Animation is a wonderful medium, which can provide information, ideas and entertainment in a slick and easy-to-understand way. Whether you are making an animation in a professional studio, or at home with some very basic equipment, it is important to begin by creating a storyboard.
A storyboard will help you to plan the whole project efficiently, knowing where to start and the general direction you want the animation to go in.
This is useful so that when you take breaks,to make some food or play some video games, you can come back to your animation and pick up right where you left off. Having a visual storyboard will also enable you to communicate your ideas to others, and enable them to understand where you are planning on taking the whole project.
The style of your storyboard really depends on your own preferences. You can spend a lot of time on it, adding in small details, colour, written descriptions and scene transitions. This will make the whole thing look very professional from the start and is useful if you are working with a team or pitching your ideas to others. However, if you are restricted for time or want to put more effort into the actual finished product, then you can simplify this stage greatly. You could use the format of numbered sketches of thumbnails or simply consecutive sketches that show how the animation will progress.
Having a storyboard will enable you to see how far you have come in the whole project. You can use a marker that will show where you are and you will also be able to see how much you have left to do. This will allow you to plan your time efficiently and manage all the tasks that must be completed.