digital storyboard

7 Types of Storyboards You Can Choose From for Your Creative Projects

Storyboarding is like the blueprint of a creative project, laying out the foundation for what’s to come. It’s the artist’s canvas, the writer’s sketchpad, and the filmmaker’s storyboard. But did you know that within this essential tool lie numerous variations, each tailored to suit different needs and mediums? From classic hand-drawn sketches to dynamic digital renditions, storyboards come in all shapes and sizes. Join us on a journey as we explore the diverse landscape of various types of storyboards, uncovering their unique features and applications. Whether you’re a filmmaker, animator, or aspiring storyteller, understanding these variations can elevate your creative process and bring your vision to life in exciting new ways.

1. Traditional Storyboards

type of storyboard: traditional storyboarding


A traditional storyboard is a type of storyboard that consists of a series of drawings or illustrations arranged in sequence to visually represent the key scenes or shots of a story. Each drawing typically depicts a specific moment or action, helping to outline the progression of the narrative. These storyboards are often sketched on paper or storyboard templates, with each frame showcasing the composition, characters, and essential details of the scene.


Benefits of Traditional Storyboarding:

  • Provides a clear visual representation of the story’s flow and pacing.
  • Helps filmmakers, animators, or creators plan and organize their ideas effectively.
  • Allows for quick revisions and adjustments by simply sketching or replacing frames.
  • Facilitates communication and collaboration among team members by offering a shared visual reference point.
  • Offers a cost-effective and accessible method for brainstorming and conceptualizing scenes before production begins.


2. Thumbnail Storyboards

type of storyboard: thumbnail storyboard

Thumbnail storyboards condense the visual representation of a story into small, simplified sketches or thumbnails. Each thumbnail represents a key moment or scene in the narrative, allowing creators to quickly outline the sequence of events without focusing on intricate details. This technique serves as a rapid brainstorming and planning tool, enabling efficient iteration and exploration of different story possibilities.


Advantages of Using Thumbnails:

  • Streamlines the storytelling process by focusing on essential elements and overall narrative flow.
  • Facilitates quick idea generation and experimentation with different story structures.
  • Allows for easy rearrangement and reordering of scenes to refine the story’s pacing and progression.
  • Provides a concise visual reference that is easy to share and discuss with collaborators.
  • Saves time and resources compared to creating elaborate, detailed illustrations for each storyboard frame.


How to Create Thumbnail Storyboards Effectively:

  1. Outline the key plot points: Begin by identifying the critical moments and scenes that need to be depicted in the storyboard.
  2. Sketch rough thumbnails: Use quick, simple sketches to represent each scene, focusing on composition and basic shapes rather than fine details.
  3. Maintain a consistent format: Keep the size and format of the thumbnails uniform for consistency throughout the storyboard.
  4. Arrange thumbnails in sequence: Arrange the thumbnails in sequential order to visualize the story’s progression from beginning to end.
  5. Add basic annotations: Include brief notes or labels alongside each thumbnail to clarify actions, dialogue, or important details.
  6. Review and refine: Review the thumbnail storyboard for coherence and clarity, making adjustments as needed to enhance storytelling effectiveness.
  7. Iterate as necessary: Iterate on the storyboard, making revisions and refinements based on feedback from collaborators or further brainstorming sessions.


3. Scripted Storyboards

Scripted storyboards are a form of a storyboard where the dialogue and narrative elements are directly integrated into the visual representation of the scenes. Unlike traditional storyboards that primarily focus on visual storytelling through illustrations or sketches, scripted storyboards include written dialogue, descriptions of actions, and other narrative details directly within or alongside the storyboard frames. This approach helps to more comprehensively plan and visualize how dialogue and narrative will unfold within the context of each scene.


