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Post Processing in Studio Artist

Using autorotoscoping tools on 3D animations By Dave Nagel
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 features?its rotoscoping capabilities.

If you don't have Studio Artist and would like to follow along, visit http://www.synthetik.com.


How rotoscoping works in Studio Artist
When you think of rotoscoping, you probably think of labor-intensive techniques used to remove wires from movie scenes or to clean up mattes or to perform some other technical clean-up job. Or maybe you think of Max Fleischer and his original rotoscope device, wherein an "artist" would trace over the individual frames of a live-action sequence to produce cartoons like Gulliver's Travels or Popeye the Sailor or Superman.

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 strokes?uniquely?to 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.


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