What is rotoscoping?

Hello Everyone,

Its Josh here from Loveridge Digital, this week on “Getting into it with Loveridge Digital” we are going to cover what rotoscoping is.

Rotoscoping is one of the oldest animation techniques still in use today. In the early days of cinema, rotoscoping meant tracing over live action footage frame by frame for use in animated films. That way animators could get very realistic movements by tracing over the actor in the scene. Think of it as the motion capture we use today.

So what is rotoscoping used for in the modern day?
Rotoscoping in the video production pipeline is used to create a matte or mask for an element, this allows us to extract a piece of the footage and place on a different background for example. It is more widely used than many realize. Rotoscoping gives filmmakers opportunities to produce scenes that would otherwise be difficult, expensive, dangerous, or impossible to film in real life.

So how does it work?
Essentially a roto artist will trace an object frame by frame in a compositing software package by creating different shapes around an object and animating those shapes to match the movement on each frame.

Depending on the complexity of the shot, the process of rotoscoping can take hours or even days to complete, It is one of the most time consuming processes in all of video production and requires an indepth knowledge of the process. In saying that though rotoscoping is used in just about every high end production that has digital elements.

Though rotoscoping may sound tedious and not that exciting, it’s an important technique to be aware of, as you never know on your next video production their may be an element in the frame that needs to be removed such as wall signage or debris.


Thank you very much for taking the time to watch the video, I hope you found it informative and engaging, until next time.

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