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Two PDFs - one good, one bad

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Tom Brooks
Two PDFs - one good, one bad
on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:58:13 am

I'm having to move some PDFs of newspaper pages around--showing newspaper clippings about a certain topic. The PDFs were sent by the paper and are showing a size of somewhere around 600x800 -- in that neighborhood. I'm turning off Fixed Resolution so that I can enlarge them to the point where the text is readable. That part works fine. The text and pictures scale up and stay sharp. Fine, that is, if I do just one clipping on screen. But if I place two of them, with moves, one can be fine and the other will be all crunchy, flickery, or aliased. Sometimes the text joggles its position as it moves.

Any idea what I'm running up against here or what I'm doing wrong? I suspect it's an OpenGL or video card related thing. Should I do the scaling first and then import? I guess I could do that, since I'm only using a small part of each PDF (I'm not scanning over the whole thing as you would on a large world map or the like.).

Project is DV.
Have run the program on both my MBP GeForce 8600M GT, 512MB and a G5 Quad with GeForce 7800 GT.

Thanks very much in advance.

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Noah Kadner
Re: Two PDFs - one good, one bad
on Oct 18, 2008 at 10:26:53 pm

I'd open them in Photoshop first and convert to PSD.


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Tom Brooks
Re: Two PDFs - one good, one bad
on Nov 2, 2008 at 2:19:26 pm

Thanks for the tip. This is the first time I've used Motion for a large project and really put it to heavy use.

I went through my project and converted the problem PDFs (basically all of them) to TIFs. In each instance, I'd make the size of the TIF so that its maximum scale in the project was near 100 percent. I could also apply a small amount of gaussian blur in some case and this helped cover up the sparkly, crunchy stuff.

This whole project has pointed out some annoying problems with Motion. First, the program seems to have trouble with animating scale, especially when an object is scaled to a very small size. Objects seem to randomly lose resolution during the scale animation. Something as simple as flying a logo through the camera could not be done without jaggies showing up in seemingly random places.

Motion also had a lot of trouble with its own backgrounds which use generators or emitters to create moving elements. If I used them in compositions with several layers of pictures and various masks and effects, I'd get weird color changes, black frames, partial frames--all sorts of anomalies. Turn off the background and things would behave. It's likely there's operator error involved in this, I admit. Maybe I had 3D layers intersecting or some such.

I suspect that Motion also has problems properly dealing with, and making, interlaced fields. I had no end of quality problems with JPEGs that had a vertical or diagonal move applied to them (these were very high quality JPEGs and the same effect was seen with TIF versions). When crunch time came, the quick fix was to simply find a way to make horizontal moves work. This suggests to me that Motion is not producing fields correctly. Turning off field rendering cleaned things up, but this project was DV and therefore interlacing was part of the deal.

Yet another roadblock to using Motion is the very long render times when rendering is set to Best in Final Cut. This appears to be necessary to get motion blur, but in some projects it basically made rendering too long to be practical.

In one instance, I gave up on Motion and did the sequence in After Effects. It had no problem with the scaling and no problem with the interlacing. In general, I can trust the quality of After Effects . In the near future, I'll be unlikely to use Motion exclusively for compositing. There are things it does well and things that it can do easily that would be difficult to reproduce in After Effects. I think of its emitters, generators and replicators. But its very fundamental flaws will force me to use the slower, render-and-import workflow of After Effects. All in all, I hope Motion is better with progressive material and I hope that some learning on my part with improve my results.

Final Cut Pro 6.0.4, Mac OS-X 10.5.5, Quicktime 7.5, Adobe Prod Prem CS3, G5 Quad 2.5, Kona-LHe V6, 8.5GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 7800-GT 256MB, G-RAID 2x1TB FW800, 6TB RAID-5 (Enhance E8-ML, Highpoint 2322), Panasonic HVX-200P P2. Also MBP 17" Core 2 Duo 2.5, 4GB, GeForce 8600M GT 512MB.

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