Step 1: Conceptualize

The first step is for the students to conceptualize what their 15 seconds will look like.  In the past I have done this by having them do a “Mad Lib” (remember Mad Libs?). 

  1.     Students write down a 2 nouns (location and object) and 2 verbs,

  2.     Then reveal this sentence:

A ball gets passed to you as you are (action ending in ‘ing’) at / in the (noun: name of place) .   You look at it, and transform it into  a (noun) as you (verb) with/to it. It transforms back and gets  passed on to the next person.

  1.   Invariably, 25 to 50% of the students ask if they can change one or both of their words.  Usually this is fine, the Mad Lib exercise is a better starting point then ending point.   They may replace any of the words to make their mini story work better.

Step 2: Storyboard

Students create a storyboard based on the sentence above.

One of the things that makes rotoscoping such a unique form of animation, is that it creates a feeling of real motion and emotion.   Therefore a variety of camera angles, shots and movement can really add to the final product.

You can make storyboard paper (I use Microsoft Excel to draw boxes) or download storyboard paper here.

Step 3: Film

Since the students will be animating over the video and then removing the footage entirely, lighting is not required, but it is recommended.  Lighting helps give definition.  Edges will be clearer, and if a student chooses to animate lights and shadows instead of (or in addition to) outlines, it is absolutely necessary.  Use a basketball or soccer ball as a prop.

Step 4: Edit

I use imovie for this project, but any video editing program will work just fine.  It is important the students keep to exactly 15 seconds!  It can be challenging to get this down to such a short amount of time. 

Step 5: Export / Import

Export the project as a self contained movie, and import it into Flash (or whatever animation/video compositing program you are using). 

Step 6: Rotoscope!

This is the fun part! As long as you follow the rules,  you can handle this however you’d like.  Its up to you! However, if you want some guidance for our basic process, see our How To page. Update for 2010: We no longer require the project be rotoscoped. If you would like to submit another kind of animation, anything that fits within the rules (see above) will be accepted.

Step 7: Send it!

Information about uploading or sending your files, as well as the 2012 deadline will be posted here later. You will also be notified by joining our mailing list on the playball page.

Step 9: Watch it!

The final video will make its debut at the second annual Shanghai Student Film Festival.  It will also be available online upon completion on Vimeo, as well as this site. 

Are You Ready?

Play Ball!

Below you will find a general guideline for participation in the Rotoball project.  In addition, you can find a lesson plan here, and a handout here.  There’s also a poster here.

Step 8: Participate

Teachers- be sure to join the Rotoball Forum on Art Ed 2.0.  There, teachers can discuss the project, exchange ideas, and ask questions. 

Step 10: There is no Step 10

You’re done.  There is no spoon either.

CHANGED in 2010