How Do You Storyboard? New Moleskine 'Smart' Notebook Converts Sketches into Adobe Vector Files

If you like to storyboard the old fashioned way by taking pencil to paper, but still like to spruce up the cells in Illustrator or Photoshop, then this new "smart" notebook from Moleskine might give you the best of both worlds.

Here's Moleskine's summation of what their Adobe-optimized smart notebook (they also have one for Evernote) can do:

Draw on any page in the notebook and capture your image using the companion app powered by the Adobe Creative SDK. The special page markings help to optimize and process the image as a jpg file before converting it into an svg file. With your Adobe Creative Cloud membership, you can then sync your files to the Creative Cloud and immediately open your image in Adobe Photoshop CC or Adobe Illustrator CC for refinement.

Okay, I have to admit that I'm one of those people who is obsessed with notebooks. I have a filing cabinet in my office full of colorful spiral notebooks (even one featuring Shawn Kemp from 5th grade), your standard composition notebooks, fancy leather-bound notebooks, even notebooks with pages made from recycled paper and infused with flowers. Hell, I even own a handful of classic Moleskine notebooks. So, of course when I first saw Moleskine's "smart" notebook my interest was immediately piqued.

By being able to take what's on a page and convert it into a jpg, then into an svg, then be able to open it in whichever Adobe program you use to edit, the time you'd spend scanning, uploading, and downloading files is seriously reduced. Not to mention the fact that scanning pages in a notebook with a scanner or phone is a pain. Your images often come out distorted, cut off, or looking gritty (depending on what kind of DPI settings your scanner has). Having a smart notebook that works with Adobe streamlines this entire process.

However, I'm not so sure that I'd call the notebook itself "smart", but rather the companion app. See, the pages contain small markings that help you line up and process your image, but I'm wondering what's stopping people from simply drawing similar markings on whichever piece of paper they're working on themselves? The Adobe app is free after all, so if you could pull that off, you wouldn't need the $33 notebook, right? But you have to keep in mind that these special alignment indicators work with the app -- accurately scaling, aligning, and keeping your sketches from turning into a distorted mess.

In any case, if you already storyboard by hand and want to streamline the process of turning these pages into fully workable digital files, this might be an effective way to do it, especially if you're always on the go. Moleskine's smart notebook probably isn't going to convince many creatives to switch the way they storyboard, but for those who already sketch in notebooks, as opposed to using a Bamboo tablet or something similar, it's certainly worth checking out    

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Even watching her in the process was exhausting. Doesn't seem like it makes storyboarding any easier really. Just my opinion though. I use Celtx Storyboards and that works well.

December 12, 2014 at 1:42PM

Caleb Price

Can't you already do this with the Adobe shape app? With any notebook. surface, or object? I love my plethora of Moleskine products, and I applaud the effort, but if you already have adobe products and CC then another app just labeled different seems unneeded.

Am I missing something here? Thoughts?

December 12, 2014 at 3:17PM

Seth Evans

At least I learned one thing: the company is called Moleskine, not Moleskin.

December 12, 2014 at 5:14PM, Edited December 12, 5:14PM

Dennis Brooks

Why do you have to have Adobe CC to get this? Seems a big hurdle just to do storyboarding.

December 13, 2014 at 12:35AM

Jonathon Sendall