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Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE

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Lucian Boroslache
Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 28, 2017 at 4:13:28 pm

I have this hand cursor made in Illustrator, it's pixel perfect. 17 x 22 pixels



If I import the hand.ai in After Effects, something strange happens:
The hand has something like a shadow, it's not pixel perfect even aligned to the comp (anchor point at 0,0 and hand.ai at 0,0).


Bilinear above and Draft (sharp) below, still no fix.


If I convert the hand.ai to Shapes, it looks better but there's still that problem (like a shadow around the hand pixels).


Bilinear above and Draft (sharp) below, still no fix.


Is there a way to fix this problem?
Is it a bug or AE was not made to be pixel perfect?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 28, 2017 at 6:47:40 pm

Why are you so worried about this?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Lucian Boroslache
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 6:28:48 pm

I'm working on a project that involves mockuping windows cursors (so I can animated cursors in AE over interfaces).


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Roei Tzoref
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 29, 2017 at 6:09:33 pm

can you upload the vector file? I'd like to test it

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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Steve Bentley
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 1:56:38 pm

Turn on the little sun icon next to the layer name - that will re rasterize the file inside AE using the original vectors. It might have been too small in the original file and is being blown up too much. Its a good habit for any vector content.



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Lucian Boroslache
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 6:36:55 pm

Checking the Continuously Rasterize (small sun icon) doesn't fix the problem. It changes a little the .ai file but doesn't fix the whole problem.


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Lucian Boroslache
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 6:26:25 pm

Here is the hand.ai file: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6ZWlazIQQEDaXpRT1ZHLXdRRlk


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Steve Bentley
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 7:14:57 pm

With continually rasterise and best quality turned on it looks perfect here. I thought it might be the vector art board size as it's really really small in Ai - like, really small.
Is it in preview it looks bad? because preview has different settings from the main comp window - and under the topic of the frikin obvious is your comp window set to 100% and full rez?

If all that is good I'm stumped. Its' not precomped is it? Any 3D cameras?



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Steve Bentley
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 7:26:24 pm

Ah now that I know what you are doing with them I see the issue now. When it gets too small it's not actually and AE problem but an AI problem. I think the paths start to intersect at that scale and round off errors start to happen. I see the effect now when I scale it down.
The other issue is antialiasing.
Think of a circle - by the time you scale it to 4x4 pixels it can't be a circle any more. I realize it's not the same here because this has square edges but it actually the same issue. Too little resolution for the scale factor. The pixel that was on a perfect pixel at the larger size now has to decide between two pixels so it blends. You can sometimes get rid of this by moving the graphic in .25 pixel increments until it lines up perfectly but with the hand being of non perfect pixel widths (probably) it's never going to.
You might be better designing your art in an icon making package or zoom in like crazy in pshop and paint with a 1 pixel hard brush. Start with pixel art at the size you need and keep the graphic at that size. No vectors. You will also have to move them in perfect pixel steps or they will antialias, and never rotate.

Now you could use the "don't antialias" setting but you would have redo your art as with this choice turned on the lines from AI overlap and the hand becomes hollow with no inner detail.
But I'd go pixels not vector for this.



It might be better to do single vector strokes in AI and then stroke them in AE.



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Steve Bentley
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 7:33:36 pm

try this - its not perfect - all the levels should be black only but it looks sharp here as long as you move it in descrete pixels.
If you can't then turn off anti aliasing for this layer.
11552_smallhand.psd.zip



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Roei Tzoref
Re: Pixel perfect vectors don't render sharp in AE
on Jul 31, 2017 at 10:22:27 pm
Last Edited By Roei Tzoref on Aug 1, 2017 at 9:09:49 pm

the issue is Ae's resampling causing unwanted antialiasing due to Ai's artboard.

this case is new to me. your artboard is with whole numbers and whole numbers center, you are using the pixel grid, and yet you experience anti-aliasing. looking at your art transform values I can see it's on sub-pixel values and that is not recommended for sharp edges on Ae. so maybe that's related.


but after testing I see that simply changing it to whole numbers won't cut it. Ai's artboard is known to cause these kind of issues, the workaround is changing your artboard size to something bigger and with even numbers. 30x30 works fine. try it.
Here's the file after adjusting the artboard:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5wyUt17-tu2b1E1dmZnX0lXVEU/view?usp=drive...

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials


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