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Reel Opportunities

Roto Artist

Also known as: Junior Visual Effects (VFX) Artist

What does a Roto Artist do?

Roto Artists manually draw around and cut out objects from movie frames so that the required parts of the image can be used, a process known as rotoscoping.

The parts of an image that are wanted after cutting out are known as mattes. Roto Artists work on the areas of live action frames where computer-generated images (CGI) or other live-action images will overlap or interact with the live image.

If the live-action camera is not moving within a shot, rotoscoping might involve only one frame. If the camera’s moving, roto artists trace the relevant areas of every frame within the shot so that CG can be combined accurately with the live-action. Roto Artists need to have a keen eye and patience in order to complete this meticulous and repetitive work.

In addition to rotoscoping, Roto Artists assist in the preparation of material for compositing.

What's a Roto Artist good at?
  • Drawing skill

    Trace accurately with a good line

  • Patience

    Be methodical and thorough, taking care to rotoscope well so as to help to produce a high-quality final image

  • Knowledge of programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as Photoshop

  • Delivery

    Work well with strict deadlines, be able to complete work under pressure

  • Taking initiative

    Observe what’s happening, be proactive, ask questions at the appropriate time

Who does a Roto Artist work with?

Roto Artists work most closely with Compositors, as the mattes which Roto Artists produce serve as important layers for Compositors to work with. They pass on their work to Prep Artists, as part of a VFX production pipeline, to help prepare plates for Compositors.

How do I become a Roto Artist?

It is important that you create a showreel to show potential employers and collaborators what you can do. In terms of formal education, there are degrees available specific to the VFX industry, and they can help you to become a Roto Artist.

Build a portfolio: Learn the software, experiment with VFX programs and create a showreel that you can show to collaborators or employers. Focus on producing a portfolio which includes relevant work to showcase your immediate practical skills.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.