Our Different Types of Storyboards

You may remember that in recent months we’ve taken the time to inform you, our cherished and valued reader, about what a storyboard is and why it’s really quite an important thing to have when going through the video and animation production process.

If you missed our post and video on that one – fear not! You can have a read of our words and a watch of Mike’s beautiful face right here.

One thing which we didn’t touch upon a great deal in that post and video however is the thorny issue of the different types of storyboard there are.

No, there isn’t just one! Instead, as De La Soul once said, three is the magic number…


Here at Stone’s Throw Media we tackle three different types of storyboard – the most basic of which being a written one.

This is where we write visual notes accompanying the relevant sections of the script.


These notes are usually put down in red font – to help the client distinguish them from the voice-over script – and provide an overview of how that particular scene will play out.

These visual notes are typically narrative driven – such as in the example above – and don’t dwell too much on how a scene or characters will actually be designed. 

For that we need a…


Whilst it is tempting to believe that thumbnail images are close-ups of your hands to see if you’re suffering from a calcium deficiency, we’re sure you know that that isn’t the case.

A thumbnail image is simply a small image which, in a thumbnail storyboard, goes alongside the relevant script section to give a clearer understanding of how that particular scene will look.

Different types of storyboard thumbnails

A thumbnail storyboard is the perfect type to use to illustrate a proposed character design or the general appearance of the scene.


Last but by no means least, we have an animatic storyboard – the most complex type of storyboard we create.

In an animatic storyboard, we make rough sketches of how we think scenes will play out and then…well…animate them, funnily enough.

Why? Well, we think that an animatic storyboard is the best way to present the proposed pacing of a scene – something which is kinda hard to do using just words or still images.

Not only that, it also provides our client with a much more detailed look at how the voice-over script and the visual will interact with each other – the key relationship to making the video impactful and effective.


Sorry to be fence-sitters – rest assured we’ll be picking splinters out of our bottoms for the next week – but we don’t really believe that there is one type of storyboard which is “the best” to use. 

If you don’t really mind what a character will look like and you’re sticking to a tighter budget then a written one is fine.

If you want to know how a particular visual should look, you’re probably best opting for the thumbnail storyboard.

If you’re looking for more detail on your video’s pace and structure and you have a bit more flexibility with your budget, we would recommend the animatic as the right way to go.

In short, all three types have their uses – which is why we think that the most important thing is not what type of storyboard you go for, but that you have one in the first place.

After all, each one forms a blueprint of how the video or animation will play out – ensuring that whatever type our client opts for they’ll always be on the same page as us!

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