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Animated Roto Splines Tutorial


rotosplines.jpgCan you create roto splines for animated matte composition in Blender? Yes! Greg Notzelman tells you all about it.

Greg writes:

I have not been able to find many tutorials on animated roto splines in Blender. So...I made one. I am involved in other areas of film production and I would like Blender to be used on VFX Films someday!

Here is a direct link to the tutorial [,and a link to a short demonstration video].

Thank you for taking the time to look. Suggestions by the Blender community is welcome. I would like to make this tutorial even better.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I was working with a couple of the blenderheads on animated curves to do this as well:

    It creates a very nice and controllable matte.

    So all that said with a composite like this and some match moving in a program like syntheyes:

    You can get something like this:

    I know it could use some distortion on the 3d objects and lighting work but the idea is there. I am at some point still going to write a tutorial on how the animated curves work for rotoscoping.

    Ton pointed out this tutorial to me after I had finished my curve testing so what happened was is Aligorith created a script for me to automatically create all the hooks so you can simplify the hook method. Here is the script:

    Oh yeah. You need latest svn for it to work.

    So the posted tutorial would go much faster using this script

    Have fun! :)

  2. Greg writes:
    "I am involved in other areas of film production and I would like Blender to be used on VFX Films someday!"

    It's coming! Durian and the next open movie after Durian will be a VFX Blender project. Tools/scripts for traveling mattes or rotoscoping will hopefully be developed for the VFX version of Blender.

    Rotoscoping seems like the long way to make mattes. Maybe there is a better way? What other tools would people like to see developed for VFX? I'd like to see a pixel tracker.

  3. when the node editor was born this is the first this i tried to make, but there wasn´t chromakey node then so you have to CLEAN with rotoshapes, the first impression was that there were too many in between steps, and I couldn´t correct ALL AT THE SAME TIME watching all with effects like I do in AfterFX.
    Then when i saw TON talking about the FUTURE OF BLENDER, he seems to be looking a way to have several project or scenes opened at the same, time so this method could become more handy... anyway I would like to have a node called ROTOSHAPE that creates a scene with the backgound video already applyed... and save the user creative time don´t you think?


  4. Hi !
    Nice tutorial. I hadn't thought of using Hooks to animate the curve.

    In my short video names "Louisa is driving", I have used a bezier curve for rotoscoping. I have applied it to the sign in the foreground, which is close to the camera and over the 3D character on the right. The video texture is applied to the bezier shape in real time, not in the compositor.

    I have used a simple bezier curve without hooks, and so the only way to animate it was shape keys, and it was very tedious because the shape keys don't support the automatic keyframing.

    Hooks are a very good idea, allowing to use this feature !

    Thanks for sharing !

  5. I find it very puzzling why he had to use such an elaborate setup. He could have used garbage matting to get the exact outline of the foreground object. Or maybe I'm missing something here?

  6. this is great!!! I had an idea for your script that automatically adds hooks. since you said the hooks clutter up the screen I was thinking that in the script you will be able to hide all the hooks exxcept for the one on the point you click on. so every time you click on a new point the hook form the last one disappears and the hook on the now selected point appears. I hope that make sense

  7. Cool... I am glad some people may find this useful. Blender is very exciting to me.
    The enthusiasm in the Blender community is unsurpassed in the 3d world. I am certainly not an expert in Blender but I am happy I could contribute in some small way.

    Chris (ccherrett).... thanks for the script to automatically add the hooks!

  8. I think there is some confusion - Durian is NOT a VFX film (it is a monster, fight, explosion, fire movie). Mango (the project after Durian) is planned to be VFX focused.


  9. a nice script (similar to empty madness, from malefico) could probably automate adding all the hooks- could also set the draw mode of the empties to circle, and change the draw size to something smaller, to make them less messy (you can set one, then use ctrl-c to copy the draw type to the other empties)

  10. Bassam,

    I asked for draw type and size but this was the best I could scrape out at the time. :)


    I will get to a tutorial in the next few weeks on animated shape keys.

  11. Thank you for sharing. This is a nice technique for rotoing smooth-edged, simpler shapes.

    There is a minor error in step 15 - the user is setting "Location" keyframes, not "Local."

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