One of the coolest features Storyboard That offers for customization is what we like to call Smart Scenes. Essentially, Smart Scenes enable users to customize the scene in a variety of ways, from weather to time of day to sometimes even furniture. Now, you can customize both characters and scenes to make sure your storyboard is exactly how you want it, and to add more depth to your creations.

While Smart Scenes are already lots of fun, I wanted to highlight some ways you can use Smart Scenes with your students to enhance their learning! For those not familiar with Smart Scenes, here’s a quick breakdown, using storyboards, of course!

[Note: some examples show the 16x9 layout being used, but the traditional layout scenes have the same features!]

First, drag and drop the scene into your cell. This example shows a city sidewalk scene, found in Scenes > Town.

Edit Scene

Second, click the ‘Edit Scene’ button that appears in the dialogue box.

Then, this window will appear! Look at all of those options! Select the changes you wish to make, and click ‘Update Scene’

Smart Scene Screen

Here are four views of the same scene you can make using the Smart Scene feature!

Smart Scene City

Using Smart Scenes in Education

Sequencing / Plot Diagrams

There are many works of literature in which the weather plays a significant role in the story. The short story “Zlateh the Goat” begins during the winter, but no snow has fallen. The main character, Aaron, is told that he must bring the family goat, Zlateh, to the butcher to sell since the family has fallen on hard times due to a lack of snow (the patriarch of the family makes fur garments for a living). Spoiler alert: As Aaron is bringing Zlateh into town, a huge storm hits and the two of them find shelter inside of a large haystack. After three days inside the haystack, Aaron and Zlateh are found and they return home. Because of the snow, the family no longer needs to sell the goat and they all enjoy a snowy holiday season together.

Here, the weather plays a key role in the plot of the story. With no snow, the family must sell the goat. Because of the snowstorm, they must take shelter for three days. Using Storyboard That’s Smart Scenes makes it simple to show the family home before/after the snow comes, as well as the storm and other snowy locations.

To use Smart Scenes for other plot diagrams where weather may not be such a key factor in the story, suggest that students use other Smart Scenes features, including time of day customization as well as the adding/deleting of furniture and other items in the scenes!

Foreign Language

Vocabulary is a key aspect in any foreign language curriculum. Our Smart Scenes are PERFECT for helping students grasp vocabulary for time of day, seasons, weather, clothing, and conversation vocabulary. They make it even easier for students to imagine different types of weather they may not encounter already where they are, and help put new vocabulary into context.

In the example on the right (taken from our Weather, Seasons, Months, Activities lesson plan), the same scene is used in all three cells, but is customized using the ‘Edit Scene’ button!

I can see the Smart Scene feature being very useful in tons of other Foreign Language units, too! Are you a Foreign Language teacher? How would you use this feature? Tweet your answer to @StoryboardThat and we’ll RT our favorites!


Storytelling can help students work on a variety of skills - from writing skills and reading comprehension, to public speaking if they end up telling their story to their classmates.

Smart Scenes are a great tool for improving upon a story by customizing each cell to fit the story’s needs. In this example, while there are no words, a story is told simply through the use of the weather customization options!

Smart Scenes also can spark a conversation about how the weather in a story affects the mood and how students can effectively choose what type of weather they want to tell their story in. Most students may not think about this without prompting, but a rainy day is going to give their audience a different vibe than a sunny one!

With so many customization options in each scene, not to mention customizable characters, and a library of search items, PLUS millions of images via Photos for Class, the opportunities for amazing storyboards are endless! Students have the ability to let their creativity shine through, and tell the stories they want to tell.

Image Attributions
  • Hay Bale • Mary Trebilco • License Attribution (
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