My First Storyboard Pro Script / Remote Pair Programming

Posted on August 26th, 2018

Filed under: Code — Karl Olson @ 12:50 PM

One side effect of writing and modding for an animation news website back in the day, is that I made some great friends who went on to actually work in the animation, comics or anime/manga industries professionally. One such person is Corey Barnes, an animator/storyboarder/director who has worked on a number of high profile projects in various animation roles including Netflix’s Big Mouth, FX’s Archer, Adult Swim’s China, IL and much, much more.

Last night, he hit me up for programming advice with an issue inside of ToonBoom’s Storyboard Pro, a rather popular piece of software used for the storyboarding process in modern studios. Basically, while it’s easy to copy and paste existing storyboard panels, you’re then left with clearing out anything you didn’t want duplicated by hand, such as captions, unless you’re feeling confident enough with QTScript (a cousin of JavaScript/ECMAScript,) and Storyboard Pro’s API docs to start to automate clean up the specific info you want. Thus I hopped on Skype wtih screenshare, and over the next hour, we worked together, stumbling through the documentation to work out which options and data lived where, towards building this script: TB_Delete_Caption_Text.js on GitHub Gist (Dropbox.)

Now, instead of manually cleaning up each storyboard panel’s captions, you can just select as many panels as you want, pick which captions to clear in that selection, and the script does everything else. I have no idea how much time this might save storyboard artists, but it’s certainly proving popular with storyboarders on Twitter. I hope this is the start of writing more scripts that help animators. I can’t draw, but I certainly can code, and if I can use that skill so software gets out of the way of animators, that seems like a cool way to help with/participate in that industry.

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