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Tommy Patolla video technique "Destiny" by Zero 7

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Bob Flood
Tommy Patolla video technique "Destiny" by Zero 7
on Sep 17, 2010 at 3:02:08 pm


So I found this video, cuz i like the song:

Its a song called Destiny by Zero 7, its from 2001, and I am thinking its probably why the director ws picked to do "A Scanner Darkly"

Does anyone have any info on this trick? I am sure its a form of rotoscope, but there are some charachteristics about it that suggest computer assistance, like a sort of smooth pulsing on some of the parts.

Thanx in advance!

(i think a nice touch is how the girl always has a color wash behind her)

"I like video because its so fast!"

Bob Flood
Greer & Associates, Inc.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Tommy Patolla video technique "Destiny" by Zero 7
on Sep 20, 2010 at 8:22:06 pm

No matter how much you try to have computers do this job for you (and I have tried many times) there is still no substitute for hand-rotoing these things. You need the mediation of the human artist's eye to eliminate a lot of the extraneous detail and keep the lines smooth and gestural and natural-looking. No automation can really do it as well as humans can.

But humans are also inconsistent: Richard Linklater at one point I think hired every unemployed artist, hipster, and grandma in Austin to work on segments of that film of his, each working on one little segment, and it was a challenge to keep them all true to one set visual standard "look" for each character. I think the best way, though the slowest, is for a single roto artist to do the whole thing, which tends to keep it all "of a piece".

In the sample you show, some of the shots have elements that look like a layered AE comp. I can't imagine how tedious this would be to do in AE. I read somewhere that Linklater used some custom software for his that wa a hybrid of compositing and paint tools.

The last time I tried to do this kind of effect myself in a serious way, I used Synthetik StudioArtist to hand-color and treat each individual frame for a 30-second spot, and before I could work with the frames, I first ran them thru several batch processes in photoshop to reduce their color depth, do an initial garbage-mask roto, and create the proper contrast. I also deliberately lit things harshly, blowing out details. The less detail the source footage has, the better the final effect is. That's been my experience of it, anyway.

And don't even start this project unless you have a good graphics tablet already... and a LOT of patience:-)

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John Cuevas
Re: Tommy Patolla video technique "Destiny" by Zero 7
on Sep 20, 2010 at 8:24:37 pm

You could use the cartoon effect in AE. Adjust the shading and smoothness to say 12.0 and 40. Then just switch to edges.

If you started there and did some compositing you could probably get close to what they did.

Tutorial here that goes into more detail doing it from scratch using AE and Illustrator that will give you a little more control:

Adobe Tutorial:

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

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