Introduction to Silhouette and Roto

Taught by Katie Morris

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
August 2020 
4 hours 45 minutes 
In this course, you will learn everything from spline types to manual roto to fully automated workflows, showcasing Silhouette, the industry-standard software for rotoscoping, and its comprehensive roto module. In addition, the Mocha Pro plug-in will be incorporated to demonstrate its beneficial tools available to artists.

The course begins with an in-depth roto foundations class, then transitions to an extensive tour of the Silhouette interface and shot approach tips. Then the course jumps right into the remaining five shots with increasingly more complexities. This course has it covered whether you are just starting out, an experienced roto artist or an artist from another discipline. There is a focus on detail in relation to manual roto and automated roto processes.

One will learn Silhouette, the fundamentals of all the spline types, rotoscoping methodologies including shape creation and keyframing, multiple tracking methods, how to successfully roto a shot from beginning to end whether it be manual roto, roto with tracking assist, fully tracked roto, and/or using the Mocha Pro plug-in to give your skills an extra boost, including the Lens Undistort/Distort workflow. And one will also master using Open Shapes, create hair roto and how to personalize your workflow with custom Python scripts.

Thanks to our partnership with Boris FX, members have full access to the full Silhouette and Mocha Pro apps and plugins via the fxphd VPN so they can follow along with the course (the software may not be used for commercial or non-commercial projects ). Premium members will have download access to the shot footage as well as the completed Silhouette project files.

Katie Morris is a VFX Digital Paint and Roto Artist with extensive experience in the Visual Effects film industry. While at Industrial Light and Magic, she worked on over 82 Visual Effects feature films including Star Wars Episodes I, II and III, all five Transformers films, Thor: Ragnarok, Us, Avengers: Endgame and most recently, Black Widow. She recently completed work on the short adventure documentary, Sandboarding on Dragon Hill for FastFokus, shot in 8K HDR.
Introduction to Silhouette and Roto
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Course Overview and Roto Foundations

A brief overview of the entire course followed by an in-depth roto foundations class that instructs on matte types, shape basics, spline types (B-Spline, X-Spline, Bezier) and shape types (Magnetic Freehand and Open Shapes) in Silhouette and how to create shapes with each of the spline and shape types. Finally, a Silhouette roto compatibility overview that is a cross reference of Silhouette and spline types in terms of importing and exporting with Mocha Pro, After Effects, Nuke, Flame and Fusion.

Class 2: The Interface and Shot Approach Tips

An in-depth tour of the interface, animated ROI’s, user guide, how to ascertain whether to track or not to track, slap comps, and how to make a roto plan when embarking on a new shot and shape creation basics.

Class 3: Rotoing Organic Shapes and Exploring the Roto Node

Shot approach for a manual roto shot, roto node specifics, what role layers play, shape preferences, shape editing tools, shape creation, snapshot, keyframing methodology for organic shapes, roto overlay, open shapes for hair roto, and how to use additional viewers.

Class 4: Rotoing Organic Shapes with Tracking

Use the Mocha Tracker to facilitate roto, the power of layers, roto in a stabilized view inside an ROI, shape editing tools, keyframing on tracked layers, multiframe tool and roto shape blending in layers.

Class 5: Hard Surface Roto with Tracking

Utilizing the Silhouette Planar Tracker for hard surface tracking and roto, group tracking, one and two point tracking, adding notes, and an alternative method for rotoing jittery footage.

Class 6: Silhouette and the Mocha Pro Plug-In

Two shots are covered. In the first, using the Mocha Pro plug-in to give a boost to your tracking and roto processes is covered. Learn how to export your tracking and shape date from the Mocha Pro plug-in back to use in your Silhouette session. Learn how to customize your Mocha Pro hotkey preferences while inside of your Silhouette session. In the second shot, Lens Undistort/Distort paint and roto workflow with the plugin is covered as well as the Silhouette DOD node, how to roto and paint on your newly flattened plate then re-apply the distortion back to your plate with your roto and paint intact. Includes a brief auto paint demo aided by the Interactive tool overlay, Source Match Move and Obey Mask.

Class 7: Hair Roto and Show Shapes Painting with Hidden Cursor

How to create Open Shapes with and without feathering for a detailed hair roto shot. How to speed up the creation of your open shape hair shapes using the multiframe tool, as well as tracking. Learn how to make versatile open feathered shapes to roto hair that has a lot of motion blur in the plate. Also, a quick primer on how to use the Show Shapes feature and the hidden cursor preference to for edge paint.

Class 8: Utilizing Python Scripts in Silhouette with Dropbox

How to incorporate and automate the integration of your custom python scripts into your Silhouette workflow and how to interactively test potential scripts. Exploration of the Silhouette Scripts Editor Window.