The term "rotoscope" goes way back to the time of Max Fleischer's Koko the clown. Back then rotoscope referred to the transparent easel, onto which the movie projector then throws an image of a single film frame.

Currently, rotoscope is a free graphic software used to give photos a cartoon-like effect. This is similar to the technique, rotoscoping, used in movies "A Scanner Darkly" and "Waking Life".

You can download your free rotoscope software here. The site also offers a very brief "how to" that will generally guide you on how to use the software. However if you have photoshop program installed in your computer, you can always use this to achieve the rotoscope effect that has made "A Scanner Darkly" a much talked about movie. I searched the internet and found this rotoscope effect tutorial very helpful. I also found this tutorial, still aiming to get the rotoscope effect however the software used in this tutorial is adobe illustrator.

Rotoscope vs. Rotoscoping

Rotoscope refers to the tool used while rotoscoping is the technique in which animators or video editors used to trace live action sequence, frame-by-frame. Although rotoscoping isn't neccessarily used to achieve the cartoon-like effect, still rotoscoping (also called 'roto') is a neccessary technique used heavily by visual effects designers or video editors to trace outlines over digital film images to produce digital mattes. This technique is still in wide use for special cases where techniques such as bluescreen will not pull an accurate enough matte. Rotoscoping in the digital domain is often aided by motion tracking and onion skinning software. Rotoscoping is often used in the preparation of garbage mattes for other matte-pulling processes.

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