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If Rotoscoping isn’t animation, then nothing is Adafruit Industries – Makers, Hackers, Artists, Designers, Engineers!

Rotoscoping, developed by Max Fleischer, an animator of the early 20th century, is one of the oldest forms of animation used in cinema. This technique was used to create many classics – CinderellaAnd the the birdsAnd the Mary Poppins, and more. It’s no longer du jour format, and hasn’t been very popular for nearly a century, but it’s back in discourse due to the 2022 Richard Linklater movie. Apollo 10 ½: Childhood in the Space AgeWhich the Academy refused to include in the category of best animated film. Linklater and the film’s animation director Tommy Pallotta feel not only personally ignored, but feel that this rejection speaks to a larger problem—the Academy’s refusal to consider work made for adults in the Best Animated Feature category, or to consider films made by smaller independent studios. (Especially those that focus on 2D animation). Vulture spoke to Linklater, who appealed the academy’s decision. They also explore the larger implications of the controversy in great detail.

For a quick history about the rotoscope in the cinema itself, Check this post from intofilm.

Second, the “older 2D animation methods” that Pallotta describes date back to the early days of animation. Much early animation is indistinguishable from what we today call special effects superimposed on the live action film industry. The rotoscope itself—a machine that allows animators to trace a displayed silhouette to a live action movie—was invented by animator Max Fleischer in 1915 and has become a cornerstone of the medium’s history. To thumb your nose at rotoscoping and its place in the art form is to ignore Cab Calloway’s dance in Fleischer’s Minnie the Moocher, the incredible weirdness of Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings, and even Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — among literally thousands of other cartoons over the decades.

Read the full segment by Eric Vilas-Boas here on Vulture.

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