“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.” – Walt Disney
Rotoscoping is an animation technique that animators use to trace over motion picture footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action. Originally, animators projected photographed live-action movie images onto a glass panel and traced over the image.
This project is the second of three projects designed to introduce my students to most of the tools in the Sketchbook by Autodesk app. You can read about the first, which was a 3-part project, here: Digital Drawings
Not only is the technique of Painting Over Photos to create animations, it’s a great way to learn to use and apply the many brushes in the app and to learn about the importance of carefully arranged layers – both critical thinking and problem solving in one exercise with a little bit of creativity and self-expression mixed in.
The assignment was to open Sketchbook with a photo (any subject matter) and add a layer right away for painting an outline. Next steps are to:
1. Add a layer between the first two for “sketchy painting” (finding lights and darks)
2. Duplicate the outline layer, place it under the “sketchy” layer and flood fill a medium tone.
3. Delete the original photo.
4. Add a background.
All these steps can be seen in the tutorial video:
This project was due on Tuesday, October 27, when Halloween was definitely in the air. Although I don’t plan projects around holidays to respect the cultural diversity of my student population, the students themselves often choose to include holiday imagery. Using Sketchbook to carve a pumpkin is fun and there’s no mess! Here are a couple of Halloween projects:
On the other hand, this one, by Ekakshar B., is much more personal and documents this moment in history, the time of the 2020 pandemic. Yet it also seems to send a message of hope and optimism with the “sun shining on me”.
Many students identified immediately with the cartoon/animation possibility with this medium, gravitating toward a fun and cheerful approach, while others chose to paint over photos of pets, would-be pets, and references from the visual culture:
There are so many excellent artworks responses to this assignment. I’ve already broken my own self-imposed rule of showcasing ten images in a post by including twelve in this one. All of the rest of the eventual 100+ can be found on our online gallery at Artsonia: Painting Over Photos (Rotoscoping)