If you’re new to rotoscoping, this guide will take you to step by step through the process of creating a rotoscope animation. Since the early 1900s, rotoscoping, or tracing over the footage, has been employed in films and video games, and has become a staple of animated films and video games such as The Incredibles, Dragon’s Lair, and Max Payne. While rotoscoping isn’t as popular as it once was, new technology allows you to include it into your films and create unique visual experiences that weren’t before conceivable.


Have you ever considered creating an animated Reel Craze film but are unsure where to begin? Rotoscoping is a technique for transforming live-action film into rotoscope animation.

Step 1: Prepare your workplace

Setting up your workplace is the first step. Any rotoscope animation works on the principle of tracing over film frame by frame. When doing so, having an organized workstation with clear lines of vision between your sketching surface and both displays makes it easy. When working, the more organized you are, the less likely you are to spend time.

Step 2: Create a black-and-white picture.

The next step is to eliminate all of your hues, leaving only one. Because you can concentrate on how lines join rather than coloring, black and white are considerably easier to work with. 

To accomplish so, I use an open-source program called Krita, which has a monochromatic option built-in. You may also desaturate your entire drawing using photoshop or illustrator.

Step 3: Using paintbrushes to add color

It’s time to start coloring now that you’ve sketched out your pictures and tidied up any mistraced lines. This may be done in a variety of ways, depending on whether you want only one color in every frame or more sophisticated color combinations.

Step 4: Using blur filters to clean up the image

Because each of these techniques must be done for each frame, rotoscoping is historically time-consuming. By blurring out everything that isn’t on fire in these steps, you can make them go faster.

This may be done with the built-in blur filters in Adobe After Reelcraze Effects. Simply search for blur under the Effect menu. I layered many different blur effects on top of each other.

Step 5: Incorporate motion

We’ve finished our drawing and are ready to go on. We can give our photographs more life and realism by adding movement to them. I’ll use Adobe After Effects as an example again, but the techniques are applicable to any application. The first thing we’ll need is a moving video clip of some type. Avoid getting one with a lot of fast flashes or lighting changes because they’ll appear terrible when they speed up!

Step 6: Complete the rendering

Once you have created all layers, and colored in all of them, it is time to put them together. In order to do that, create one empty layer above everything. Name it Final Render or something similar.