In order to automate the rotoscoping process, a program would somehow have to know magically what it's supposed to do with each new frame in an animation. That's what Studio Artist does.
TUTORIAL JUNE 19, 2001
Post Processing in Studio Artist
Using autorotoscoping tools on 3D animations
We've spent a lot of time of the painting tools in Synthetik Studio Artist. There's still a lot more to cover in that area, but I thought we'd take a detour this week to look at one of Studio Artist's major featuresits rotoscoping capabilities.
If you don't have Studio Artist and would like to follow along, visit http://www.synthetik.com.
works in Studio Artist
The rotoscoping tools in Studio Artist don't resemble either one of these, although the result is more akin to the Fleischer model.
Studio Artist uses a unique process called "autorotoscoping." Essentially what it allows you to do is to paint over a frame of an animation, and then apply those strokesuniquelyto every other frame in the animation.
The key word here is "uniquely." If you think about the problem of automating rotoscoping, you realize that to apply one frame's worth of paint strokes over an entire animation results in a very lengthy still frame. In other words, in order to automate the rotoscoping process, a program would somehow have to know magically what it's supposed to do with each new frame in an animation.
That's what Studio Artist does.
In this first installment of our look at Studio Artist's autorotoscoping tools, we're going to postprocess a small piece of animation that I output from a 3D program. You could do this with any piece of video though, since Studio Artist supports any CODEC you have installed on your system that can be recognized by QuickTime.
This particular installment will focus entirely on the automated rotoscoping process. You can also combine manual and automatic rotoscoping or do it all manually, both of which we'll examine in the future.
DEFINITION: We'll be referring to something called "PASeq" in this tutorial. PASeq stands for "Paint Action Sequence." This is simply the list of effects and parameters that Studio Artist will be recording for you as we go along. I'll show you how below.
NOTE: If you'd like to see these effects in action for yourself, you can download my own Paint Action Sequences (PASeqs) and apply them to your own footage. You can download them here. To use these, just unstuff them and then go into Studio Artist and select Action > Import Paint Action Sequence. In the last part of this article, we discuss how to apply these actions to a movie.
So let's take a look at what we're going to do here. The first two examples below were rotoscoped from the third example below. You can click on the two processed images to see the animations, bearing in mind that compression for the Web has reduced the quality of the output.
I'm a fan of both of these. The first one looks something like colored pencil with acrylics, while the second looks like a bad photocopy that's been drawn over with a marker or watercolor pen. These in no way represent the limits of Studio Artist, but let's see how these particular pieces were made.
TIP: In Studio Artist, every stroke of every frame is unique, which requires special considerations. If you use a "normal" frame rate of 24 or 30 FPS, your background will look more like noise than art. So lower the frame rate to 8 or 10 FPS, at the most. You can then remap your footage in a compositing application, such as Adobe After Effects, to run at your desired frame rate.
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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.