Company: Silhouette FX
Pros: A streamlined, easy to use and powerful dedicated roto-spline package that takes a lot of the drudgery out of rotoscoping work.
Cons: A number of minor interface issues cause a little bit of irritation, but this is still only a 1.0 release.
Despite the relentless progress in automating difficult post-production and visual effects tasks such as matchmoving, image-stabilization and even the removal of unwanted objects from image sequences, there is still a place for rotoscoping.
This is the manipulation of individual frames in a film or video sequence. This method defined visual effects work in the days before computers took over. Still, there are situations where the only sure-fire solution to a particular production problem is to do it by hand, frame-by-frame, and to this end Silhouette FX has designed a tool to make this kind of work as painless as possible.
Silhouette Roto comes in two versions. There’s a plug-in for various motion-graphics and editing applications, such as After Effects and Final Cut Pro, and there’s a standalone application, which is what we have on test here.
On first approach, the program seems quite straightforward. Roto is not a painting program – indeed, there are
no painting tools. Instead Roto focuses on the essence of rotoscoping, and to some degree visual effects in general
– matte creation.
Roto allows you to create animated splines using traditional keyframing and interpolation, both of the transformation of the spline object (translation, rotation, and scale) and of the spline points individually. This is what you would expect. What’s different about Roto, and new in this Standalone version, is the integration of image-stabilization through 2D auto-tracking. Brilliantly simple to use, the stabilization means that you don’t need to animate the transformation of the spline at all. You only animate the spline points and other parameters.