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Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?

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Ron Moore
Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 24, 2018 at 7:45:56 pm

We're not pleased with Adobe's phasing out of QuickTime codec's, apparently because of vulnerabilities. I can no longer render out a .mov video from After Effects using the Animation codec and save an alpha. Media Encoder is not much help either. I was able to render an uncompressed PNG sequence and arrive at an alpha channel that way, but AE and Media Encoder won't even open up a rendered .mov from Cinema 4D R17, so this update does not seem to be "progress" to me. Any suggestions on alternative high-quality codecs in the latest version of After Effects?


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Max Haller
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 24, 2018 at 8:40:48 pm

Hey Ron,

I'm using ae 15.1.0 ( I think the most current) and I can render animation codec with alpha without any trouble. What happens when you try? Is the option gone for you?

https://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/multi/quicktime7-support-dropped.html

I think that means you should still have access to rendering as an animation with alpha. You might have better luck exporting an image sequence from C4d and then importing the img sequence in AE instead of going straight to a video from C4d. Maybe I'm not on the most current build but I'll just never update since everything works right for me! Good luck!


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Ron Moore
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 24, 2018 at 8:52:38 pm

That's right, Max, the option is no longer available. The codec list is not as extensive as the 2017 version of AE and I'm of the same mind as you in that I'm very cautious about upgrading. If it works I tend to leave it alone. Adobe updates at a frantic pace, so I try to keep at least one or two older versions of AE, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro since I know I can depend on them. The most upsetting to my workflow is not to be able to import .mov files into AE, at least that's the limitation I've seen happen more often than not in this latest version.


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Max Haller
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 24, 2018 at 9:24:56 pm

Actually I'm running CC 2018 here but I still have the animation codec. Not sure if this really viable since it'll be a huge file, but would lossless with alpha work for what you need?


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Ron Moore
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 24, 2018 at 9:42:42 pm

Sorry, I'm not in my home studio right now, but at the full-time job in radio production and I was in error about the Animation codec. That I do have but many of the other options for .mov files like Photo-JPEG are what's missing, and they are indeed enormous files if you are forced to go with Animation for every QuickTime render. If AE could somehow open those .mov renders out of Cinema 4D, that would make things much easier.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 25, 2018 at 12:34:13 am

Adobe is dropping QuickTime support via Apple's QuickTime library, because Apple has deprecated QuickTime on both Windows and macOS. In fact, the old 32-bit QuickTime library/codecs will not run at all on future versions of macOS (which will only run 64-bit applications).

Adobe has written their own support (via their MediaCore media handling framework) for the QuickTime movie format itself, as well as a selection of codecs. As Max notes, Animation is among them -- but as you note, Animation codec files can get really big.

If you're looking for a cross-platform, lightly-compressed, visually-lossless format that enjoys native support in Adobe apps, I'd suggest GoPro CineForm or Avid DNxHD/DNxHR.

Personally, though, for C4D renders, I stick to image sequences. If you're used to using QuickTime PhotoJPEG, you could consider a JPEG sequence as an alternative.

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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Andrew Somers
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 25, 2018 at 2:32:29 am
Last Edited By Andrew Somers on Sep 25, 2018 at 2:33:46 am

I agree Walter,

I have always hated the Animation codec. Uncompressed 8 bit is lower fidelity than a 10 bit compressed format like ProRes. If you need an alpha channel, ProRes 4444 is superior to the animation codec and uses less space.

I think people like the sound of "uncompressed" — and it "was" actually important back in the days of tape to tape editing, where generation loss was a real concern. It's not so much an issue with modern workflows.

Here's a test I just ran of three codecs that support alphas, using a little test sequence with alpha. All outputs were with alpha and set to trillions of colors (except EXR which was Float of course):



12 bit ProRes 4444 is like a THIRD the file size, yet is superior in terms of dynamic range due to the higher bit depth. My favorite choice is EXR with Piz compression, 16 bit floating point and just a little bigger than the animation codec, but superior dynamic range. EXR is what I *always* use rendering out of C4D.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
https://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Ron Moore
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 25, 2018 at 4:57:34 am

Thanks to all who replied and set me straight on the limitations of the Animation codec and benefits of the alternatives. I can definitely say I've learned something today!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 25, 2018 at 9:31:30 am

[Andrew Somers] "I have always hated the Animation codec. Uncompressed 8 bit is lower fidelity than a 10 bit compressed format like ProRes. "

Well... it's worth noting that Animation can be encoded on any platform, and that depending on what you're doing, an 8-bit RGB intermediate could be superior to a chroma-subsampled Y'CbCr intermediate like ProRes 422, even though it is 10-bit.

I strongly agree on rendering EXR out of C4D -- we do the same as a matter of course. You get so much more flexibility in compositing with all that dynamic range conserved in a floating point format.

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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Andrew Somers
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 25, 2018 at 2:48:42 pm

Walter said: Well... it's worth noting that Animation can be encoded on any platform, and that depending on what you're doing, an 8-bit RGB intermediate could be superior to a chroma-subsampled Y'CbCr intermediate like ProRes 422, even though it is 10-bit.


