What is Rotoscope Animation?

By Matthew Weston

“What is rotoscope animation?” probably wasn’t the first question on your mind when you woke up this morning, and to be honest it wasn’t for us, either*.

We know that you’re a curious readership, however, with your inquisitive minds eager to absorb as much information as possible**, so let’s tackle that very question for you right here, right now.

For those of you who are long term visitors to our magnificent portfolio page, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen our attempts at dabbling in rotoscope animation (or “rotoscoping”) before, with our animation of this kind for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC proving a huge hit.

If you’re not a long term visitor to our magnificent portfolio page, here’s a direct link to that project, because we’re nice like that: Wolverhampton Wanderers Animation Production

In short, rotoscoping is a technique where animators trace over captured footage to produce an animation that is as visually stunning as it is realistic.

Combined with a jaunty piece of music, or a professional voiceover, the strength of this type of animation can result in one truly impressive video – even if we say so ourselves.

As the saying goes, however, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and a rotoscope does come at a cost – namely the time it takes to create.

With every frame needing to be traced accurately, rotoscoping is a painstaking and painful process – a feeling reflected by our animator, Jamie, whose reply to the question “How much fun is a rotoscope animation to create?” is sadly not printable on a family friendly website such as this one.

Once we had got Jamie to calm down however, he put together a quick video on how to create a rotoscope animation, and graciously allowed us to include it in this blog for you to watch.

We hope you enjoy, and before you ask – here at Stone’s Throw we use Toon Boom Harmony for creation and Adobe After Effects for the editing!

Rotoscope Animation

*Ours was “Will there ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark?”, in case you were wondering

** Not to mention I’m being paid to write 300 words on the subject

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