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Old October 14th, 2003, 02:02 PM   #1
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Rotoscoping experience?

Anyone have experience with Rotoscoping of DV footage? Is it an automated process or would it be just as easy to do 6FPS and do it all with layers in Photoshop. Reasoning for my question being that it would be an unusual addition to my "reel" in process.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 02:13 PM   #2
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you haven't detailed what you want to rotoscope in or out and how complex changing one frame would be.

Rotoscoping programs, like the one include with Ulead's editing software will allow you to make changes to a single frame and then copy those changes to as many frames as you want.

AE 6.0 can do some interesting Rotoscoping in that it can, for example, erase the image of a plane taking off with very little work. But it's not good removing stationary objects. And the camera has to be locked down during the take.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 02:29 PM   #3
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Rotoscoping is a general term that can mean either frame-by-frame painting or masking. In the latter sense--a common example of which might be separating a foreground actor from a background without the aid of a keyer--rotoscoping is very much a black art that rarely yields impeccable results with tricky footage, particularly footage with lots of blurred motion. It is only "automated" insofar as programs can interpolate keyframes for bezier curves comprising the mask, but meticulous frame-by-frame adjustment is almost always necessary for just about every frame.

It's unrewarding drudgery not to be wished on the lowliest compositing intern. Rejoice when someone devises an intelligent difference keyer scheme.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 04:48 PM   #4
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Check out Commotion. It's an excellent program for doing roto work. It was used extensively in Gladiator for much of their rotoscope work.

I've used it on a few shots including changing a view out of a window, and twice to change a sky, and two of them were handheld shots.

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Old October 14th, 2003, 05:12 PM   #5
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Didn't realize roto was such a general term, I mean more in the sense on "Waking Life" but not so complex as in some of the scenes. More basic colorfield backrounds with only a couple detailed foreground images, more than likely fixed camera mount or single axis movement. My thoughts are as transitional elements with small amounts of text, scripted scene changes between themes of my demo reel. Just thinking out loud I guess, no better place because all of the members here are such a great resource to folks like me getting back into the field after professional absence. Thanks again and continue this thread as you, we, all see fit.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 05:29 PM   #6
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Ah, that kind of rotoscoping.

Richard Linklater has made much of Bob Sabiston "animation look" roto software, but others were using similar effects using custom software years earlier. See, for example, the short film Plug. Now, such processes are very much automated using plugins for Photoshop that you will probably be able to import into other compositing packages like After Effects and Combustion. I recommend keeping all your elements separate, applying the filter to each element individually and tweaking it accordingly. This will mean shooting actors in front of green screens and keying them out.

Good luck, and be sure to show us the results!
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Old October 14th, 2003, 08:13 PM   #7
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I've done most of my animation-esque roto in Photoshop. I'll export my video as Filmstrip files in 15-second chunks and work with the .flm file in Photoshop. (:15 sec. works best for my system's capabilities: 1.9 Ghtz P4, 768 RAM).

Here's one example of a roto test I did for a band: http://www.arches.uga.edu/~jbritt/possibilities.mpg . (this is an mpg2 file)

This is just a simple application of various filters in P-shop composited with other footage in A.E. 5.5 Standard. This example was done fairly quickly as an idea sketch for the band in the footage, you can easily take it to the next level.

Obviously, you can also paint, etc. onto the footage in p-shop as wellSince I lack the tools required to do this in AE, exporting to P-shop is the easiest way for me to do it. If this were a more integral/important part of my work, I'd invest in an app with more dedicated animation/roto capabilties.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 08:25 PM   #8
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I got an error: "Pins cannot connect due to not supporting the same transport." I solved the problem by right-clicking and saving the file first.

The strobing in the footage is one of the main problems with a single-frame plugin method. More advanced methods use energy contraints to dampen the feature area border movement.

I guess that's where being best friends with Bob Sabiston comes in handy.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 08:30 PM   #9
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I can connect to it from my end. But it is an mpg2, so that may be causing you a problem...


Can you try right-clicking and saving to your hard drive and see if you can play it?
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Old October 14th, 2003, 08:46 PM   #10
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In case you can't get the mpg2 link to work -- Uploaded RealPlayer version of it -- not as good-looking, but it wasn't all that good looking to start with :)

http://www.uga.edu/eecp/media/possibilities.rm
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Old October 14th, 2003, 09:23 PM   #11
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Robert


What strobing are you talking about? Throughout the frame or just in the figures that are 'scoped?

I ask b/c I had a client who complained of strobing throughout the frame w/ the RealPlayer videos on my main site. I saw it for myself (sort of a constant flickering) but I couldn't replicate it on any other computer...
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Old October 14th, 2003, 10:34 PM   #12
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Hey John, I'm referring to the contrast zones on the faces of the performers--how rapidly the boundaries shift, because the algorithm doesn't consider the content of the preceding and succeeding frames.
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Old October 14th, 2003, 10:50 PM   #13
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Ahh...OK

Actually, I kinda like that, particularly with the overlayed lights in the footage. But I know what you mean. Of course, some of that can be fixed with some extra work in PS, but it won't be as easy as with a dedicated application.

Again, if this were a main part of my work, I'd invest in the proper software, but I think that the semi-automated Pshop approach works well enough for what I use it for and if I incorporate the constant color changes into the design. And if the OP's desire is to do a "rotoscope-esque" short clip quickly and with the tools-at-hand, then this may be an option.

Of course, I didn't really like Waking Life, to be honest. I heard so much hype about it, but the style just didn't do it for me. Based on the DVD "making of" extras, I completely appreciate and respect the effort and time that went into the visual work, but the whole "floating elements" look just gave me a headache. Or maybe it was the fact that it was one of Richard Linklater's worst scripts ever. It seemed like sooo much effort went into the visuals but none into the story. With all the work put into the visuals, I wish Dick had had more respect for the story. Just my opinion, though...

EDIT: By the way, in my rush to slag Linklater :) , I forgot to thank you for taking the time to look at my clip and give me constructive input. Thanks for taking a peek at it!
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