Pax, all!

I know that a few people here have talked about Rotoscoping in Synfig. Should the media company I’m getting started prove a success, we’ll be making extensive use of this technique. With Synfig’s automatic tweening, I’m wondering how many frames should be drawn for each second of animation. That is, how many frames of film could be skipped while still producing natural-looking results? Animation on twos? On threes, or even fours? Knowing this will, of course, help me estimate costs before we dive into a production. I would do a test myself, but my drawing abilities are somewhat…underdeveloped. I don’t think the results would be an accurate reflection of what a more skilled artist could accomplish. Anyway, thanks in advance!

I think it’ll depend on the action in question and the style of animation you’re after in each case. If the action is eccentric and you’re wanting Disney style illusion-of-life animation, then you won’t be able to skip many frames. On the other hand, there’s a walk cycle tutorial in the tutorials section of this site that manages a decent looking walk cycle with just four drawn frames. So, depending on what you’re doing, you may be able to get away with drawing very few frames, or you may have to draw almost all of them.


As muhkayoh wrote, it all depends on the material you’re rotoscoping. Large, fast motion; trace every frame,with calm motion you could get away with every 5th key. Also divide the characters into many different shapes that you move individually.
I worked with rotoscoping on one film, not in synfig but AfterEffects, but I would guess the workflow wouldn’t be much different since aex tween in pretty much the same way.
We did a 5½ minute piece and we were two guys working full time for 3½ months on that. The scenes had an average of two-three characters each.
A tip for you, avoid long loose flying hair, it’s extremely labour consuming. Our main character had hair like this and I’d say 1/4 - 1/5 of the production was tracing her hair…

I’m imagining the joy you must have exuded after finishing up after a day’s work :p. Fortunately our main characters are going to be Koisan, whose hair almost never grows more than two inches away from the head (and that’s the women; the men’s hair typically hugs the head like a cap). We do have one character with long hair, but it will be so straight and oily that it will hang like a weight.

If you don’t mind my asking, what film did you work on? I’ve been going through various animated films with the folks I’m starting this with, and I’d love to include the film you worked on as part of our research.

Hey, thanks for the reply. The walk cycle looks promising, even though I don’t think we’ll be using walk cycles. Most of the character work will involve walking, with a few scenes of running characters. But we’ll be tracing live-action frames. We’ll probably have to set up some kind of a test first to see how various actions turn out. Thanks again!

It’s called “Lies” and is an animated documentary. It consists of three different stories, all done in different techniques. - the rotoscoped parts is near the end of the clip.
Director Jonas Odell at Filmtecknarna in Sweden.

My browser doesn’t like the player. Any optional link?

You can find it on youtube;
(where else?..)