Amazon’s filmmaking arm Amazon Studios announced a new tool today that promises to eliminate storyboard artists from the filmmaking process. Called Amazon Storyteller, the software lets scriptwriters convert their scripts into boards through an automated process.
“We’ve found that many writers want to see their story up on its feet in visual form but find it harder than it should be to create a storyboard,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios and a former Disney TV Animation exec. “Storyteller provides a digital backlot, acting troupe, prop department and assistant editor-everything you need to bring your story to life.”
The free online tool, which is currently in beta, works like this:
Storyteller begins by scanning a movie script that has been uploaded to Amazon Studios. It identifies the scenes, locations and characters from scene descriptions, and “casts” them from a library of thousands of characters, props and backgrounds. Filmmakers can recast or change locations, or they can upload their own images. Storyteller places the cast in front of the right background so that filmmakers can focus their time on the emotion and energy of scenes by using pan and zoom, changing the facial expressions and positions of characters, adding vehicles or props or adding captions with descriptions or additional dialogue. Once completed, the storyboard can be published on Amazon Studios where other users are able to view it and give feedback on the project.
Animation artists may be safe for now. The Amazon Storyteller FAQ explains that, “The Amazon Storyteller library of backgrounds, characters, and props currently works best with contemporary dramas or romantic comedies.” But people around the Internet are already envisioning more artistic uses for the software, like this idea from a commenter on Engadget: “Imagine. An illustrated comic of yourself and any given Sports Illustrated swimsuit model in your own porn story.”
(Thanks, James Gibson)