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Rotoscoping is a type of animation in which the characters have life like motions. This is achieved by tracing motion picture footage, frame by frame, producing a realistic action. This can be done using a projector that casts an image on a “stroboscope,” which is a glass surface and then tracing each one with pens. Rotoscope animation is also called 'roto'. It was developed by Max Fleischer, a renowned cartoonist, and later popularized by Walt Disney.


Rotoscope for Reference

In roto for reference, the live action footage shot by humans is used as a reference point for character’s motion. Rotoscope animators make use of both an actor’s body movements and their facial expressions. This method of rotoscoping was developed by Walt Disney. An example of this type of rotoscoping is Disney's Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.


Partial Rotoscoping

Partial rotoscoping is done by animators to maintain human-like proportions for their characters when they make a human-like animation. They trace sketches from live-action scenes and then change it into cartoons to maintain the proportions between animated characters and real-life human beings. This lets the animation have convincing motion, and the animators can still use any style they want.


Digital Rotoscoping

Rotoscoping can also be used for creating visual effects in live-action films. The animators trace an object and create a silhouette (called a matte). This is then used to extract that object from a scene for use on a different background. Some common softwares that can be used for this are  Adobe After Effects and Silhouette FX.




  • Rotoscoping makes it easier to edit live frames to add or eliminate an element from it.
  • Animations can be made with movements that perfectly imitate real life.
  • The proportions of the cartoon animations are comparable to real life.
  • Rotoscope animations have better motion timing because it is a copy of real life.
  • With the help of digital software it has become easier to do rotoscoping. It is more productive and easier to do.



  • Loving Vincent
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • Sin City
  • Disney movies like Cinderella, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfsand Alice in Wonderland
  • The Lord of The Rings movies



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