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Rotoscoping in Synthetik Studio Artist, Part 2

Keyframing with autorotoscoping By Dave Nagel
In our last look at Synthetik Studio Artist, we explored the program's "automatic rotoscoping" feature for the creation of painterly effects over video. But chances are, if you're working with live-action footage, you'll want to combine the painterly with the photographic, and, to do this, you'll want to transition into the painterly by building up your effect over time. You can do this in Studio Artist by simply keyframing your strokes.

The only real difficulty here is knowing where to look in order to keyframe the parameters that will allow you to transition your effect the way you want. And with literally thousands of parameters available in Studio Artist's Paint Synthesizer (the engine that powers the brushes in Studio Artist), that can be a bit difficult. But there are essentially two ways in which you'd want to keyframe the paint strokes in this sort of effect: the opacity of the strokes and the actual number of strokes in any given frame. In addition, if you want to include filter-style effects (called "Image Operations" in Studio Artist) in your rotoscoped animation, you'll want to know how to keyframe the blending for those effects as well. We'll take a look at all three scenarios in this tutorial.

Creating the Paint Action Sequence
Most rotoscoping tasks in Studio Artist begin with the creation of a Paint Action Sequence (PAS). The PAS stores all of the actions you perform on an image, then plays back those actions over and over for each frame of your video. In the process, every frame of your source footage is analyzed so that the brush strokes and other effects stored in the PAS are unique for each frame in your final animation. (This is especially useful when you're trying to create a hand-painted look.)

We discussed the creation of Paint Action Sequences in Part 1 of this tutorial series. If you haven't done so already, you should go back and read it to familiarize yourself with the process. You can find it by clicking here.

For my example for this tutorial, I'm going to create a PAS that combines multiple paint strokes and image effects to produce a sketchy pastel look, seen below.

Of course, with this sort of effect, there's really no single way to do it. You might go for chalk, charcoal, watercolor, oil or any other sort of medium you'd like to use. The example above combines five paint brushes (three different types of pencils, plus two soft paint brushes), along with two image effects. If you'd like to use my sequence of actions as a reference point, you can download it here:

Download: Sketch-Fade4a.zip (16 KB)

In order to use this, unzip the file. Then, in Studio Artist, choose File > Import > Paint Action Sequence Import. The sequence will then appear in your PAS palette, and you can apply to to your own video footage, as discussed in Part 1 of this series.

Here are the steps in order of the sequence. All of the brushes and effects used in this example are stored in my Paint Action Sequence, so you'll be able to access and use them as you see fit by downloading that file from the link above. There are eight steps to this process.

1. Set Paint Background. Because I'm building up my animated sequence over moving footage, I'll need to clear the background for each step. Otherwise I'll wind up with motion trails in the early frames of the animation, as there won't be enough strokes to cover up strokes from the previous frames.

2. Autopaint. For the first paint step, I'm apply a simple colored pencil.

3. Autopaint. The next step is another colored pencil, this one a bit thicker to fill in some of the areas that were missed by the first pencil.

4. Autopaint. The third Autopaint style is like a rough, dry chalk. I use it to fill in the color in the image and soften up the sketch effect a bit.

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Related Keywords:synthetik studio artist, rotoscoping, rotoscope, painterly effects, animation, painting on video

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