Definition of rotoscope in English:



  • 1A device which projects and enlarges individual frames of filmed live action to permit them to be used to create cartoon animation and composite film sequences.

    • ‘Using a computerized rotoscope, the descendent of technology used in Gulliver's Travels, or that weird Lord of the Rings cartoon, the simplicity of this movie is devastating.’
    1. 1.1A computer application which combines live action and other images in a film.


  • Transfer (an image from live action film) into another film sequence using a rotoscope.

    ‘the gulls were filmed from a cliff top and rotoscoped into the shot’
    • ‘The 8-ball crusty had to be manually rotoscoped out, frame by painful frame.’
    • ‘He has returned here to the form of animation he first used in Waking Life, rotoscoping a mixture of live action and animation.’


1950s: origin obscure; perhaps the same word as 19th-century rotascope, denoting a kind of gyroscope.