Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 8 "Rotoscoping and Pantographing"

There are many tools available to the scale modeler, but some of the oldest and widely used are the panotgraph and the rotoscope. Pantographing was used as early as 1603 and used for the purpose of copying and scaling diagrams. Rotoscoping has been used in animation since 1915 and was developed by Max Fleisher, of Popeye fame and was copyrighted by him in 1917. Both of these methods are used today in CG, animation and in drating. These are essentially the methods that we have employed thus far. The Klingon D-7 that was sold by AMT models (approx 1/650 scale) was pantographed from the actual filming miniature used in the original Star Trek series. So, if you ever want to have an accurate scale copy of the Klingon D-7 in any particular size, you can use the very same method to scale it to what ever size suits your fancy. Before you can rotoscope a series of screen captures to create a set of prints there are some fundamentals that you have to have in place. The best way to do it is to have shots of the model going by in profile, following a straight path and ensure that the model appears to be following a level path in relation the the horizontal. This is the same thing I've sown thus far. Let's go back and look at a few things before we procede to the actual drafting. In the first picture below, I've identififed a region of the screen where the POV and Parallax distorion were at their minimum for that frame. This is the area where the position of the model and the position of the camera gives us the most direct point of view on this region of the model. In the next photo, you can see that I've overlayed a section of another capture over the original frame. As ship progressed across the screen, the forward end of the nacelles aligned to each other on the forward, leading vertical surface. Same with the third photo. You can use any number of frames and the more you use and the more accurately you align them, the more accurate your overall rotoscope will be. Click on each photo and look at the overlays and position of the red circle. I'm concentrating on these three photos merely to give a quick reference to the method and for brevity. I'll be using many more to make the actual prints.

Below you can see where I used the "Paint" program described earlier and started a closer rotoscope of the key features of the engineering hull. I used the program to inverse the colors and to highlight the the outline in black. Afterward I started collecting some data points for the nacelles and used a different photo to start a baseline for the primary hull. With regards to the nacelles, since the one closest to our point of view looks larger and the the one farther away looks smaller, logic follows that the exact size with relation to the engineering hull is in between these two measurements. With the primary hull, at this point we are only trying to get a few angles and match that up with other available data.

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