Santa Rosa, Calif. - RotoFactory, the digital visual effects studio dedicated solely to rotoscope and paint services for the motion picture, commercial, and television industries, opened its doors on April 1 in Santa Rosa, Calif., just north of San Francisco. RotoFactory is currently teamed up with several large San Francisco Bay Area visual effects companies to provide them with roto and paint on feature films.
Roto and paint show up in the final cut on cinema screens worldwide; yet, many in the film industry treat rotoscoping as routine and often outsource it to offshore suppliers. While these providers may offer competitive rates, the data transfer process is slow and the level of work often demands many corrections before each shot is finalized.
RotoFactory is located near the leading Bay Area VFX studios that have a perennial need for expert roto and paint work, led by George Lucas’s ILM in San Francisco, Tippett Studio in Berkeley, and the Orphanage in San Francisco.
At the start of each project, RotoFactory sets up a password-protected interactive client access portal on a secure, high-speed network that links the client to RotoFactory’s team, allowing for secure, fast transfer of shots worldwide. This allows client management status updates on demand, and a high level of interactive communication on each shot as it is completed.
RotoFactory’s speed, ability, and quick turnarounds provide economical results for studios and agencies. When the job is done right the first time, producers don’t have to waste time and money getting poorly executed shots fixed or making a last-minute “911” call to another studio and paying emergency rates to fix the shots.
Eric Christensen and his team of artists and technicians at RotoFactory have decades of combined experience in the VFX field. Together they have provided rotoscoping and paint for numerous movies, television shows and commercials, mostly while working at Industrial Light & Magic, including:
• Mission Impossible III
• The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
• War of the Worlds
• Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
• Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Rotoscoping is the electronic art of isolating a character or object from its surrounding image in a frame of film or video. This allows the image to be digitally altered to fulfill the director’s vision. When the character or object has been isolated, it can be manipulated against a new background that has been photographed separately, or created entirely in the VFX studio.
The roto artist uses software to trace around every detail of a character’s outline down to the pixel level. This work must be done consistently for each frame of a VFX shot – one minute of screen time is equivalent to 1440 frames for film and 1800 frames for video.
Digital paint is the art of creating or altering surfaces, colors, textures, shadows, and reflections. Digital paint is also employed to remove unwanted elements from a shot or sequence which could include wires, light stands, rigs, targets and much more.