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Text "sawtoothing" problem

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Bryan McClurg
Text "sawtoothing" problem
on Aug 1, 2017 at 3:37:36 pm

Hi gang,

I'm making opening credits for a feature film. The instructions are simple: fade in & out with simple white text in various parts during the opening sequence of the film. The issue? When I decrease the size of the font to fit appropriately in the composition, I get this pixelated, sawtooth-looking font. When the font is large, this isn't an issue, but the smaller it gets, the more pixelated. I thought this was only a preview issue, but the end result is the same. I also get this aliasing around my text when exported as an alpha channel.

I did some research into "pixelated text" issues, but I haven't found the solution to what is - probably - a very simple fix.

I use a 27" iMac, 8 gig ram, working on AE CC 2015. My comp settings are: 1920x1080, aspect ratio is "square pixels," 23.976 fps. The export settings are: 2048x1152, TIFF sequence, with alpha channel.

Below are pictures for reference.

Project:


Sawtoothing:


Export settings:


TIFF w/ alpha:



Any ideas? Please and thanks.

Bryan McClurg
Editor, Writer, Director


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Text "sawtoothing" problem
on Aug 1, 2017 at 4:51:06 pm

I see you're resizing when you render. That probably accounts for the pixelization, stair-steppy look. Although you can scale AE text layers to your heart's content in a comp, that same sharp-edged, vector-based text appearance doesn't occur the way you're doing it.

I recommend rendering out just ONE of your text layers in a 2048x1152 comp. It shouldn't take long at all. If the look improves, you've found the culprit!

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


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Bryan McClurg
Re: Text "sawtoothing" problem
on Aug 1, 2017 at 5:35:58 pm

Thanks for the advice, Dave, but while it does look a bit sharper, I'm still seeing the same "stair-steppy" look, and aliasing around my font.

TIFF w/ alpha (correct comp size):


The culprit is still on the loose!

Bryan McClurg
Editor, Writer, Director


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Text "sawtoothing" problem
on Aug 1, 2017 at 6:23:24 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Aug 1, 2017 at 6:25:58 pm

It ought to be a little better -- glad it does.
NOW -- Rather than over gray, how does the rendered file look over real footage?
Unless there's some operator error that isn't immediately apparent in a screen shot, I'd say you're good to go.

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


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Walter Soyka
Re: Text "sawtoothing" problem
on Aug 1, 2017 at 6:58:21 pm

Some aliasing should be expected on small type when you look close -- diagonal lines just don't fit into rectangular grids (pixels) perfectly.

You are also using a faux bold effect on the font. That might be exaggerating the issue. If the font has a native Bold weight, use that instead:



Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Steve Bentley
Re: Text "sawtoothing" problem
on Aug 2, 2017 at 7:59:23 am

The aliasing around the alpha might need to be there depending on alpha type. If you use "straight" then AE puts aliased pixels outside the smooth edge of the matte. But if you aren't putting it over a background yet where the cookie cutter effect happens it can look kinda weird.
Premult alphas don't do this but technically apply an alpha twice, once during the render and then again when put over a background (that's over simplified but gets to the meat of it). But if never prerender the text and just slide a back ground inthere you will never see either of these issues (unless the alpha object in the font is damaged or bad)
If you get anything too small, there just aren't enough pixels to describe the object plus is antiasliased edges so it can look minecrafty. A circle scaled to a grid of 2x2 pixels can never be a circle.
Also, rending on white type on black make the anitaliasing work the hardest as it has to blend from the farthest extremes of black to white, instead of say white to medium purple. You might also want to not do them at 100% white. In most video systems this is a no-no anyway and this reduced white will help out the aliasing. Many designer types will tell you text should never be full white or full black anyway as it has more elegance this way.
If you precompose the multilayer text file and scale it you might need to turn on contiunuously rasterize (the sun icon) in the outer comp to keep the resolution.
As as other posters have pointed out, some fonts just don't have good versions of small sets inside their suitcases. I just finished working with a client's font who's italic was an aliased mess even at headline font sizes
You could also try setting the text in Illustrator and then outlineing it and then bring those files into AE - use the sun icon button here for sure.



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