Double take: Rotoscoping and the Processing of Performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1915 the Fleischer brothers, Max and Dave, developed a device known as the “rotoscope” which allowed the artist to trace over the original film footage frame by frame to make a more life-like rendition for animation. Rotoscoping’s digital descendent, known as “Rotoshop” was used to style Richard Linklater’s animations Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, but whilst rotoscoping may originally have been developed to help animators achieve a greater sense of realism, it has never just been about verisimilitude. Drawing on the theories of such diverse commentators as Bertolt Brecht, Roland Barthes and Robert Bresson, the paper will consider two central questions: What have been the consequences of this digital animation technique for screen performance, and what spectatorial pleasures does this means of storytelling afford its audience?
Original languageEnglish
JournalRefractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Animation,Film


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