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Plot - Online Storyboard Creator: Write, Draw, Collaborate, and Export - Get Started for Free

theplot
Plot - the fastest way to create and share Storyboards.

Storyboard applications are very underserved for creators who have no use for 'pretty' storyboards. Which is not to say you can't make highly finished storyboards with Plot but, if you're like me, and you prefer to hand draw quick thumbnail sketches, and want to have the ability to quickly cut and paste elements between frames, then Plot could well be for you.

After making animations for seven years Adrian Thompson, the founder of Plot, was frustrated with how tedious it was to edit a basic storyboard template. He believed storyboarding should be quick and easy, enabling you to focus on what's important, the story. So he set out to create a better application.

Plot is an online, browser based, storyboarding application, that is ideal for lone creators and teams. Its surprising simple user interface and shallow learning curve means you'll be working on your storyboards sooner, without the application getting in the way. (If you watch Adrian's training videos you'll know all you need to know in about 15 minutes).

User Interface and Entering Your Script

The user interface is very simple, on the left you have your storyboard panels, on the right you have your script, images, and comments tabbed windows.

Plot's UI is very simple with storyboard panels on the left and Script, Images, and Comments panel on the right.
Plot's UI is very simple with storyboard panels on the left and Script,
Images, and Comments panel on the right.
The Knight and the Dragon storyboard by TET.

Enter your script directly into the individual storyboard panels or copy and paste all your dialogue into the script tab, and divide it into scenes from there. Regardless of which way you add or edit text the script window will always contain the same text as that shown in the individual panels.

For example Plot makes it easy to move and delete panels without having to constantly edit your text. If you move a panel (by dragging and dropping) the text from that panel will be reordered in the script tab. If you delete a panel the script text will jump across and be added to the previous panel automatically.

Adding/Creating Images

If you prefer to use a different application to create your storyboard images you can easily bulk drag and drop all your images into Plot where they will be stored on the image tab. From there you can just drag and drop each image to their corresponding storyboard panel.

To draw your images directly into Plot, select the edit button on any panel and you'll be taken to a fully featured vector drawing tool. Here you can either draw directly and/or import images, and access free clip art libraries to build your scenes. 

Plot's drawing editor is quite fully featured but you can also import your own images or use the free, available clip art.
Plot's drawing editor is quite fully featured but you can also import your
own images or use the free, available clip art.
Image from The Knight and the Dragon Storyboard by TET.

I really love the drawing editor. Great for quick sketches but also fantastic for highly finished drawings if your storyboard is intended for a pitch meeting with a studio.

What I really like is that each panel drawn directly into Plot is also added to the image tab, making it a breeze to reuse and edit scenes in multiple panels (something I do all the time to speed up storyboarding). Simply drag the image from the image tab to the next panel you want to use it in. This will then become a new image that you can edit without changing the original image.

Collaboration Tools

The collaboration tools are only available to Pro and Business accounts. They are fairly basic but pretty much all you need. Invite collaborators to your project where they will be able to review and leave comments (and edits if you make them an editing collaborator) on your boards.

If you just want to share your boards to anyone with the link you can make them publicly viewable (but not editable or able to leave comments). No account is required to view public storyboards. In fact you can view the demonstration storyboard here.

Exporting

Finally, the one essential thing I want from any storyboarding app is the ability to export my storyboard to a PDF document that I can print out or email to clients. Plot gives you six different layouts to export to which you can see samples of here.

In Practice

Plot works best with any kind of display device with pen input. I suspect an iPad with an Apple pencil might be the ideal setup but it worked great for me with a 21 inch pen display monitor.

I used Plot to create the storyboard for my Reallusion, Animation@Work 2022 animated short, Run Away!, and was able to complete my 19 panel storyboard, with some fairly rough looking sketches in less than an hour (including thinking time).

I did have to get used to the drawing editor being vector based, as I would normally use a bitmap based editor but other than that, it was fantastic to use.

No Free Account - Just a 14 Day Free Trial

While I appreciate that Plot has fairly modest pricing and no lock in contracts (you can pay for single months or save by paying annually) I'm a little disappointed there's no proper free account. (Maybe an add supported account perhaps?).

There's a 14 day free trial with all features and then your account will be limited to one project with eight scenes, supposedly? In practice I was completely locked out of my one storyboard with no way to view it, or even delete it in order to start a new eight scene project. It was either upgrade or wistfully stare at the padlock on my one project for all eternity....*sigh*

Adrian has built this awesome, reasonably priced tool but I do think you should at least be able to open and view your projects once your trial or subscription expires. I'm only mentioning this here in case you decide to try the free trial. Be sure to export your board before the trial runs out.

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Overall this is the best storyboarding application I've come across to date for creating the actual storyboards. It's simplicity makes it a joy to create storyboards. If you need to collaborate on storyboards this is a very affordable option compared to other solutions.

To be more complete I'd like to see the addition of being able to create an animatic with audio, or at least the ability to export your panels as .JPG or .PNG files so you can bring them into a video editor to create your own animatic. 

Otherwise, I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a storyboard solution that doesn't over complicate the storyboarding process with features you don't need.

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