Use Cases in Film, Animation, and Comics:

  • Film: In film production, scripted storyboards are commonly used to plan and visualize scenes with complex dialogue sequences or interactions between characters. For example, storyboards for a dramatic film might include scripted dialogue to help actors understand the emotional context of each scene.
  • Animation: Scripted storyboards are invaluable in animation to plan and synchronize dialogue with character movements and actions. For instance, storyboards for an animated TV series may include scripted dialogue to guide animators in creating lip-synced character animations.
  • Comics: In comic book creation, scripted storyboards help comic artists and writers coordinate the visual and narrative elements of each panel. A comic storyboard might include dialogue balloons and captions alongside sketched illustrations to effectively convey the story and character interactions.


4. Vertical Storyboards

While most types of storyboards are traditionally done horizontally, vertical storyboarding flips the script. It involves arranging storyboard panels in a vertical orientation, stacking them one on top of the other. This format provides a different visual layout compared to traditional horizontal storyboards and can be particularly useful for projects that benefit from a vertical presentation, such as mobile apps, social media content, or vertically-oriented video platforms like TikTok or Instagram Stories. The vertical orientation allows creators to optimize storytelling for platforms where vertical scrolling or viewing is the norm, ensuring that the storyboard translates seamlessly to the intended medium.


Benefits of vertical orientation:

  • Optimized for vertical viewing: Aligns with the natural scrolling behavior of users on mobile devices and social media platforms.
  • Maximizes screen space: Utilizes the full height of the screen, providing ample space for storytelling without the need for horizontal scrolling.
  • Enhances readability: Allows for larger panel sizes and clearer visualization of details, particularly on small screens.
  • Engages audience attention: Capitalizes on the immersive nature of vertical storytelling, drawing viewers into the narrative more effectively.
  • Facilitates platform compatibility: Ensures that the storyboard format is well-suited for distribution on platforms that prioritize vertical content consumption.


Examples of Projects Suited for Vertical Storyboards:

  • Mobile apps: Storyboarding for mobile applications often benefits from a vertical layout to mimic the user experience and interface design.
  • Social media content: Vertical storyboards are ideal for planning social media posts, such as Instagram Stories, Snapchat Snaps, or Facebook/LinkedIn mobile feeds.
  • Short films or videos: Projects intended for vertical video platforms like TikTok, where vertical orientation maximizes screen real estate and viewer engagement.
  • Interactive narratives: Vertical storyboards can be effective for interactive storytelling experiences designed for vertical scrolling interfaces, such as webcomics or interactive fiction apps.


5. Digital Storyboards

type of storyboard: digital storyboard

Unlike other types of storyboards that are traditionally done with pen and paper, digital storyboarding involves the use of specialized software or digital tools to create and organize storyboard panels electronically. These tools range from dedicated storyboard software like Toon Boom Storyboard Pro to more general graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Additionally, there are online platforms like StoryboardHero that offer collaborative features and utilize AI for digital storyboarding projects. Digital storyboard software typically provides a range of features including drawing tools, pre-made assets, timeline integration, and the ability to add annotations or comments, offering flexibility and efficiency in the storyboard creation process.


Create storyboards in minutes


Advantages of Digital Storyboarding:

  • Efficiency: Streamline the storyboard creation process, allowing for faster iteration and revisions.
  • Flexibility: Digital platforms offer a wide range of creative options, including the ability to easily resize, rearrange, or modify storyboard panels.
  • Collaboration: Digital storyboarding software often includes collaborative features, enabling real-time feedback and collaboration among team members regardless of location.
  • Integration: Digital storyboards can be easily integrated with other digital assets and production workflows, such as importing reference images or exporting to animation or editing software.
  • Organization: Digital tools provide efficient organization and management of storyboard projects, including the ability to categorize scenes, add metadata, and search for specific elements quickly.


Tips for Transitioning From Traditional to Digital Methods:

  • Explore software options: Research and experiment with different digital storyboard software to find one that suits your workflow and preferences.
  • Learn the tools: Familiarize yourself with the features and functionalities of the chosen digital storyboard software through tutorials, online resources, or training sessions.
  • Start small: Begin by digitizing a few storyboard panels or scenes to gradually acclimate to the digital workflow.
  • Utilize templates and presets: Take advantage of pre-made templates, brushes, and assets available in the software to speed up the storyboard creation process.
  • Backup and version control: Implement backup and version control procedures to safeguard your digital storyboard files and track changes effectively.
  • Seek feedback: Share your digital storyboards with colleagues or mentors to gather feedback and improve your skills in digital storyboarding techniques.
  • Practice regularly: Like any skill, mastering digital storyboarding requires practice, so dedicate time to regularly create and refine your digital storyboard projects.


