Wednesday, 24 November 2010


As animation style used to this day rotoscoping invented by max Fleischer was a way to capture real life motion and use it in animation. When max Fleischer created this style of animation he used it to make the cartoon ‘Koko the clown’ the very first to use rotoscoping.

The rotoscope of the time was a very simple design using a film projector at one end of a well-placed drawing desk the animator would trace over the persons form frame by frame until the end result was a smooth life-like movement.

In august 9th, 1930 another animation would also use rotoscoping to create a realistic style dance.  The character by the name Betty Boop appeared on a cartoon show called dizzy dishes. At first she was designed to be a poodle but as time passed she soon became a fully human character. Through out the 1930s she became known face for her interesting look and have very unique accent.

In Betty Boop in Minnie the moocher before the cartoon starts the viewers watch Callaway (the dancer) perform showing off his skills in dancing. As the cartoon begins it tells a story of how Betty is getting told off which makes her unhappy and so runs away from home, at this point there is no rotoscope used but recycled animation (like walking, crying etc). As the cartoon carries on betty and her friend bimbo find a cave where they meet a ghost walrus, at this point the rotoscoping is used as the ghost walrus starts dancing. The dance movements used to make the character dance were the same movements done by Callaway before the animation started. From this animation I enjoyed how they used the rotoscoping style to make the character move but yet not having a human character

Throughout Walt Disney's years in 2-D animation they used rotoscoping not just to get an understanding of the body and movement but also using it in their own animated movies. One of their most well known animated movies, which used rotoscoping, was Snow White and the seven dwarfs. The rotoscoping was mainly used on snow white for particular scenes for example when she is dancing with the Prince.
Snow White and the seven dwarfs were the first feature film that Walt Disney was planning to develop as they wanted to go into more detail than their short projects that as Mickey Mouse and the silly symphonies series from this Disney was planning to expand their out let by moving into features. Snow White and the seven dwarfs being their first feature length film had a budget of $250,000 that was 10 times the budget of an average silly Symphony.
Finally when the movie was released in 1938 Snow White and the seven dwarfs was a box office hit bringing more then $200 million internationally.

Rotoscoping was used extensively in China's first animated feature film Princess iron fan 1941. The inspiration for the film Princess iron fan came from Disney's own rotoscoping animation Snow White and the seven dwarfs. For Wan Chaochen and Wan Dihuan it was to set the standard and attempt to create a film equal quality to form the nation's honour. The firm to 3 years to June 30 seven artist and ¥350,000 (approximately £2635) to make although the Disney influence distinct in much of the animation there is also a distinct Chinese style in the film a style that would grow much stronger with the Wan brothers. Subsequent films in the following decades rotoscoping was an extensively to save money and the eyes of the live action are often visible in the face of the animated characters. This animation would render past 20,000 frames, using up more then 200,000 pieces of paper.

It was also used extensively in the soviet union where it was known as eclair from the late 1930s to the 1950s it is still a call use was in force as a realisation of socialised a realism most other films produced with it were adoptions of folk tales and poems for example the nightmare before Christmas or tales of the fishermen and the fish only after the 1960s did animators start to explore very different ideas.
Another type of animation that used rotoscoping was a music video for a song from a-ha called take on me in 1985 this register animation used all of the real live action within the animation.
In all rotoscoping was an effective yet long winded way to get perfected movement and live action in animation and from these animators have learnt movement of character which can be used in cartoons made less realism

As 2d animation began to die down in popularity a new form of animation would make way for a new aspect on the style of rotoscoping. 3d animation became the new style of animation using less drawing and time it became the best way to make animation, but like all animations it had a hard time capturing real life motion.

In 2002 the movie Lord of the Rings: The two towers the new style of rotoscoping would be used to design and animate a character known as ‘Gollum’.  Weta digital a digital visual effects company based in wellington, New Zealand. Began animating Gollum in late 1998 to convince new line they could achieve the effect. Andy Serkis “played” Gollum by providing his voice and movements on set, as well as performing within the motion capture suit later on. His scenes were filmed twice, with and without him. 

Originally Gollum was set to solely be a CG character, but Jackson was so impressed by Andy Serkis’ audition tape that they used him on the set as well. Gollum’s CG model was redesigned during 2001 when Serkis was cast as Sméagol (Gollum's former self), so as to give the impression Andy Serkis as Sméagol transforms into the CG Gollum. The original model can still be glimpsed in the first film. As it was easier to have an actor to perform with in the scene then a CG character the animators in the end rotoscoped the CG Gollum and animated on top of these scenes.

This type of rotoscoping used a more complex way to capture real life motion. The actor would wear a ‘motion capture suit’ this suit has markers or balls that display the parts of the body they are attached to giving the character a form to base on. When the character is designed and made the animators line up the parts of the body to the right area so that the character moves in sync leaving a character with a life like movement with 3 dimension angles.

From what I have learnt from rotoscoping is that to capture true real life motion has a lot of pros and cons giving the animator a chose to make the animation as real as possible or over exaggerate on parts that my be comical or action packed, and that rotoscoping though not used as it was before to make 2d is still used to this day in animation and illustration in 3d and digital programs. 

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Monday, 8 November 2010

Dodo curiosity animation

For this task I was given four weeks to design, plan out, storyboard and draw an animation that is less then 20 seconds long. The first part of my task was to get a simple but effective character which I would use for this animation, I wanted to use a character that uses squash and stretch effect while walking as well as giving a simple walk cycle. After a couple of designs and storyboards later I finally decided to use my character the Grim Dodo
before planning out my storyboard I did a small reference sheet of the character so that I could get a more defined look at what the character may turn out in the final result. After designing my reference sheet I then moved on to my storyboard, in the storyboard I planned out a walk cycle before reaching the main phase of the animation. In the main phrase the character first walks past the button before returning to it he then presses a button and wait for something to happen only to get knocked on the head by a small anvil.

When it finally came to drawing out my animation there were some things that I had to cut from my final project, one of the things I had to cut from my animation was the first walk cycle before the character gets the main phrase because it took up too much time. Another part of the storyboard I had to cut from the final animation was the dramatic scene where the character with get hit by a larger anvil. Although I was not able to use the walk cycle in the main phrase I still use the idea of how the character would walk from it in the main phase
within the main phase of my drawing for the animation they used a set frame and an outline to keep a consistency within my animation as well as using tracing paper in my own techniques to keep the walk cycle consistent as well.
In my end result I was quite pleased with how it turned out and I feel that I gave a fair amount of pause time between each action. In my final result I do wish that I was able to give more detail and designed to the character to show more reaction within the face.