All artists care about is telling entertaining stories. To create a cartoon, they are currently stuck with clumsy paper-based storyboards, which are not only difficult to organize, share, and store, but are also vulnerable to accidental destruction. Story Stash frees them from paper clutter, enabling them to do what they do best - create enchanting stories.
I created a prototype of the service during my senior year at USC. To demonstrate its potential, I've prepared the following samples using artwork other artists have shared online. Neither artist has used or endorsed Story Stash. (sources: Heroes, Venture Bros)
Venture Brothers demo
Story Stash was awarded Top Undergraduate Business Plan, 2008 by the University of Southern California's Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Story Stash was designed from the beginning to be used on a pen tablet. Multitouch was also explored (see eyePoke), but was not mature enough in 2007 to be included in the initial prototype.
I worked very closely with Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh, creators of the Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb, to ensure that Story Stash's interface and feature set both enabled professional artists to be more productive.
Sketchpad Layout and Tools
The sketch panel in Story Stash is the same size as one on a traditional storyboard, while the note area is as wide as a Post-It note. The tools in-between them are digital representations of the most popular tools in the field: a pencil, marker, eraser, and sticky note. Paper storyboards are littered with sticky notes, which like layers in the digital world, enable artists to quickly try something new without having to erase the underlying artwork.
With one seamless motion, the artist can select any desired color without fiddling with sliders. Simply tap the well, slide over the desired tone, and release. It's like having the entire color wheel built into your pen.
To group a set of cards into a sequence, click the first card in the group, hold shift, and click the last. In a multitouch environment, this would be accomplished with the pinch gesture. Though not implemented in this prototype, sequences should be able to collapse into a single card in the card drawer. Not only would this make it easier to skim a storyboard, but it would also enables multiple authors to work contemporaneously on different acts without one's changes distracting the other.
Cloud Marking Menu
To avoid cluttering the workspace, file management tasks are consolidated into a marking menu, represented by the cloud icon. The menu is disabled in this demo.
Backwards Compatible with the Paper Workflow
These text fields represent dialogue, locale, action, and miscellaneous, the four standard text areas on a paper storyboard. Story Stash is designed to adapt to the user's context. Story Stash can be shared across the network, presented with a projector, or hung on the wall with sheets of paper.