Sunday, April 15, 2007

Imitating a Scanner Darkly

Recently, I've watched a trailer and read about “A Scanner Darkly,” a vector based movie entirely created in “a licensed software program not available to consumers.” I am surprised that this licensed software doesn’t even have a name (read an interview with Sterling Allen). On Friday, I’ve discussed with my students the “Imitating a Scanner Darkly” tutorial.

Director Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly impressed audiences this summer with a stunning 2D animation style that mixes heavy blacks lines with shapes of solid color to represent a realistic image. After filming the movie live action, we used proprietary vector software to animate directly over live footage, preserving the likeness and performances of the actors - a process called "Interpolated Rotoscoping." This tutorial will show you how I was able to recreate a similar effect using tools in Adobe Illustrator. Using Illustrator's pencil tool and shapes of solid color, you can imitate the graphic novel styling of A Scanner Darkly.

My students mainly use the Pen or Brush tools and a mouse to draw in Illustrator while a “Scanner Darkly’s” technique requires the Pencil tool (I use the Pencil tool only for minor corrections). To use the illustrator tools efficiently, students should have tablets, and I hope to buy Wacom tablets for my class next year. I draw on a tablet Intuos3.
However, I would like to switch to the Cintiq 21UX with a 21" display, adjustable stand, and grip pen for use directly on the screen.
I am sure tablet PCs will become more affordable, and students will be writing, drawing, and animating directly on the screens of their laptops in the near future. This is a HP tablet PC.

Today, I’ve redesigned my index page on

I've uploaded to TeacherTube my students’ self-portrait projects.


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