Peter Rubin, veteran storyboard and previs artist, has a beautifully written article – Why Storyboards Still Work – that tells it like it is in regard to hand-drawn storyboards “vs.” digital previs. This is an especially key paragraph:
So which should the director/producer choose if there’s only money for one? (A hypothetical question — it will always be cheaper to storyboard, at least until the day that video iPods come down to the price of paper. But let’s pretend.) All else being equal, animatics or storyboards? That depends, and not on technology. It depends on the personal preferences of the director, the schedule, and the gifts of the available artists. 2D or 3D, in motion or static, a previsualized sequence will only be as good as the person executing it. I would argue that if you can afford previs, you can’t afford not to storyboard as well.
Beautiful. The gifts of the available artists. That’s it. A lot of this silliness about 3d vs. 2d ignores the basic fact that the quality of the work is more dependent upon the quality of the artist, not the tools the artist uses.
And he has this one last word of caution:
All of this would be merely academic, and darn funny, if the livelihoods of some outstanding film professionals (and, some would argue, the quality of the final work) were not already being adversely affected by opinions like this. Storyboards are still widely in use — but some productions are now starting to deny it, so that they won’t seem behind the times (this recently happened to one of my ex-ILM colleagues). That should make us, artists and directors of all dimensions, just a little bit alarmed.
It should always be about how to make the film the best it can be, regardless of what tools are used. This is a great article. He touched on some of the points I’ve pointed out, but I think he articulated it better than I did.