animation + live action

i wanted to make a 1 minute short that involves 2D animation in a live action video. to be more specific, my charater is a boy whose girlfriend is a cartoon and they walk together talking to each other. (the picture in the TBS home page where a duck walks on a table, i presume thats a cartoon in a live action.)

the problem here is how to shoot the video.
1. make sure the actor acts assuming his friend exists.
2. use a blue/green color catsuit/fullbody stocking on the other actor
and then key him off and fill the hole with the animation ?
the second one is just out of my imagination, it may or may not work. Is there any other technique ? i mean, how were movies like SpaceJam and others made. how would they be made if they were to be made now.

has anyone faced a similar situation ?
please help.
thanks in advance


Kriss -

Why do you need the “other actor”? Just have your boy act like there’s another actor. No need for a body suit or keying the actor out. Unless your character needs to pick up real world objects, etc. Even then, use wires or such.

If you want the other actor as a guide for your animation (rotoscoping) then you still don’t need to key them out - just make sure you cover everything with animation.

I think the Roger Rabbit DVD has some behind the scenes stuff. Monkeybone, too. Actors reacting to nothing or to a ball on a stick. In the old days they would use travelling mattes to combine the elements or even project each frame of the live action on frosted glass beneath the cells, if memory serves correct. We have it easy, these days (comparatively).


You might check out corel painter it can handle limited projects for placing animation in video it would be a lot of work one frame at a time and you would have to place the sound in later. I am trying to figure out a way to have a cartoon TV with real video playing in it.

The “Ball on a stick” is usually the best method to get your live action actor to look at a fixed point. It works remarkably well.

If you want your conversations to sound natural and have your other actor around, they can be behind the camera with a microphone so that the two voices can be heard.

Depending on what kind of camera you use, you might be able to “jack in” a second microphone.

Or, if the second person can’t be heard well on the tape, you can always redo the sound later.

guys, firstly thank you all for ur reply.
ummm, the ball on a stick seems interesting and hate myself for not getting the idea.may be i have to do a lot more reading and watching.


hi, i just posted a topic where i am wanting to do the same, only i am coming from a PremierePro/AfterEffects point of view (where I know what to do there) but I know little about this tool for the 2d stuff. Dowloading the eval now. Are any of you planning to do this? In AE/PPRO u just need to key out the 2d background color (use a chromatic blue or green) and place on top of live video track. I think…I’ve yet to test this. I bet the 2 different frame rates might be a problem…does TBS allow u to adjust the frame rate and then export to a premier usable file? preferably AVI 2 type.

Well thanks all, and let’s stick together!!!