Traceloops: Matthias Brown Uses Rotoscoping and Other Experimental Techniques on His Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs are everywhere, but dig these fantastic looping animations from Matthias Brown! He’s using the old school technique of rotoscoping – a technique invented in 1915 by Max Fleischer where animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films (the same technique notoriously used in the animated ’70s version of The Lord of the Rings). Here the process lends a refreshingly analogue look to this viral form of digital media, in many cases even revealing the corner marks Brown uses to align his many frames.

1950’s Disney Live Models Combined with Cartoon

Sleeping Beauty

Long before computer animation, in the old, magical, early days of Disney, animators used a rotoscope to draw over live-action film. Frame by frame, the artists would trace over the actors and actresses that enacted each scene. Retronaut dug up some of these old images from Disney movies and it’s amazing to see the actresses that played our beloved princesses like Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. Disney was ahead of the trend, slimming down the waists of the models for the animated version, like the magazines now do regularly with Photoshop.

Night and Day At the Same Time

By combining timelapse and rotoscoping techniques, director Philip Stockton presents New York City in a new light… and darkness at the same time. By piecing together scenes that were shot in the same location for 4 to 8 hours, Stockton collides daytime and nighttime into one gorgeous shot. See brightly lit cars on lamplit streets and sunlit people walking through nighttime intersections. The awe-inspiring imagery is well worth the months of late nights Stockton spent seamlessly editing this footage together. What an amazing idea!