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Rotoscope

A frame from the rotoscope.

Hello everyone! After a long absence from this website/blog, I am back! Why was I gone so long? It’s a long story…

In August 2013, one of my favorite Youtube musicians Songs To Wear Pants To/Andrew Huang put out a call to his viewers for artists. He has an 80’s themed album called Love and Desolation, and wanted various artists to contribute to a rotoscoped music video. I decided to email him about it, and after exchanging a few emails, I agreed to help out.

Originally he asked that the project be done by October 2013. Although I hadn’t worked on a rotoscope animation before, I thought that was reasonable and agreed. But as I found out, rotoscoping is an intensive process. As a quick explanation for those who don’t know, the process is:

-Acquire source material, i.e – video footage of a woman dancing.
-Cut the video footage frame-by-frame into individual images.
-Trace each frame in your own personal style.
-Color your traced frame.
-Put frames together for final animation.

For me personally, since I work in watercolors, some additional steps before the final animation are:

-Transfer the tracing to watercolor paper.
-Paint that tracing + various background effects.
-Scan the colored frame into the computer.
-Crop + adjust color saturation in each frame.

So by October, I wasn’t finished. November came by- still wasn’t done. I even took it with me on a vacation with my parents to Oregon so I could keep working. I emailed Andrew admitting that I wasn’t even at 50%, and he told me that it was okay, and to finish as much as I could. I decided as a matter of pride that I would finish the whole thing.

December- I caught a cold (low immune system after working some long nights), but still went on holiday vacation with my parents to Las Vegas, and brought it along to work on at night. January- still working hard. Mid-February- Andrew asked me if I could finish in 6 weeks. I decided to really get myself together and finish within those 6 weeks.

March- I had an intensive 2-week work period where I painted the most frames yet, and even after that I tried to keep an similar pace. Beginning of April- I had a week of vacation to visit my sister and new niece in Maryland, and since I was over 80% done, I brought along some of the remaining frames to work on. Mid-April- 100% finished painting each frame, and had help with scanning all the images. Cropped and adjusted many frames per day, then finally zipped the all the frames together and sent it off to Andrew. He emailed me back saying how much he loved the frames.

This was an exhausting project. Compared to other illustration projects, it’s like the difference between a sprint and a marathon. Clearly I need to work on pacing, time management, and work flow more, but I do feel proud of what I have accomplished.

The final video isn’t up yet, but when it is, I will share it everywhere!

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