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Motion is creating low quality output

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osxrules
Motion is creating low quality output
on Mar 8, 2006 at 8:52:46 pm

I'm trying to put together a simple animation that uses some hand drawn images. The images were traced in Illustrator to produce really crisp vector graphics. These are actually recognised by Motion. However, after making up a little sequence, I then rendered to DV at highest quality but the output looks as though it has been severely downsampled. I tried using high-res tiffs and the same thing happens.

When I place the source image and Motion output side by side, they look completely different. It's odd because when using the images in Shake, the output is very clean. Is there maybe an anti-aliasing setting I'm missing somewhere? The setting in the main preferences only seems to apply to using motion blur.

When I used motion blur, the output was still pretty bad.

Another thing I'd like to know is the best settings for output. Because I'm mixing with hand-drawn and 3D animation, I decided on using 24 fps to keep render times down so I'm creating PAL DV 24fps. It will eventually be used for a LAN presentation but I guess further down the line it might be nice to have the option to transferring to DVD. The thing is, I'm making it 800x600 to fit the aspect ratio of the computer screen I'll be using and I thought later on when making a DVD, I could use a clipping box to get DVD resolution.

I'm on a tight deadline and don't know much about the software so I'd really appreciate any tips you have on getting the best quality out of Motion and what formats to use in the situation I described.


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osxrules
Re: Motion is creating low quality output
on Mar 9, 2006 at 1:14:45 pm

I discovered that I was using the animation codec with Shake but the DV codec with Motion. The DV output was awful but using animation output from Motion worked very well. Pixlet also worked well and even beat animation for file size on most occasions. However, I'll be playing the movie on a lower-end laptop and animation uses half the CPU of Pixlet. Plus the animation format is more widely supported. I can also get away with using 75% quality with the animation codec as there is no visible degradation of the image and that saves a bit of space.

The only downside is that I can scrub through Pixlet video faster. I hope that doesn't mean the animation codec isn't frame accurate. I'm pretty sure it will be.

I also managed to convert both Pixlet and animation to DVD using ffmpegx and the quality was *still* better than Motion's DV output. It's weird because Quicktime says it is exporting 28mbits/sec video.


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osxrules
Re: Motion is creating low quality output
on Mar 9, 2006 at 1:17:15 pm

Oh yeah and that setting in the project preferences for anti-aliasing was for the video and not just the motion blur. It was set at normal and I should have set it to best. But that wasn't the issue with the DV codec as it still made blocky output with the best setting.


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Mark Spencer
Re: Motion is creating low quality output
on Mar 10, 2006 at 6:23:11 am

The DV codec was made for continuous tone video image and doesn't handle sharp contrasty edges very well. As you discovered, Animation is lossless so will look good, but file size/cpu playback requirements are quite high. You might try PhotoJPEG at 60% or 75%, I have found it to be an excellent combination of quality and file size.
Mark

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Editor/Producer
Apple-certified instructor, FCP, DVDSP and Motion
Author, Motion Visual Quickstart Guide from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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