R O T O B A L L       F A Q

  1. 1.Do I have to use Flash or Photoshop?

No! We are not promoting any specific product.   Although this site features tutorials in both of those software programs, we will accept all kinds of animations made in whatever program and whatever way that you can get it into a movie file.

  1. 2. Can we have sound?

The short answer is “no”.  The longer answer is that if  you put sound in, I will try my best to integrate it into the larger project where possible.  However, please be sure that any sound you include doesn’t ‘make or break’ your project, as it might not be there in the final version.

  1. 3. Does my whole class have to participate?

We’d love it, but... No! This project is now open to any student who wants to try their hand at rotoscoping or has an animation style they think would make a great segment.   However, we recommend this as a group project for the younger kids.

4. What other programs can we use?

Adobe After Effects, if you have it, is a very powerful video compositing program that lends itself to rotoscoping- if you have some students with advanced video skills, it is an excellent alternative to Flash.

Wax is a free open-source video compositing program for PC.

Istopmotion is a relatively inexpensive mac program.

Blender is a powerful and free 3D rendering and animating program.

We will also accept any non-rotoscoped animation that fits in within the project parameters - although we will not change the name of the project.  Animaball just doesn’t sound as good.

5. Nope. We like Flash. Where can I find good tutorials?

I’ve posted a few on the Resources page, but there are many to be found online.  

6. Will all submitted work be included?

This project is open for students in elementary through high school.  Work that is considered inappropriate for school or contains blatant abuses of copyrighted material, will  not be included.  In addition, if the submitted work does not fall within the project guidelines (as described on the Rotowhat page) it may not be included. However, if there is a problem with a specific piece, we will contact you. 

7. Isn’t Rotoscoping just a whole lot of tracing?

Well.   Tracing is involved, but students will be much more successful if you think of the video image as simply the template.  The possibilities of what you do with your filmed image once you bring it into your animating program are limitless. See the examples on the Resources page (especially Snack and Drink).

  1. 8.Yeah, but its still very repetitive and a lot of work!

That’s not a question!  But yes, it can be, and here are my two solutions for classroom teachers:

  1. 1.When students get tired of drawing the same thing over and over again, have them switch to work on other layers.   They can create and design rich and interesting world for their rotoscoped selves to inhabit.

  2. 2.Take your time with this project!  This project is a great “background” activity.  Think about doing this project for five to ten minutes a day at the start or end of the period. In the beginning you’ll need to take a little more time to film the video and import it into flash.  Once the students have gotten rolling with the project (get it? Rotoball- rolling...? oh never mind...), stop, and work on other projects. You can give them a few minutes a day or take a break from other projects to work on the rotoscope project.  Often when students say “I’m finished”, they just need to do something else for a while.  Rotoscoping is a great way to keep the hand moving and the mind concentrated on a specific task.  Also, if you’re doing this for a video class in which you have group projects- this is a great activity for students when there are too many cooks at the pot on a given day.  I plan on starting in November and finishing in March. 

  3. 3.Use a different form of animation for this project.  Stop motion, 3D animation, cell animation, claymation... whatever works for you.

  1. 9.Is this a school project or can anyone play?

This project is open to any student or class.  It can be adapted in any number of ways to accommodate your class or students’ needs.

  1. 10.What is the real significance of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Beyond Clarke’s description of it being a sort of intergalactic swiss army knife?  Answer: Think about it from a different perspective...

  1. 11.I’m Ready! How can we participate?

Play Ball!

What is Rotoscoping?

Rotoscoping is the process of frame by frame animating that uses a videotaped or filmed image as a template. See the Wikipedia entry on Rotoscoping for more information.