1. PERSONAL MEMORY - SNAPSHOTS (6 panels on a single page)


Create at least 6 thumbnail drawings, each representing a personal memory.  Try to recall moments from different periods of your life; summer vacations, family outings, holidays and even traumatic events.  Consider everything from small moments, to fleeting memories, to life-changing events. Is there a moment that you would go back and change? These are all fair game.


Keep in mind that memory is a wonderful editor and doesn't always record things exactly as they happened. Often memory amplifies what is most important or veils things we're not ready to discuss openly. Once you choose the memory . . . like any good storyteller, you decide just how you want to present it. :-)


Workflow: Work small. I suggest you work in stages. Sketch out as many memories as you can think of and then clean up the ones that stand out in a second pass. We're not looking for great illustrations but your drawings should communicate quickly and clearly. This is where that second pass comes in.


Finally, post a list of captions, one for each image, when you submit your snapshots. Something that could give us some insight into the story behind the snapshot.



Reading Right to left: Sunday Morning; 5 am just north of London; Wedding Day; Whispering Wind; Story-time & Devil's Lake.


  • Drawings should be well composed, easy to read and named properly.
  • Name your file and upload as a single jpg to the #personal-memory channel in Discord. Include captions underneath image.
  • Don't forget to comment on the Snapshots of your team mates.

Naming: simpsonB_memory_snapShots.jpg



2. PERSONAL MEMORY - STORY BEATS (9-12 thumbnails)

Based on feedback and personal interest, choose one of your Snapshots as the inspiration to create a simple storyline based on that personal memory.


For our immediate purposes a story can be anything with a beginning, middle and end. Dedicate three panels to each and you've done it! Use the extra panels if you need to draw out a moment or clarify an event. If you find you have more than you need, feel free to edit them down. Save the extras because they may come in handy.


These images are what we call Story Beats. They signify the major moments in your story. Later on we'll add panels to help with continuity.

Example 1:

These are the original thumbnail sketches for my first student film Please Don’t Feed the Animals 1988. Maybe you can tell that we didn't have a storyboard class. :-) In this case I just thumbed it out straight ahead without even thinking about beats (we had a week to come up with boards for our first film). Had I known what I know today I certainly would have gone back over them to tighten up my images. What I ended up doing instead was refining each shot in the animation process. Not a strategy I recommend.

Example #2:


Here's the 11 panel story that came from the Sunday Morning image. Notice that the original "snapshot" never made it into the story.




    Step 1. - Work in your sketchbook making use of the story template or use the multi-panel sheets from the Story Resource Page.

    Step 2. - Use 9 to 12 images to convey a story arc (ie. beginning, middle & end). Sometimes endings can be elusive. Do your best and we can change things up later.

    Step 3. - There's no need to work in order. Begin with the most compelling image and fill the story in from there. Don't worry about drawing out of sequence. Once the images are exported you can rearrange them as you see fit.

    Step 4. - Once you've drawn your story beats convert them to sequential jpg files using JSL Convert and Export Story Panels Tutorial.

    Step 5. - Use Adobe Bridge to arrange your story beats and pitch the panels to see if the story tracks. From there you can rearrange, add or remove drawings and add black frames to get your story to flow. Once you have it, use Batch Renaming in Adobe Bridge to rearrange and renumber your story beats.

    Step 6. - Compress the folder containing your sequential panels and post them to the 308 Basecamp DropBox. How to compress (zip) a folder on Mac. / How to compress (zip) a folder on PC

    Step 7. - Finally, come to class next week ready to pitch! I suggest you practice with Adobe Bridge. Space bar will open the selected panel in full screen view and you can advance through your images with the right & left arrow keys.


    Tutorial: Storyreel 1. - Project Set-up, and Panel Pitch


    • Story beats should be numbered sequentially in a single folder, zipped and named properly.
    • Upload .zip file to the Basecamp 308_Storyboarding for Digital Media/308_dropbox.





Watch the Shot Counts & Action Beats video and consider how to best break out your story beats into scenes (or shots), and fill in extra panels within each shot/scene for additional action beats. To a great extent this will mean noting your transitions (cut, fade or dissolve) and identifying camera moves.

Then use the Batch Rename tool in Bridge to renumber your panels accordingly. Each scene will be distinguished by a two digit number while each panels within a scene will have a sequential letter.



Storyreel pt 2a - Shot Counts & Action Beats 7:30



After watching the demos on Scene Build-outs and Creating Action Beats with Layer Comps choose one scene from your story that readily lends itself to the Build-out process. After creating a single build-out, you'll feel more confident to tackle the rest of your scenes.


1. Each Scene/Shot will have a dedicated Photoshop file. Select the files from a single Shot/scene in Bridge and choose Tools/Photoshop/load files into Photoshop Layers. . . from the menu bar. Now use Photoshop to clean-up your thumbnail panels and break the panels into foreground and background layers, utilizing mid-ground layers as needed.


