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Dale Nicholson February 13th, 2008 11:41 AM

Storyboarding Software
I hope this is the correct forum for this question:

For the feature film/video maker, which of the following is the best?
(The prices I have listed is what I can get the software for). I have it down to these three:

FrameForge 3D Studio 2 ($179)

PowerProduction Software StoryBoard Quick 5.0 ($219)

Zebra Development StoryBoard Lite ($119)

David W. Jones February 13th, 2008 12:48 PM

While this might not have all the features you require, it is free!


Dale Nicholson February 13th, 2008 02:34 PM

Thanks. I have tried Celtx. I guess I'm asking those that have experience with one of these programs if the software is user friendly. Is FrameForge 3D easy for those not familiar with 3D software? I found Lightwave difficult, for instance.

Nick Hiltgen February 13th, 2008 03:51 PM

Dale, I also found lightwave difficult. I'm a fan of frame forge but it does a have a bit of a learning curve that being said, it also comes with about a million (maybe not quite) pre designed objects. Overall it's a good program though and if you had a few days to sit down and learn the ins and outs of it I think you'd be pretty happy.

Jim Andrada February 14th, 2008 12:38 PM

This is probably a stupid question, but wouldn't Lightwave be massive overkill for this application?

That said, it's probably one of the more accessible 3D packages around.

And that said, even an accessible 3D package has a wretchedly steep learning curve

Have you looked at Carrara Basics (I think around $49?)

It's a real 3D package, but reasonably simple to use even compared to Lightwave and tremendous functionality for the money.


You still have to either build the models or get them from somewhere although Cinema 4D and probably others have a simple human form as one of their basic objects

And then there's always Poser, for which there is an incredible variety of figure models availabl.

But thanks for asking the question - FrameForge looked really interesting.

Dale Nicholson February 14th, 2008 03:49 PM

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, Jim, but I did not mean to imply that I have used Lightwave to storyboard; like others, I have tried using it for 3D effects, though, and found it a steep learning curve.

That was my point and question: just how steep of a learning curve do these storyboarding software titles have, since many are 3D in nature.


Greg Boston February 14th, 2008 03:55 PM


I removed your identical thread in the other forum. We don't allow cross posting on DVINFO in an effort to streamline the question/answer process. Please pick the one forum you feel is most appropriate for the topic of your thread.



Jim Andrada February 14th, 2008 04:11 PM


Sorry, I did interpret your post to mean that you were using Lightwave for storyboarding. Actually, no reason you couldn't do so, I guess.

I think I'll download the demo for Frame Forge and play with it. I suspect it is fairly easy to use compared to Lightwave. Lately I've been fooling with RealWave for fluid simulations to feed into Cinema 4D and steep isn't quite the appropriate description of the learning curves of these kinds of 3D packages. Vertical might be more apt.

You might still want to look at Carrara Basics, though, because for $50 it's an incredible value and fairly straightforward

Jim Andrada February 14th, 2008 10:16 PM


I downloaded the demo of FrameForge and played with it for a few minutes.

It seeme to be pretty much as I thought - basically they have a bunch of prebuilt models that are all to the same scale that you can drag into the scene and drop where you want. Working in the overhead view seems the simplest.

Then you can change the view and look at it from dead ahead, or (I suspect - didn't play wit this part) define a camera and move it around horizontally or vertically.

The models have a simple "rig" so that some fairly Poser-like functions are available to bend or rotate or otherwise deform them.

I doubt it would take more than half an hour to get the hang of it. Maybe a bit more to get good at it.

Not really sure how much playing around you'd really want to do though - it's one thing to "plan" a shot on the PC, but I think you'll run into so many unplanned variables when you get to really shoot it (unless you're 100% in a studio setting) that you'll wind up improvising. It might be cute to illustrate the general ideas if you want to show it to someone to get them to buy into your project., but I'm not sure how really useful it would be in actually shooting the project.

Just my opinion

Anyhow, to address the quesion that started this, I think the learming curve is pretty flat. Nothing like Lightwave.

Dale Nicholson February 15th, 2008 08:39 AM

Thanks Jim. That's a help. Since I am one of the few left who still uses dialup, I also appreciate your downloading the demo. Dale

Jim Andrada February 15th, 2008 10:32 AM


No problem. it was fun playing with it.

I mostly use Cinema 4D, but I have Lightwave and use it occasionally. This package is nothing like Lightwave in complexity or functionality. If you ever used Visio or Poser, you should feel at home with this package pretty quickly.

They've done a good job of minimizing the function and simplifying the interface. Like anything else, it would take some time to get really good at it. The only negative I can see is that you might get trapped into playing with it ("Let's make this dude look 4" taller and 5 years older...") beyond what you'd need to just block out the flow of your film.

R. L. Appling February 15th, 2008 11:48 AM

I have used Frameforge since it was first released, back in the day it went by another name. Since then I have carried it everywhere on my Mac powerbook and have found it to be very useful. The learning curve is there, like most products, but for the most part it is very user friendly. The staff over there are great and reply quickly to any and all problems that I have had - which have been few and far between.

My fav part of the application is the ability to change camera format options as well as aspect ratios and lenses. The same scene can very different, depending on these variables, and it helps as a Director to manipulate these things almost instantly at the click of my mouse.

A "Frameforge Community" has built up on the web, and available the image models for use in the program are everywhere. You want it someone has it, and it is usually free.

I checked out the Celtix program - it has a great function on the production schedule side - kinda handy.

R.L. Appling
Fade to Black Films

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