and the rest will respond by moving into their new slots automatically. There’s also a contextual view where you can select sketches and then right click to access it. This gives options including the ability to hide, delete, duplicate, and other options to adjust the board panel.
The Outline View shows every panel in a vertical, and linear fashion. Here you can do similar adjustments while concentrating on your story’s linear flow. You can also the pane to make it larger or smaller, or to show hidden panels. Lastly, you have the Inspector, which gives you metadata including menus and settings to control including changing of fonts, layouts, title settings, banner settings, and more.
Really, the only thing that Boardfish doesn’t do is draw the actual storyboard. That’s up to you. But once you get the sketches you want, Boardfish can help you move them around. The app not only works with storyboards, but moodboards, user experience flow charts, or just about any other grid layout with which to organize and tell a story or convey an ideas.
To import your sketches, it’s a simple matter of dragging and dropping them into the Boardfish grid. Supported scan formats include GIF, JPEG, PNC, Photoshop PSD files, even PDFs. Boardfish recommends though, that PNG or JPEG be the format of choice to keep final file sizes as low as possible.
What I would like to see is Boardfish be able to create a custom animatic based on the changes as you make them, so you can see a running feel to determine if the changes affect the flow in real time. But that could be for another version. Meanwhile, this is an excellent start.
The cost of Boardfish is $99, but there is a free trial. They are planning on releasing more tools in the future. It is, however, for macOS (OS X) only. For more information, visit their site. You can also see the full tour here: