Simply put, rotoscoping is an effect in Adobe After Effects that you can use to trace out an element using the ‘roto brush’ function to put it into a different background. It’s like a green screen effect but without using an actual screen. It’s a great technique to utilize if your film subjects need to be added over a different background, but it is beneficial for a wide range of effects, from subtle to surreal.

Early History 

Originally invented in 1915, it was used as a means to “improve the movement of animated characters and make them look more realistic.” Before computers were widely used, animators would rotoscope by tracing live-action images after projecting them onto a glass panel. A classic example of the best use of rotoscoping in film was demonstrated in the original Star Wars trilogy. Editors traced over a stick that actors held up to create the iconic lightsaber effect. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that an animator by the name of Bob Sabiston invented a way for animators to rotoscope through computer software.

Rotoscoping Today

In today’s digital age of filming, rotoscoping can be used for various things like digitally painting objects and “to remove objects from the film- like pylons, boom mics, or the public straying into the shot.” It continues to innovate and is widely used. Our team at Edit House actually implemented the technique for one of our upcoming video series, Destination: Graduation, featuring students from local high schools for the Rio Rancho Public Schools. Check out the intro video here to see an example of how we used the technique.

Lucas Baca

Lucas Baca

Lucas Baca is a proud native of northern New Mexico who has significantly impacted local businesses since moving to the Albuquerque metro in 2013.

As the first person in his immediate family to earn a degree, Lucas embodies the values of hard work and perseverance. With a diverse professional background spanning over six years, he has gained valuable experience in various fields, from serving as a local advertising account executive to working for a global health communications agency. He is also the current Treasurer and New Pros Chair for the New Mexico Public Relations Society (NMPRSA).

Lucas finds the most fulfillment in work that makes a tangible difference and helps others. He takes particular joy in supporting and promoting local New Mexico businesses, contributing to their growth and success.

Besides his dedication to his community, Lucas has a passion for movies, particularly those of Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, considering himself a true cinephile. Additionally, he is an avid and devoted sports enthusiast, proudly supporting the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Falcons.

Lucas holds a B.A. in Strategic Communication with a minor in Political Science from the University of New Mexico. With his unique blend of expertise, passion for community support, and love for cinema and sports, Lucas is a dynamic individual ready to make a positive impact wherever he goes.