SchoolArts Magazine

December 2016

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Roto-what? T E C H N O L O G Y Jeanne Bjork T ake on me, take me home, I'll be gone...do these song lyrics sound familiar? Still not sure? The song is "Take On Me" by the Norwegian band A-ha. Their video was always more interesting to me than the song itself. It showed a live-action girl in a diner who's looking at a comic book, and ends up being pulled into the cartoon by the guy in the drawing, played by Morten Harket, the lead singer of the band. Roto-what? The music video for "Take On Me" features an animation technique called "rotoscoping." Roto-what, you might ask? Rotoscoping involves shooting live-action video footage that is then drawn over frame by frame to give the animated drawings realistic movements. In the A-ha video, the rotoscoping took nearly 3,000 frames and sixteen weeks of work to complete. Rotoscoping may seem modern, but it is not a new tech- nique. It's been around for quite some time and can be used in the classroom with very low-tech materials. The History of the Rotoscope In 1915, Max Fleischer patented a piece of projection equipment used in animation and film studios. Origi- nally recorded live-action film images were projected onto a frosted glass panel and then redrawn by an anima- tor. This projection equipment was called the rotoscope. Fleischer used the equipment to create his series of cartoon shorts titled Out of the Ink- well. Most contemporary rotoscope animation is created with a video sequence and then drawn digitally with software, a tablet, and a stylus. The video layers are removed once the drawn frames are finished and all that remains is the drawn animation. Anyone Can Rotoscope! Any type of media can be used to cre- ate rotoscope animation, and almost a nyone at any age can learn it. It's a very slow and labor-intensive process, but if organized creatively, students at any level could take on a rotoscope project, making something truly entertaining and creative. It may even inspire students to pursue a future career in animation! Animation Terminology Understanding animation's unique vocabulary will help students in creat- ing successful rotoscope animations. "Frames" are the individual drawing spaces for each layer of action in an animation. "Frame rate per second" (fps) is the number of frames per sec- ond it takes to produce an animation. Most animators will draw at 10 to 12 fps for rotoscope animation. Animators use a special "light box" with a "peg bar" and punched paper that fits the peg bar. The light box allows the animator to preview the animation by lining up and layering the pages on top of each other. For complete instructions on how to make rotoscope animations using Flash and Photoshop, go to phsanima- tionexperimentalvideo.wikispaces. com/Rotoscope+HOW+TO. Jeanne Bjork is head of the art department at Pewaukee High School in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. jeannebjork@ att.net N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Creating: Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work. W E B L I N K www.youtube.com/ watch?v=djV11Xbc914 An pe of media can be used to create rotoscope animation, and almost an one at an ge can learn it. 14 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts

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