|Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt.|
Here is a fabulous rotoscope animation of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt done by one Carli Ihde, a 22-year-old published comic book artist, illustrator, and graphic designer. She must be a big fan! You can visit her original site if you wish.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in case you do not know, is a former child actor who made a big splash on "3rd Rock from the Sun" and as Arthur in "Inception."
Rotoscoping is an animation technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films which have been around since the dawn of animation. It was first used by the legendary Max Fleischer in an early series during the First World War and was used by many others after that. Perhaps its most prominent (and often unnoticed, that's how good it was) use was by Walt Disney in his 1937 "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." It also was used in The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and "The Secret of NIMH," among many, many other uses.
It is a technique that is best when not noticed. A seamless transition from hand-drawn animation to rotoscoping is difficult, but when done properly, it creates an extraordinary extension of the medium. You may notice the difference in the animation, but not really understand why you only know it is fun - that's what the truly skilled animator strives for when rotoscoping. The kiss of death is when the audience knows what's going on, that shatters the whole illusion.
The art of rotoscoping is not lost, but it is somewhat dormant. It is extremely labor-intensive, requiring attention to detail and laborious tracing of every scene. Then, when you add color, it gets even more intense. But with quality animation, such as the above, it is worth the effort.