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Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels

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Steven Broido
Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 22, 2014 at 2:29:30 pm

Just searched the forums and am struggling to find best practices for lossless output settings from After Effects with Alpha Channels.

Shooting for lossless or so close to lossless that nobody would ever be the wiser.

Experimented with Quicktime Animation Output and JPEG 2000 and I can't tell the difference.

We're on PCs so trying to avoid ProRes.

Tried Avid DnxHD but can't get alphas to be recognized.

So: Is there a high quality standard setting I should be using for rendering animations (things like lower thirds) and title opens with alpha channels?

Is there an industry standard I should be using?

Thanks so much in advance!

Steve


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John Cuevas
Re: Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 22, 2014 at 2:45:58 pm

I use DNxHD all the time, default codec around here. Exactly what system isn't recognizing the alpha? And have your re-imported it back into AE to see that it was created correctly.

If I decide not to use DNxHD, I'll use animation, as it's lossless and storage space isn't an issue for us.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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chris white
Re: Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 22, 2014 at 9:54:37 pm

Probably best to use either the Animation or TIFF sequence when exporting.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:08:03 am

[Steven Broido] "Shooting for lossless or so close to lossless that nobody would ever be the wiser. Experimented with Quicktime Animation Output and JPEG 2000 and I can't tell the difference."

QuickTime Animation at 100% is mathematically lossless for 8bpc (Millions of Colors) projects. That means that when you read the pixels back in, they are literally exactly the same as they were before you wrote them out.


[Steven Broido] "Tried Avid DnxHD but can't get alphas to be recognized."

If I recall correctly, Ae does not support compressed alpha with DNxHD. Using uncompressed alpha should work.

DNxHD is not mathematically lossless, but it is "visually lossless." There is some slight degradation, but it's not apparent to the eye for several generations of re-encoding. This small amount of degradation is a very common tradeoff for reduced file size, and DNxHD masters are perfectly acceptable for most uses. Uncompressed is very often overkill.

One advantage of DNxHD is support for 10-bit color.

You might consider GoPro's CineForm codec, too. It's another light compression codec that supports alpha. I think it's now free for HD resolutions, and the paid version supports arbitrary rasters.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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John Cuevas
Re: Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 23, 2014 at 1:03:11 am

If I recall correctly, Ae does not support compressed alpha with DNxHD. Using uncompressed alpha should work.

Couldn't tell you when, but that's no longer the case, you can export compressed or uncompressed DNxHD alpha from AE and import into Avid.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor
Thinkck.com

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 23, 2014 at 1:21:40 am

[John Cuevas] "Couldn't tell you when, but that's no longer the case, you can export compressed or uncompressed DNxHD alpha from AE and import into Avid."

Sorry I wasn't clear above -- Ae itself does not read DNxHD with compressed alpha.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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EricBowen
Re: Highest Quality For Exports With Alpha Channels
on Apr 23, 2014 at 4:23:55 pm

http://lags.leetcode.net/codec.html

Lagarith is definitely 1 option I would suggest. Another is Cineform. Lagarith will be more file size friendly if required.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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