An animation technique where animators trace over recorded live-action footage frame-by-frame to be used for live-action and animated works.
The animation technique of rotoscoping was first used in 1915 by animator Max Fleischer,who used it for his series of cartoons called Out of the Inkwell which featured Max's brother, Dave, dressed in a clown outfit and used as the live-film figure to animate the character Koko the Clown. This was done by recording live-action film images and projecting them onto a frosted glass panel to be redrawn by an animator, the device being known as a rotoscope.
Fleischer would make use of rotoscoping in a number of animated shorts, including Betty Boop, Superman and Gulliver's Travels. The technique would be famously employed in other works such as the music video for a-ha's hit song "Take on Me",the 1981 sci-fi anthology animated film Heavy Metal,and Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated adaptation of Lord of the Rings. Modern implementation of rotoscoping is now done through computers.
While rotoscoping has the benefit of creating more realistic movement and lifelike characters compared to hand-drawn animation, the technique faces plenty of scrutiny and controversy among the animation community, who see it as a lifeless and poor substitute for character animation and taking away the freedom of drawing whatever the animator or artist desires.
Rotoscoping has been used in a number of anime titles to create lifelike backgrounds, animated sequences to make them more fluid compared to regular animation or as a stylistic choice to accompany the unique presentation of a title. Titles notable in their use of rotoscoping for these methods include Kids on the Slope, Trapeze and Tatami Galaxy.
Aku no Hana is notable in that the series is animated entirely through rotoscoping and generated a heavy amount of controversy among anime fans for its animated appearance being radically different compared to many recent anime offerings. Reception to the technique's use for Aku no Hana has varied from being critically praised by reviewers on Anime News Network to being lambasted by fans of the manga for the significant difference in animation style compared to its source material.