Easy Rotoscope Animation

Rotoscoping and its Uses

Rotoscoping is a technique of creating hand drawn animations, which is used to get a charming handmade look and achieve very fluid and realistic movement at the same time, especially for organic animation like of human figures. It is also an easy technique to start creating hand drawn animations for inexperienced people, of which I am one.

The basic principle of rotoscope animation is to film the actions you want to draw first, and then draw your actual animation over it, using the video as a base. For a first exercise and to avoid becoming frustrated, it is a good idea to chose a video with for example just a moving hand in front of a simple background. You should start out simple with an easy rotoscope animation and then you can increase the difficulty over time.

Photoshop CC setup for an easy rotoscope animation

Creating a Rotoscope Animation

Setup in Photoshop CC

In practice, the setup for an easy rotoscope animation can be created in Photoshop as follows:

  1. Change your workspace to the following preset: Motion.
  2. Import your video file, which will be the base for your simple and easy rotoscope animation.
  3. Create an new blank video layer on which you will draw the actual animation.
  4. Navigate using the timeline below. Here you can also change the frame rate and turn on onion skinning to match your needs.
  5. Frame by frame you can now go through the timeline, drawing the most visible lines on the animation layer on top of the video layer.
  6. When you are done, you can turn off the video layer and export your animation to a video file.

And you are already done! Your first easy rotoscope animation is finished and you have hopefully had some fun and gained some experience.

Easy Rotoscope Animation Example

This is actually my first easy rotoscope animation, which I have created this afternoon, following the instructions of my lovely illustration lecturer:

If your goal is to rotoscope humans and learn to get the proportions right, I have another good exercise for you: Basic Human Figure Drawing