Exploring 3D Playblast-To-2D Animation Rotoscoping Techniques

Keywords: animation, 2D animation, 3D playblast, Rotoscope, Adobe Animate CC, Toon Boom Harmony


Rotoscoping can produce believable 2D animation and movements when the process is done correctly. However, not all live-action footage can be easily rotoscoped due to scenes or fictional designs that are impossible to shoot. To overcome this technical challenge, 3D playblast can be used as footage for an alternative source for rotoscoping. This research aims to explore and evaluate two rotoscoping techniques of transforming 3D playblast into 2D animation. Two different animation software (Adobe Animate CC and Toon Boom Harmony) were used to explore those rotoscoping techniques. The method began by designing a storyboard with dynamic camera angles. Then, animated 3D models were developed based on the storyboard as footage for rotoscoping. Then, those animated 3D models were rotoscoped frame by frame using ‘Toon Boon Harmony’ and ‘Adobe Animated CC’. The rotoscope outputs were evaluated for their effectiveness and weaknesses. Findings show that rotoscoping frame by frame is viable for both software with some nuances. Nevertheless, the proposed rotoscope techniques can maintain consistency between each frame without losing the proportion of anatomy and style when animating in an extreme and distorted scene.


A-ha. (2010, January 7). A-ha - Take On Me (Official Video) [Remastered in 4K]. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914

Adi Satria, D. (2019). Analisis Penggunaan Puppet Pin Rigging Pada Pergerakan Karakter Animasi 2D. Ejournal.Upbatam.Ac.Id, (0274). Retrieved from http://ejournal.upbatam.ac.id/index.php/jif/article/view/1346

Adobe. (2021, May 16). Animating with Puppet tools in After Effects. Retrieved September 14, 2021, from https://helpx.adobe.com/in/after-effects/using/animating-puppet-tools.html

Agarwala, A., Hertzmann, A., Salesin, D. H., & Seitz, S. M. (2004). Keyframe-based tracking for rotoscoping and animation. ACM SIGGRAPH 2004 Papers, SIGGRAPH 2004, 1(212), 584–591.

Blake, A., & Isard, M. (1998). CONDENSATION — Conditional Density Propagation for Visual Tracking. International Journal of Computer Vision, 29(1), 5–28. Retrieved from http://www.springerlink.com/index/xl887466h454318k.pdf

Bratt, B. (2011). Rotoscope Technique and tools for the Aspiring Artist (Vol. 148).

Callum May, & Kim Morrissy. (2018, January 11). Interview: Yuichi Terao, Chief of Ufotable’s Digital Team - Anime News Network:SEA. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2018-01-10/interview-yuichi-terao-chief-of-ufotable-digital-team/.125658

Coulthard, P. (2020, April 17). Blender Grease Pencil - Storyboard Animatic Tutorial - 6 of 6 - Rotoscoping in 3D space, import FBX. Retrieved September 16, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9_kXQFeQ2w

Eriya, & Zhafiri, F. A. (2017). Pembuatan Film Animasi “TEMAN” Menggunakan Teknik Puppet Pin dan Duik sebagai Media Edukasi Anak. Multinetics, 3(1), 32.

Gabe, M. (2014). CAMERA ANGLES: the Art of Manipulation. Retrieved from http://www.elementsofcinema.com/cinematography/camera-angles-and-composition/

Gossman, R. (2012). The Animation Production Process, 1–8.

Heiderich, T. (2012). Cinematography Techniques : The Different Types of Shots in Film. Videomaker, 1–17.

Irani, M. (2002). Multi-frame correspondence estimation using subspace constraints. International Journal of Computer Vision, 48(3), 173–194.

Jaran, S. (2015). History Of The Rotoscoping Technique – Brattle Theatre Film Notes. Retrieved September 11, 2021, from https://www.brattleblog.brattlefilm.org/2015/09/11/history-of-the-rotoscoping-technique-2-3231/

Johnson, P. (2014, June 13). Rotoscoping over 3D reference. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0taAlZ_MxA

Johnson, P. (2018, November 10). How To Animate an 80s Anime Ship. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMUcafde5A4&t=0s

Karpathyova, I. (2017). Rotoscoping Design for Bodily Technique and Interdisciplinary Research on Animation as Embodied Practice. OCAD University, 4, 9–15.

Kitahata, K., & Sakamoto, Y. (2018). Evaluation of reducing three-dimensionality of movement to create 3DCG Animation looks more like 2D Animation. SIGGRAPH Asia 2018 Posters, SA 2018, 1, 2017–2018.

Lucas, T. (2019). Exploring the effect of realism at the cognitive stage of complex motor skill learning. E-Learning and Digital Media, 16(4), 242-266. https://doi.org/10.1177/2042753019835893

Pav, N. (2021, March 21). Adobe Animate Review: Best for Hobbyists or Creative Pros? Retrieved September 14, 2021, from https://www.softwarehow.com/adobe-animate-review/

Riverman Media. (n.d.). From 2D to 3D and Back: Rotoscoping in Pizza Vs. Skeletons. Retrieved from https://rivermanmedia.com/from-2d-to-3d-and-back-rotoscoping-in-pizza-vs-skeletons/

Ruddell, C. (2012). “Don’t box me in”: Blurred lines in waking life and a Scanner Darkly. Animation, 7(1), 7–23.

Sabiston, B. (2017, June 1). Waking Life: Rotoscoping (HOW THE MOVIE WAS MADE). Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJwjSV6VEpc

Spot Ceres. (2012, April 16). SPOT CERES - LA CITTÀ HA BISOGNO DI EROI (spot 2012). Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9Zm7AqA0G4

Swarbrick, R. (2021, April 30). Rotoscope: The dark art of animation | shots. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://shots.net/news/view/rotoscope-the-dark-art-of-animation

Team Miracles. (2020, March 17). Rotoscoping Over 3D Animation with Grease Pencil | Blender 2.81. Retrieved September 15, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6w-oWr-AvA

Torresani, L., & Bregler, C. (2002). Space-Time Tracking. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Including Subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 2350, 801–812.

Ufotable. (2013). ufotable digitalteam demoreel on Vimeo. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/77675596

Uğur, U. Y. (2014). Ultimate Rigs for FREE on Behance. Retrieved September 12, 2021, from https://www.behance.net/gallery/17774421/Ultimate-Rigs-for-FREE

How to Cite
Syarifuddin, A., & Lucas, T. (2021). Exploring 3D Playblast-To-2D Animation Rotoscoping Techniques. Trends in Undergraduate Research, 4(2), d1-13. https://doi.org/10.33736/tur.3499.2021
Applied and Creative Arts