Rotoscoping is essentially tracing over live-action film as means to draw a cartoonish animated film. This was a technique used in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and more recently A Scanner Darkley (2006) – a still from the latter is shown below.
This is, of course, a laborious task. But watch the video below, you’ll see that a new unreleased tool called AutoScope can do an amazing job of rotoscoping without human intervention.
A few words from the author of the tool (from his YouTube channel)
I turn normal videos into cartoons through the process of rotoscoping, or, to be more precise, autoscoping (don't look it up; it won't be in the dictionary ... yet). My project, Autoscope, is the result of years of research, experimentation, trials, errors and correcting those errors. The videos I am putting up here show what Autoscope can do. These are just short clips but you could, if you wanted to, remake an entire feature film or an entire TV series in cartoon form.
The effect isn’t perfect, but for something automated it amazing! And remember it does this for video, not just a still image.
Watch more samples on the HQcartoons channel on YouTube.