What’s it take to turn the video for Taylor Swift’s No. 1 smash “Shake It Off” into a hand-drawn animated video? 49 students at the University of Newcastle in Australia worked on 52 frames each for four weeks. The class embarked on this Herculean task to get practice creating animation from live action footage, a technique apparently known as rotoscoping.
Often the hand-drawn images are directly inspired by the original video—there’s ballet dancing, cheer-leading, and plenty of shots of Swift with her big boombox. But the students introduce new visual elements as well. An underwater-creature theme creeps in, with octopi, mermaids, and other unidentifiable-tentacled-objects. Astronauts, skeletons, and centaurs make sudden appearances. One artist also transformed the famous twerking scene so that all the butts become hamburgers.
The video has gained a lot of attention on line. “They all worked so hard on their individual frames to create each look,” said UON lecture Jane Shadbolt. “We're all hoping Taylor Swift might see it!"