05 May 2008

[art] Tom Peterson: Anima-Tergum Sufferer

1532. This is a way fun, funny, clever, witty, and cool YouTube short:

It was developed by a Briton by the name of Tim Hodgson, and is a mockumentary done in straight-up deadpan style whose joke lies in the fact that just one person in the film is rotoscoped. This becomes the joke that our single rotoscoped character suffers from a skin condition that makes him look like a cartoon.

One might ask what rotoscoping is. Despite it being vastly enabled by modern tech, it's actually quite an old style, with Max Fleischer (creator of Betty Boop and Popeye) being credited with creating it (and getting a patent on the first rotoscope).

In that time, rotoscoping involved making a film, projecting it on the back of a glass, light-table style, and then tracing and coloring a cel laid upon it. The original rotoscopes were quite large, as can be seen in the patent diagram at right.

Today, you can use any variety of software tools on the most modest systems to create rotoscopes; here's a tutorial by a fellow who used Photoshop (which will also enable you to create the movie of it ... ). Of course, you're working on a frame-by-frame basis, so you'll be spending a lot of time to create a few seconds of film, but that's the way the great animators have done it.

It looks pretty exciting, is what we think. It's a great effect, and really entertains when it's used creatively, as Tim Hodgson did.

Wasn't that adaptation of A Scanner Darkly done in a rotoscope style? See? It's really got visual and emotional weight. You want to watch!

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stan said...

Don't forget Richard Linklater's Waking Life. Quite a feat of animation, lots of rotoscoping there too. There's also that series of Charles Schwab commercials that, though the subject matter is boring, are absolutely mesmerizing...

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Those are very good suggestions. I'd never saw Waking Life so I'd not thought of that one. But the Schwab commercials ... ah! I just want to watch those over and over, even though they're about the most dry stuff you can imagine. The are incredibly sexy, visually speaking.