The Animation of Waking Life
Richard Linklater accomplished a vision that he had almost scrapped until the immergence of a new technique in rotoscoped animation.Waking Life is a film infused with the power of animation that takes us through a journey of dreams and makes one question their own reality.The method of animation used was the step to making this powerful piece of cinema a reality and would not have happened without it.
Rotoscoping was inventing in 1915 by animation pioneer Max Fleischer.It is a method that takes live action footage and traces over the images to produce very realistic movement.It is because of this tracing method that some feel rotoscoping is a sort of a cheat or easy way out.However, rotoscoping and other forms like it are a way to explore animation and its creativity even further; it allows animators more artistic freedom by saving labor:
"To not use these labor saving methods and tools would take us back to the days when acetate cells weren't invented and you had not only to animate every frame but had to redraw the background every time as well."
It was this type of freedom that allowed everyone involved with the piece to create a film that is just as visually stunning as it is narrativly.
Director Richard Linklater wanted to bring artist, like painters, who did not necessarily know anything about producing animation and involve them in the process as animators. To accomplish this Linklater enlisted animator Bob Sabiston as art director. Sabiston brought with him his own developed software nicknamed RotoShop.This software was the tool that allowed artists of all animation levels to create their visions.It is a system that allows artists to trace over the video (Quicktime) with Wacom pens and tablets with results that are very close to brush strokes on a canvas.This method is accelerated due to the software's interpolation system, which automat…