codeblog code is freedom — patching my itch

January 7, 2006

cheap auto-rotoscoping

Filed under: Multimedia — kees @ 2:35 pm

In the back of my head, I’ve been wondering about various ways I could use my $20 camcorder. Making cheap movie shorts, like SNL’s “Lazy Sunday” come to mind. There are no fancy zooms or special effects. It’s all editing and audio. Bryce kicked some ideas my way, most of which include using the dogs and/or cats as the primary actors (I can pay them in kibble). He also suggested renewing my father’s Rottweiler Camcorder with a much smaller device. I think the images would be mostly obscured by my dog’s chin. We’ll see. I also worry it may suffer from being summarily ingested.

While playing Name that Tune 80s DVD Edition, the a-ha video for “Take On Me” came on. The rotoscoping used to create the animated parts made me think of Inkscape‘s autotracing function, and I lept up to go investigate the possibilities.

So far, I’ve played with two styles. One leaves the autotraced fill areas (which makes a video look like a really freaky cartoon), and one that reduces the fill opacity, and adds line density so it looks more like a regular outlined cartoon. That one tends to be distracting, though, since the edges keep jumping all over the place.

The autorotoscope script requires mplayer, ImageMagick, autotrace, and ffmpeg.

Here are the results:

These AVIs use xvid for their video codec. If you don’t already have it, you can get them from here.

© 2006 – 2015, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 License.
CC BY-SA 4.0


  1. That is so awesome Kees!

    Comment by Jon Phillips — January 20, 2006 @ 10:32 pm

  2. Great script, thanks!

    Comment by Antonio Roberts — December 28, 2009 @ 6:22 am

  3. I just tried running it and got this error from the terminal

    mplayer: symbol lookup error: mplayer: undefined symbol: codec_wav_tags

    Not sure what to do about it

    Comment by Antonio Roberts — December 28, 2009 @ 6:42 am

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