Do you remember of Another World and rotoscoping? Someone tries to recover this technique
In 1991 a video game called ‘Another World’ changed a bit our world. Sensational development that made use of a technique called rotoscoping that allowed capture the movement of a person and then move it to the screen. The result was amazing for the time, which had also shown something before ‘Prince of Persia’ (1989) and that we would continue checking with other legendary titles like ‘Flashback’.
The technique had a problem: it was too costly in time and effort, and modern animation techniques skeleton (skeletal animation) allow greatly simplify the process and achieve remarkable results. That has not prevented a user has wanted to recover it and make it work to move to a real computer animation human motion. The first tests developer, which also practices parkour- are promising.
In an extensive article on his blog this developer explains the origins of the art rotoscaping and how it was used in those legendary titles that spoke -and in some relatively recent as ‘film A Scanner Darkly ‘ -.
The implementation and development of those games was largely handmade measure, since the movement is captured on VHS and then moved to the computer frame by frame with photos in which the artist was drawing graphic hand movement.
A good example is ‘Prince of Persia’ game in which its creator, Jordan Mechner, which detailed his development in a newspaper – recorded his brother and then move their movements to the screen by connecting the camera to a Apple II -there is nothing – via a GenLock.
Reaches skeletal animation
The technique became even more famous with the release of ‘Another World’, a game in which its creator, Eric Chahi, also recorded this time to himself while recording images with a VHS camera and then connected to an Amiga via another GenLock.
Instead of using pixel graphics and bitmaps built in ‘Another World’ polygons with smooth textures were used, which facilitated the development and ended up resulting in the spectacular final result.
Skeletal animation changed all that, and thanks to the increasing computing power was possible to create some keyframes to be created after the other by interpolation, either linear rough -more and either polar important ones which ran side effects spreading mostly precisely. The artists responsible for creating the movement of characters in video games ended up going to this method massively, and rotoscaping was forgotten.
Back to rotoscoping
This developer wanted to regain the old technique, and it created an animation tool which has been dubbed ‘jaiwhite’ and that moment has not posted.
Through it and free tools like ffmpeg or Inkscape this user managed to capture its practice of parkour became a really striking animation. Made use of a video camera for modest record in 720p30 resolution, and commented how action cameras were not very suitable for distorting the footage too.
In its application had to simply set certain benchmarks and then various “nodes” on the joints and “bones” to build a plane tree structure. In the end what you get is basically the backbone of modern technology, but one that will manually adjusting the image to achieve that result as true to reality.
It remains to be seen whether this development has just evolved into something which is then distributed, with a payment model or perhaps as Open Source- because the truth is that this could be a very interesting alternative for game developers.