The rotoscoped video for A-ha’s “Take on Me” came out in 1985. Thirty-six years, countless pastiches, and 1.3 billion Youtube views later, we finally have an Adobe After Effects template fine-tuned to ape its loose graphite look.
Hashimoto pays tribute to the animators of the original video, Candace Reckinger and Mike Patterson, who rotoscoped more than 2,000 frames by hand. He says he has long sought to replicate its style — without drawing all those frames — but found existing filters lacking. Hence Sketchify, which Hashimoto walks through in detail in the tutorial.

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Hashimoto’s industry credits include Kung Fu Panda 2 and Mary Poppins Returns. He has also built a vast following with his Youtube channel Action Movie Kids, whose videos playfully combine vfx with home-video footage of his children playing. He is currently senior content creator at Red Giant.

The icing on the cake: he prefaces the whole thing with his own take on the song, “Fake Drawn Me,” in which he sets out the principles of his template in faultless falsetto: “Comping away / Key your video, then constrain to / Black, white, and gray / Replace them with some scribbly pencil.” And so on.
Sketchify comes courtesy of Red Giant, an effects and motion graphics software creator owned by Maxon. The template can be downloaded for free through this link. Even better, it comes with a video presented by Daniel “Hashi” Hashimoto (a.k.a. Action Movie Dad) which may rank as the funniest After Effects tutorial out there. (There is admittedly little competition.) Watch it below:

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