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Flickering in animated images/illustrator files

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Alexander Jarosch
Flickering in animated images/illustrator files
on Feb 13, 2013 at 1:01:34 am

Hello everybody,
I have been working on a project for the last few days that is giving me a really bad headache.

Basicly, I am animating an larger amount of comic-pages inside of AE.
So far, my composition is set up as 1080p 25 and square Pixles. I have rendered as uncompressed quicktime and h264 mp4, but the flickering is also present when i am ram previewing.
I was provided pdf files that i could convert to ai/ eps files and then import into After Effects.
So far so good, but during my animation several lines are flickering in an inacceptable way.
This problem is especially grim, when activating the "continously rasterize" option.
The same problem still occours, if i convert my images to several different formats as .jpg, png, or even if I import my provided, but split up .pdf file. I also tried different resolution settings for .jpg, noticing that by reducing the resolution to a quarter, the flickering lines are gone, but of course the image quality is pretty bad. I have also tried to re-encode my rendered files via mpg-streamline encoder, but this did not improve anything.

I have found several threads dealing with comparable problems, but so far neither turning on motion blur, changing the shutter angle, using the "reduce interlace flicker" or precomping the illustrator files has worked for me. Also, in an desperate attempt to find a solution, i imported my files into premiere pro, did a quick animation (resize and position), and noticed the flickering as well.
The only thing that would come into my mind, are corrupted files, because in previous projects my workflow did just fine.

I have put together a .zip file on my Dropbox acccount to visualize my problem.
The file is quite large (about 105mb), so I am expecting nobody to download it.
It would be hugely appreciated if someone could help me with this issue.

Regards in advance
Alex Jarosch

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Brian Collins
Re: Flickering in animated images/illustrator files
on Feb 13, 2013 at 4:39:31 am

Hi Alex -

Without looking at your files, it sounds like the issue may be with thin lines and fine detail in the artwork. I've seen that time and again and many times, you dont' have the ability to go into your vector files and increase the width of strokes, etc. You might try adding an adjustment layer to your comps with a slight gaussian blur. It usually will help hide the artifacts you're describing.

Brian Collins
Birmingham, AL

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Alexander Jarosch
Re: Flickering in animated images/illustrator files
on Feb 13, 2013 at 7:43:23 am

Hi Brian -
I played around with the gaussian blur options, testing various settings (horizontal and/or vertical) and strenght. It seems to be helping in some parts, in others it just does absolutely nothing.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: Flickering in animated images/illustrator files
on Feb 13, 2013 at 2:59:05 pm

Some of those lines may indeed change size, causing the illusion of flickering. AE's sub-pixel rendering, while making lines smooth, can also be a liability on thin lines.

I suspect the graphic designer who supplied the pdf's was unaware of this limitation of thin lines. You may want to discuss it with the client.

Your comp is in high-definition. Despite that, HD simply doesn't have the amount of resolution as you get in print.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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