Rotoscoping: Why we love to hate it

*The above image was rotoscoped using the method described herein. It is taken directly from the finished video I edited for a new reality television show titled, 2ND Chance.

Years ago Rotoscoping was tedious, time consuming and, for many editors, overwhelmingly frustrating. Prior to the advent of Adobe After Effects an Editor would more often then not have to dedicate a full day (sometimes weeks) to successfully rotoscope a moving image just for the simple pleasure of removing (or adding) a non exsisting “element” to either the foreground or background of moving video.

In the early days in order to successfully rortoscope an image an Editor would have to literally trace around a subject by hand (or sometimes the “Talent”) by using the “mask” tool in programs such as Final Cut and early versions of Adobe Premiere.

Most of us were first attracted to the idea of Rotoscoping because we wanted to create our own lightsaber effects. Admit it! We all wanted to be Luke Skywalker, right? For me, however I soon came to realize that due to the insurmountable amount of work that I needed to invest into these effects, and the overwhelming amount of focus I needed to have in order to rotoscope properly I indeed failed horribly.

Today, Rotoscoping is a much simpler process, yet it is just as hard to master, unfortunately. Though, using After Effects it is easy for any visual effects artist to Rotoscope in mere seconds (it’s the rendering process that will make you scream). With the press of a button (literally) you simply trace around your subject and After Effects does the work for you.

Again, let me stress that if you want to Rotoscope your video first know what your doing. Understand the mechanics of After Effects, Mocha and so on. If you go into the process without a clear understanding of how the process works you will inevitably become so frustrated that you give up on it completely. It may sound simple enough to just outline your subject with the roroscope tool (pre-loaded as part of any recent version of After Effects). However, the process is still hard, sometimes incredibly hard so if you want professional looking results then hire a professional.

Rotoscoping in After Effects is not like removing an unwanted background from a picture in Photoshop. These are not static images and depending on the steadiness of the camera you may very well spend hours motion tracking your video as well. It is important to also recognize that when you remove a background from your video you must also be aware of depth perception. Using a background against an image that is disproportionate, stretched, too tall or too wide will make you look like an amateur. Again, be cautious and hone your skills before attempting anything of this caliber.

2ND Chance presents: A Kidney for Kimberly: The secrets behind the original pilot episode

Executive Producer Paul Nutall shocked the world when he announced his ground breaking new show, 2ND Chance. But, like most great ideas 2ND Chance incurred one production stall after another due to cast rivalries, incompetent crew, and breach of confidentiality. In November of 2016 the show seemed to be going nowhere fast. Out of options and out of time, Mr. Nutall willingly took matters into his own hands and decided to start over. With no actors, crew or hope of reviving the show, Mr. Nutall had all but lost hope that he could re-ignite the passion he once felt for his creation. It seemed that his dream of changing lives had suddenly become a nightmare. But, without warning Paul would be reinvigorated when he crossed paths with an editor who’s skills behind the computer were second to none. His name is Drew Glick.

“Drew,” Paul said. “I have had six different editors cut this footage and each one has failed miserably. We’re in danger of losing our ability to sell…” but, before Paul could finish speaking, Drew replied by saying, “Trust me, I won’t let you down.”

Soon after, Drew graciously expressed his opinions to Paul about the footage; made numerous reccomendations such as including voice overs, various styles of color correction techniques, credit sequences and more. However, Paul would be even more shocked when Drew surprised him one day by revealing an entirely rotoscoped sequence of the pilot episode (in lamans terms: removed the original background without the use of green screen). It was a crucial scene and took place during an interview with a prominent doctor. When asked why he would go to such great lengths, Drew replied simply by saying, “Because the background was ugly.” Paul later showed the rotoscoped scene to other industry professionals who were overwhelmed by the level of editing skill. One person, a potential co-producer for 2ND Chance, even asked his own team member after viewing the scene, “Why can’t we do that?” Shortly after Paul took the completed episode to various different television networks who immediately jumped at the opportunity to be part of the show.

The pilot episode focuses on a young lady by the name of, Kimberly Stewart. She suffers from two failed kidneys and has been searching desperately for a living donor. Because of Paul’s efforts and Drew’s elite editing skills Kimberly Stewart now has what she desires most – a 2ND chance.

2nd Chance presents: The Rebirth of Nappy Roots

Vito Tisdale has appeared on numerous television talk shows including, The Tonight Show. His bands incredible rise to fame seemed all but unstoppable. However, not long after something happened – the group disintegrated; they vanished without a word.

Since that time Vito (Tisdale) has lived in solitude; the pressure and stress of a cruel and unforgiving industry had gotten the better of him. For years he drank himself into a state of nothingness; smoking Marijuana and avoiding the outside world at all costs. Still, everyone kept asking, “Where is Vito?” and “What has become of the legendary hip hop group, Nappy Roots?” Now, after years of unanswered questions Vito is getting a 2ND Chance.

See Vito rise and return to mainstream music only on the new reality television show, 2ND Chance (produced by Paul Nutall). And be sure to watch the exclusive trailer (edited by The Glickster) to see what all the hype is about.