Rotoscoping refers to an animation process
in which frames from
traditionally-photographed film are printed individually, each individual print
is hand-painted, colored or drawn upon, and then rephotographed as traditional
animation. The effect has been around for a long time, though I first remember
seeing it in Yellow Submarine (the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds dancers
sequence was rotoscoped).
There are a number of paint programs around that
can take a single image and apply an "artistic," "painted" or "drawn" effect.
These include PhotoEdit, which comes free with Microsoft Office, Adobe
Photoshop, and my personal favorite, Paint Shop Pro which also has a nice
plug-in called Virtual Painter (Virtual Painter will work in Photoshop as well)..
To add a rotoscope effect to your
videos, you'll need a program that will
break an AVI file into individual frames so that you can apply the "artistic"
effect in your paint program. I'm told that VirtualDub can do this, as well as
Irfanview, both of which are freeware programs. Animation Shop, that comes free
with Paint Shop Pro, does this as well.
Rotoscoping using Adobe Premiere
is very easy. The program will let you export AVIs to Photoshop as
filmstrips, which can then be manipulated en masse. However, not everyone
has these two very expensive programs, and the memory consumed by the process is
enormous -- on my 512M machine, I can only manipulate 5-10 second AVIs without
running out of memory. I also found some odd anomolies in Photoshop when using
the Virtual Painter plug-in (frame lines would appear to drift, the effect
wasn't applied consistently, etc.). I wanted to find an alternative way to
rotoscope without using these programs and without having to manipulate each
Here's the trick: an inexpensive shareware program
called EZMacro, available from American Software. EZMacro is a keystroke/mouse
move/mouse click recorder that lets you automate repetitive processes. You can
download a demo of the program here:
The demo will run for 30 days.
Registration is only $29.95.
Here's how to rotoscope using Animation shop and
Paint Shop Pro:
· Load the AVI into Animation Shop.
· Turn on the macro
· Right click on the first frame of the AVI and select, "Export to
Paint Shop Pro." The computer will switch to Paint Shop Pro and the first frame