What Does Rotoscoping Mean?

Rotoscoping is a technique used in physical animation. This technique allows human users to trace drawings frame by frame. It can also bring a sense of realism to projects and was heavily used in developing the kinds of modern physical animation used today.


Techopedia Explains Rotoscoping

In rotoscoping, a machine called a rotoscope is set up, which involves a semi-transparent panel. Images are projected and traced by animators. This process has been used in movies, music videos and other types of video to create live-action scenes. Rotoscoping involves either the deliberate use or the avoidance of something called “boiling,” where line fluctuations can make lines shift in a sequence of frames.

As modern animation progressed into the 21st century, physical methods including rotoscoping are being replaced, to some extent, by new digital animation technologies. However, some projects still use rotoscoping as a physical method. Modern project managers can choose between state-of-the-art digital systems or high-quality physical techniques like rotoscoping to bring cutting-edge animation to the screen. In some cases, rotoscoping is seen as part of the main technique of various retro animations, such as in Walt Disney films and in the original Star Wars trilogy (for special effect work).


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.