Rotoscoping began as an animation technique of frame by frame drawings, but is now more frequently used as a VFX tool for hiding wires and creating CGI worlds.
Animator Max Fleischer wanted to quickly draw realistic character movement. He came up with the idea to film live-action footage then trace over the footage frame by frame. The result was rotoscoping, which he patented in 1915.
From the hand-drawn animations of the early 1900s to the computer-generated characters of the biggest blockbuster films of today, rotoscoping has adapted to be the most useful technique for animators.
By the 1970s, rotoscoping had become a common technique for visual effects artists. However, it was constantly being used to create new and exciting elements. Though the technique was old, it was still adapting to create effects that were blowing audiences away.
In 1977, audiences were introduced to the lightsaber in Star Wars. The mind-blowing laser sword was actually nothing more than a rotoscoped stick. See how the team created the lightsaber in this Star Wars behind the scenes video.
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