6. Animatic Storyboards

Animatics is a crucial step in the pre-production process of film, animation, or video projects. They are essentially rough, low-fidelity versions of the final product, composed of storyboard panels sequenced together with temporary audio, such as dialogue, sound effects, and music. Animatics provide a dynamic visualization of the project, allowing creators to assess pacing, timing, and overall narrative flow before committing to full production. They serve as a blueprint for the final product, guiding subsequent stages of production, including editing, animation, and sound design.


Role of Animatics in Pre-visualization:

  • Pacing and timing: Animatics help creators evaluate the pacing and timing of scenes, ensuring that the narrative unfolds at an appropriate rhythm.
  • Storyboard validation: Animatics allow filmmakers to test the effectiveness of the storyboard sequence in a dynamic, moving format, identifying any storytelling gaps or inconsistencies.
  • Visualizing camera movements: Animatics can include basic camera movements and transitions, providing insight into potential shot compositions and camera angles.
  • Feedback and iteration: Animatics facilitate collaboration and feedback from stakeholders, enabling adjustments to the storyline, pacing, or visuals before full production begins.
  • Budgeting and planning: Animatics help estimate the resources and time required for production by providing a visual representation of the project’s scope and complexity.


7. Interactive Storyboards

Interactive storyboards combine traditional storyboard elements with interactive features, allowing users to actively engage with and influence the narrative. Unlike static storyboards, interactive storyboards may include clickable elements, branching story paths, or user-triggered animations that offer multiple pathways and outcomes. These storyboards serve as prototypes for interactive experiences, providing a visual representation of how users will interact with the final product and allowing for testing and refinement before full development.

Use Cases in Video Games, Interactive Media, and VR:

  • Video Games: Interactive storyboards for video games may include clickable buttons or interactive elements that simulate gameplay mechanics and player choices. For instance, a storyboard for a choice-based narrative game could allow users to click on dialogue options to see how different choices impact the story’s progression.
  • Interactive Media: In web-based experiences or mobile apps, interactive storyboards can prototype user interactions and interface design. For example, a storyboard for a mobile app might feature clickable buttons or swiping gestures to demonstrate how users navigate through different screens and functionalities.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences: Interactive storyboards in VR development serve as conceptual prototypes for immersive experiences. These storyboards might include interactive elements such as gaze-based interactions or hand gestures to demonstrate how users will interact with virtual environments, objects, and characters within the VR space.

Interactive storyboards open up a world of possibilities, allowing users to actively shape and engage with narratives like never before. However, along with their incredible potential comes a host of challenges that creators must navigate. 

Challenges and Considerations in Creating Interactive Storyboards:

  • Complexity management: Balancing interactivity with narrative coherence and simplicity can be challenging, requiring careful design to ensure that user actions align with the intended story progression.
  • User experience (UX) design: Designing intuitive and engaging user interactions requires consideration of user interface (UI) design principles, usability testing, and feedback integration.
  • Technical feasibility: Implementing interactive elements in storyboards may require knowledge of programming languages, game engines, or interactive media tools, posing technical challenges for creators without coding experience.
  • Storyboard fidelity: Maintaining consistency between interactive storyboards and the final product can be difficult, as changes made during development may affect the storyboard’s accuracy and relevance.
  • Accessibility: Ensuring that interactive storyboards are accessible to users with diverse abilities and devices may require additional design considerations and testing processes.



In summary, there is a variety of types of storyboards available for your diverse creative projects. Finding the most suitable one, along with the appropriate tools for efficient production, is crucial. Whether you opt for digital software, AI storyboard generators, or embrace traditional methods, the choice is yours. However, in today’s fast-paced world, it’s essential to have a partner who can deliver quickly and maintain high quality.


Create storyboards in minutes


Related Articles: