MEDA301 · Uncategorized

learning to rotoscope day 21; reflection


When you want to practice a craft, a skill or learn something new, you need time. Passion and motivation get you places, but one hard lesson I learned was that if you don’t have the time the task requires…you can’t reach the goal you’ve set for yourself. Not knowing how long it will take until you finally start is the risk you take, you won’t know until you know.

I had another look at Paul Bush’s Albatross

The Albatross – Paul Bush from Film Club Productions on Vimeo.

My latest rotoscope involved a few changes to my practice. I used a higher quality of paper, and included colouring in with water pencils to add detail. I also used the shading technique for the movement in the frame. It ended up being too much in one rotoscope, and really added to the time and creation process. I am hoping the end result will be worth the extra time, and scanning the drawings rather than photographing them will reduce the framing and angle problems. Unfortunately, scanning did not increase the quality. The colouring and contrast became distorted.

This week I looked at a lot of old-school hand drawn animation, even watching a few of the Disney Classics like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. I didn’t even know The Little Mermaid was traditional animation. In fact, traditional animation was used in Disney animation until The Princess and the Frog in 2008. It is still practiced, and the foundation of most of the animation still today.


via Buzzfeed

The process and techniques behind these were even more detailed and intricate, making a whole movie out of hand drawn animation so seamless it looked like it was computer generated. It seems so simple and flawless, but your opinion on that certainly changes when you learn that over 50 people can be working on just one character in a  film. Compared to yours with one person and limited resources.

The voice recording for the animations is done first, and the animators work to match the voices. Before animation begins they create storyboards to plot the path and motion of what they will animate. Then drafted in pencil- making it through vigourous testing and experimenting until backgrounds are included, and transferred to ink and paint on clear plastic. The photography process is next, and a specific animation rostrum camera is used to capture it. As time and technology went on, the next steps were digital ‘ink and paint’.

Interestingly enough, my process felt really similar to theirs. Just without the 50 people working in unison.