How To Become a Rotoscoper

How To Become a Rotoscoper

What is a Rotoscoper?
Rotoscope Artists provide traced outlines (mattes) so that live-action objects can be integrated into layers for films, television shows, and video games. Instead of manually tracing each frame by hand, computers and complex software are used to make the process slightly easier.

What is the Job?
The main duties of a Rotoscoper involve tracing over live-action movements on film, in order to create more realistic and fluid animation. Modern technology has allowed this process to become a lot easier than it used to be; the old technique of projecting film images onto a glass panel to be redrawn has almost completely been replaced by computers. Rotoscopers will create detailed digital mattes with 2D image processing and drawing tools. The mattes are then used to remove wires, rigs, and other unwanted elements, as well as to make background fixes and extractions.

Rotoscopers are highly important in the visual effects field, as they are responsible for creating mattes that combine different elements of foreground images, to be composited over background images, to create a single finished product. Despite the fact that Rotoscopers are not required in every instance of animation or visual effects, they are still required by many studios.

If you’re unsure on exactly what Rotoscoping is, and want to see what type of work a Rotoscoper does, take a look at this video:

Key Skills

  • Knowledge of the latest software, such as Shake, Nuke, and Digital Fusion.
  • Excellent drawing and painting skills.
  • Good eye for detail.
  • Ability to create exact and consistent images in a timely manner.
  • Patience.
  • Ability to work well in a team.
  • Knowledge of the rotoscoping process.

Salary & Working Hours
The average salary of a Rotoscoper is up to £25,000 per year. Rotoscopers can expect to work a normal shift of 9am to 5pm, however, in some circumstances they may be required to work outside those hours if deadlines are fast approaching.

How To Become a Rotoscoper
The role of a Rotoscoper is an entry-level position, but nevertheless, becoming one still requires a fair bit of education and experience. The degrees that are most commonly held by Rotoscope Artists are degrees in fine art, drawing, animation, and graphic design. It can be a good entry level job for graduates, straight from university, or it may be a position gained after promotion from lower level jobs such as a Runner. In most cases, you will need to provide a portfolio to demonstrate your talent and abilities. Therefore, gaining as much experience as you can, through internships, work experience and educational courses will all boost your chances of getting a position.

Where Can It Take You?
As the role of a Rotoscoper is an entry-level position, the opportunities for promotion and advancement are fairly big. For most people, being a Rotoscoper is not their final career destination, but it is a role that will provide them with a good amount of experience, and it can be a key to proving your digital artistry and work ethic on the path to promotion and advancement. The position of Rotoscoper often leads to more lucrative and skilled positions such as Compositor.

Latest Rotoscoper Jobs

Become a Rotoscoper
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest Rotoscoper vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest VFX vacancies here.