Autodesk Toxik: How to Rotoscope

Rotoscope is an old process which has been used by the film industry since 1915 when Max Fleischer first invented it. You can use  Adobe Photoshop or Corel Photopaint to complete the task.

Step1: Select Your First Photo to Rotoscope

Select your first photo to rotoscope and bring it up in the program you are about to use.

Step 2: Decide on a Tool

Decide which tool you are going to use. Use either the lasso or the pen; both will work. Once you have decided on a tool, draw around the person or object you are going to cartoon.

Step 3: Transfer to New Layer

Transfer the lassoed image to a new layer. Your layer box will be on the right of your screen. Place it on layer 1 as a new image.

Step 4: Manipulate the Image

There is an effect in Photoshop called Poster Edge. With the image you are working on selected, go to the filters, choose Artistic and then choose Poster Edge. Here, you have various effects you can choose. Posterization needs a lower setting, as this sets the number of colors you will be working with.

Set the edge thickness to your require number and do the same with edge intensity. Try adjusting them and notice the different effects you can create. With a small number of pixels you get one effect, but as you switch to a higher number you create a totally different effect. Play with it awhile and learn the options you have. Once you have decided on your best result, click OK.

Step 5: Add a Black Line

Now that your person or article is cartoon looking, accent it by adding a black line around it. Go to the layer styles and choose “Stroke.” Pick your color as black. And return to the Stroke and choose the pixel width. Then choose to center it. Now you are ready to accentuate your person or article. Apply the stroke around the article or person.

Step 6: Add the Final Addition to the Figure or Article

Give depth to the person by adding a shadow effect. In the layer box you have an effect called Drop shadow. With your layer box open, go to drop shadow. Click on it and apply the percentage you wish to have. The higher the number, the darker is the shadow. You can stretch the shadow by pulling the slider bar wider. Decide on the length of shadow you want and click OK.

Step 7: Clean up the Image

It is now time to clean the image up. To clean up excess shadows or lines, you will be using the Eraser tool. First, convert this image to a layer. Click on the style and then click on create a layer. Now combine the two resulting layers, and you are ready to clean the picture with the eraser. This tool gives you the choice of thickness you want to use, from a very fine to a bigger pixel count. Choice the size you are happy with and start to clean up the image by removing unwanted shadows or black stroke areas. Often shadows fall where they aren’t wanted; now is the time to remove them.

Step 8: Combine

You now have several layers, all belonging to the same photo. It is time to combine them for the final rotoscope product.