2. Once the scene file is broken out into layers, use Photoshop Comp Layers to establish multiple panels (or action beats) within each scene.


3. Use Export Layer Comps to export a separate panel (.jpg) for each action beat.


4. Use Adobe Bridge Batch Rename/letter sequence to renumber action beats according to how your shots/scenes break out.


5. Pitch panels in Adobe Bridge to help establish a sense of timing.



2b. Scene Build-outs in Photoshop- 10:30


2c. Creating Action Beats with Layer Comps - 12:00


3. Scene Build-outs with Layer Comps in Photoshop - Review - 11:00 (optional)




After watching the class demos series on simulating camera moves choose a single scene from your story and use Photoshop Comp Layers to simulate a single camera move.


1. Use Tools/Photoshop/load files into Photoshop Layers. . . from the menu bar to load multiple panels into Photoshop. Save this .psd file in your panels folder and name it according to your scene number/name and put an underscore in front to force it to the top of the file stack.


2. Next expand the perimeters if our image to accommodate the entire camera move. If needed, break the panels into foreground and background layers, utilizing mid-ground layers as needed.


3. Use the marque rectangle tool (cmd M) to build a 1920 x 1080 camera frame layer.


4. Plan out your scene and use Photoshop Layer Comps to simulate character blocking and camera movement. Be sure to check the Visibility and Position boxes. If you name your Layer Comp the same as your panels you can save a step later on.

5. Repeat this process and use the Layer Comps playback to activate your scene.


6. Watch the either 5a. Simulate a Camera Move with Photoshop or 5b. Simulate a Camera Move with Adobe Premiere for instructions on how to export Layer Comps.


7. Repeat this for any other moves you have in your storyreel.



4. Setting up a Camera Move with Photoshop - 20:45

5a. Simulate a Camera Move with Photoshop - 15:10

5b. Simulate a Camera Move with Adobe Premiere - 15:22





Based on the work-flow from the Six-Panel Fiction project, you will import your personal memory beats into Adobe Premiere Pro and edit together a rough storyreel. At this point you basically have your panels in the right sequential order and, with the help of a tempo track, an quickly establish a general pace for your film. This is what we call a "Rough Cut". From the rough cut you may see gaps in your storytelling, missing panels, and opportunities that may not have occurred to you in the initial action beats. This is where the second and third pass come in as you refine your storytelling.


Premiere Pro Settings: Set up your to Still Image Duration BEFORE importing your storyreel assets. To do this go to Preferences/Timeline/Still Image Default Duration and enter 1.00 second. If you need a refresher, consult the first two videos in the Six-Panel Fiction - Premiere Pro.


Step 1. Set up project and import assets into Premiere Pro. To begin the storyreel process, all of your assets to be stored in a single project folder with designated sub-folders underneath. Below is an example of how your folder structure should look.

Step 2. Import your entire "Panels" folder into Premiere followed by the Tempo track that best supports the pace of your story. Drag the panels and tempo track into the timeline and pace the panels along the beats on the tempo track. After adjusting the timings of your panels add black frames and fades. Combined, these should give you a general sense of pacing for your film.

Step 3. Add audio FX from or the Big Ass SFX Library. If music will play a significant role, now would be a good time to add a temporary score that supports the emotional tone of your film. Rework your timings allowing for the sound to help drive the story. Add fades and/or dissolves. . . and don't forget a title card.

Step 4. Now you're ready to add any drawings that help your continuity and elevate your storytelling. Focus on action panels that move the story forward, keep us oriented in space and emotionally connected to your story. Use your story template (in your sketchbook or directly in Photoshop) to create more panels and repeat step 2. to get the new panels onto your timeline. Pro tip: If you keep the same path and name of a particular panel, you can overwrite the image and Premiere will auto magically update the image in your timeline.

Step 4. When you are happy with the results export a final movie. If at any point you get lost consult the Six-Panel Fiction - Premiere Pro.

Step 5. Once you have exported your storyreel be sure to watch it a couple of times. If you like what you see, name the movie file and and submit it to the Basecamp. If not, go back in, make adjustments, and re-export until you are pleased.




Once you've publicly screen the Rough Cut of your Storyreel you'll have received feedback from the class and notes from the instructor. Let the responses settle in a bit and incorporate the changes that you feel will give your final Storyreel the greatest impact.

Step 1. Incorporating feedback doesn't always require a literal response. Sometimes, a wealth of feedback means your intended vision isn't coming through. In the end, make the changes to your piece that you feel will have the most impact on your audience.

Step 2. Once you have exported your final storyreel re watch outside of Premiere. If you like what you see, name the movie file and use "Replace with new version" to replace the Rough Cut in Basecamp/308_Storyboarding for Digital Media/308_dropbox/Personal Memory/.

Step 3. Finally, Zip your Entire Project and upload it to Basecamp/308_Storyboarding for Digital Media/308_dropbox/Personal Memory/



Final Storyreel Specs:































Stephan Leeper/Central Michigan University 2023