3 Tips That Might Make Masking & Rotoscoping Quicker & Less Painful

Masking and rotoscoping can take forever, especially if your footage has a lot of motion and requires a lot of keyframing and control points.

But luckily, Ryan Connolly from Film Riot offers a bunch of great tips on how to speed up that process, like where to start, how to manage the workload, and how to avoid any disruptions to your workflow. They also walk you through three different processes for masking and roto, the first in Adobe After Effects, the second in After Effects and Mocha, and the last using the Roto Brush in After Effects. Check out the tutorial below!

Here are the three tips from the video:

  • Don't just start on the first frame: First things first -- you need to take a look at your footage and figure out where you're going to start. Connolly says avoid starting on the first frame, and instead, start with the frame that has the most information and go from there.
  • Break it down into simple parts: Creating simpler, smaller masks makes it easier to manage your control points. Think about it: would you rather have a big ol' unwieldy mask that you have to work with multiple smaller, simpler parts? (I guess that depends on how many parts there are, huh?)
  • Save constantly: Duh -- this is a no-brainer. Masking and rotoscoping is tedious, repetitive, time-consuming work, and saving often will keep you from having to do it all over again in case of a crash.

Do you have any tips on how to make masking and rotoscoping quicker and easier? Let us know in the comments below!     

Your Comment


I feel like he may have left out a fourth option that is very useful. In AE you can track your mask just like Mocha without having to open up Mocha. Simply draw your mask, then click the mask itself in the layers. The Camera Track panel will change to Mask Tracking and allow you to track the mask. Just like in Mocha you may have to stop and adjust a few times as you track your mask, but it does save you from opening up a second program to do the same thing.

February 16, 2016 at 4:56PM


This is really helpful--thanks!

February 17, 2016 at 11:17AM

Benjamin Reichman
Post Supervisor/AE/Editor