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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.
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).