Rotoscopy – What is it? How is it used in anime?

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The rotoscoping technique is famous in the world of animation and filming. It brings the reality of our universe to the animated screens, making the fictional characters gain more natural and human movements – or fighting movements more similar to those of the true masters.

Developed by the Polish-American Max Fleischer, the technique consists of redesigning the frames from filming to be used in animations. Despite being a technique perfected in the story, it was basically it that started the animations.

The developers illustrate the whole movement and, in some productions, the face of the actor who is performing the scene. It is hard work, because it is necessary to illustrate frame by frame.

Rotoscopy - What is it? How is it used in anime?

Nowadays animations usually use 60 frames per second – the famous 60 FPS (frames per second). This means that each second of the film has a total of 60 photos. The illustrator must redraw the movement sixty times. Thus, ensuring the naturalness of the movement and its smoothness.

Despite the great manual work that the creators do when using the technique. The results – if used well – bring great respect and appreciation from the public. Not to mention that sometimes it can be easier than drawing from scratch.

Speaking in this way, we can imagine that rotoscopy is quite similar to stop motion. Both use frames to create an animation, but rotoscoping usually takes these frames directly from film films or photographs.

Rotoscoping in Japanese Anime

The anime that reaped good results from the rotoscoping technique were Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion and Cowboy Bebop: The Movie. They were the two great works responsible for popularizing this technique in anime.

Rotoscopy - What is it? How is it used in anime?

The method not only provides naturalness in anime, but also reduces production costs of same. This is the case of Neon Genesis Evangelion. A film long awaited by fans. Produced in 1997, it was when rotoscoping started to be an option for artists.

However, with a tight budget, it was the only way creators found to make the film possible. Asuka Langley’s struggle – one of the most important scenes in all of Evangelion’s content – was an example of the quality of the technique employed. However, it was the film Cowboy Bebop: The Movie that took off its popularity.

Unfortunately some use the technique of Rotoscopy in the wrong way, just to have less work when drawing the frames manually. This ends up creating works of low quality or that burn the eyes of those who watch.

The biggest anime rotoscoping disaster

A common problem when talking about rotoscopy is the Aku no Hana anime. What counts story of a boy who loves to read books and admires his muse Nanako Saeki from a distance. When it comes a small problem that leaves you not knowing what to do, being, still, blackmailed by an introverted student in the class. The young man feels frightened and brooding over guilt.

Rotoscopy - What is it? How is it used in anime?

At first, the synopsis of Aku no Hana attracts the eyes of fans of the genre shonen. Another drama of Japanese school life that brings out the romance characteristic of the style.

The script interestingly provided the worst rotoscoping reception in the history of anime. Being a reference when speaks in the method of illustration. So, if you’ve heard the words “rotoscoping” and “bad” in the same sentence, it is Aku no Hana’s fault.

The bad reputation of The manga’s adaptation, originally from 2009, was due to the immense reality that the illustrators brought it to the anime – which had only thirteen episodes. So the beautiful script was left behind due to the quality of the animation. AND, unfortunately, the human being is able to remember the bad parts.

Rotoscopy - What is it? How is it used in anime? - hana rotoscopia anime 1

In 2015 it was launched a movie called Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken introduced the public to the true technique of rotoscoping. Viewers evaluate the quality of production: despite the low quality, clearly visible, in some scenes, the authors’ proposal was certainly fulfilled.

Kowabon is another anime that used the tool in its production. From a horror genre, at first it looks more like a bad production – in the style of Aku no Hana. However, the poor quality of the technique used, according to the viewers, provided a darker and bizarre air to the script. In this case, the text and the texture of the image have become united. Generating fear and many scares.

What do you think of the Rotoscoping technique? Have you liked any work that uses this technique entirely or partially? If you liked the article don’t forget to share and leave your comments.

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