Yes, I agree, certainly a color key would be less desirable with a 422 format, but I was thinking more along the lines of ProRes4444 though I see I wasn't totally clear. And of course I tend to forget the incomplete support for ProRes on windows. Avid's DNx formats tend to have some weird artifacts that I like to stay away from.

I did have a client once that had problems using ProRes or DNx, and needed the Animation codec with alpha just to make things easier for them.

Andrew Somers
VFX & Title Supervisor
https://www.GeneralTitles.com


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Steve Bentley
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 3:39:13 am

As for some AE 2018 versions still supporting codecs like Animation: version <=15.03 (of 2018) still supports Qt but as soon as you let CC upgrade you to the 15.1 or higher, you're done. Yes there are some bug fixes in 15.1x but you have to decide how bad you want that RLE codecvs the bug fixes. Without ProRes available on the PC, we too miss this clean small mb format (mostly for mattes).
Many of our AE outputs on PC have to travel to a client's Mac to be encoded to ProRes and are massive enough even in Animation best so using EXRs would be out of the question. I'm not a fan of the Avid one but I hadn't thought of the Cineform one. We'll give that whirl.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 1:10:32 pm

[Steve Bentley] "As for some AE 2018 versions still supporting codecs like Animation: version <=15.03 (of 2018) still supports Qt but as soon as you let CC upgrade you to the 15.1 or higher, you're done."

This gets confusing fast. QuickTime is a file format, QuickTime is a library/API for programmers, and QuickTime is an application. Even though the QuickTime library and application are deprecated, Adobe still offers some support for QuickTime movies.

Animation codec in a QuickTime wrapper is natively supported by Adobe via MediaCore. Apple QuickTime is not required, and it works on 15.1 and up.

See here for a list of QuickTime formats supported in Ae v15.1 and beyond, without any reliance on Apple QuickTime:
https://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/multi/quicktime7-support-dropped.html


[Steve Bentley] " I'm not a fan of the Avid one but I hadn't thought of the Cineform one. We'll give that whirl."

CineForm is great. It has been a really nice cross-platform solution for our shop.

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: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 4:51:19 pm

Re multiple uses of QT: good point Walter. Adobe has never been the best at descriptive labels. I had whipped that post off quickly.
I had assumed Animation Best was part of the deprecated lot since it no longer showed up in 15.1, at least for us, but was still an option in 15.03.
I saw the listing of supported codecs past 15.1 on Adobe's info page (still including Animation) and just assumed (like so much of their color space info) it was just wrong since Animation vanished from our options. Are you saying that through some voodoo we can have Animation Best back again, post 15.1?



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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 5:03:34 pm

[Steve Bentley] "I saw the listing of supported codecs past 15.1 on Adobe's info page (still including Animation) and just assumed (like so much of their color space info) it was just wrong since Animation vanished from our options. Are you saying that through some voodoo we can have Animation Best back again, post 15.1?"

It should just be there. Maybe it's possible you'd need to rebuild any Animation codec output modules you were using from scratch so that it internally refers to Adobe's encoder?

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: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 6:43:42 pm

Keeping in the theme, Andrew or Walter I wonder if you could suggest a workflow.
Final output: ProRes444 compressed on a Mac.
Originating file from AE on Win7, in a 32bit comp and larger than normal size 5760x1080 (but still adhering to Cineform's divide by 16 rule) If I could compress ProRes right from the PC I would but I don't think there is a writable ProRes on the PC.

The catches: Mac is 10.6.8 so the current Cineform codec is not available (and I've searched for an older one - no luck)
The total running file is massive (running length is long) so I'd rather not render a bunch of EXRs (or any non-RLE still format )and send them over to the Mac, hence animation best and cineform being ideal size-wise. But the former of course has a limited color space and the latter has a codec issue on that age of Mac.
We're not loving the Avid codec solution.

Is there another intermediate that we could choose that would be readable/recompressable by the Mac side?

Suggestions?



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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 6:58:57 pm

Going cross-platform, using Mac OS X 10.6.8, and avoiding Avid codecs does make this a little harder...

AfterCodecs can use ffmpeg to write unlicensed ProRes on a PC:
https://aescripts.com/aftercodecs/

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: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 7:07:18 pm

Hey Thanks Walter, I didn't realize there was a ProRes for FFMpeg. I'll give that a whirl. That will allow us to cut out the middle man (er... middleMac?)



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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 7:14:32 pm

[Steve Bentley] "Hey Thanks Walter, I didn't realize there was a ProRes for FFMpeg. I'll give that a whirl. That will allow us to cut out the middle man (er... middleMac?)"

ffmpeg uses reverse-engineered ProRes, not official, Apple-licensed ProRes.

If you're just using the Mac to write ProRes, there are a few other options that do use an official Apple ProRes encoder. In cost order:

Assimilate SCRATCH Play Pro (subscription)
http://www.assimilateinc.com/products/scratch-play-pro/

Blackmagic Design Fusion Pro (perpetual license)
https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/fusion/

Assimilate SCRATCH (either)
http://www.assimilateinc.com/products/

The Foundry NUKE (either)
https://www.foundry.com/products/nuke

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: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 7:20:59 pm

I'd rather compress it on the PC. The issue is getting a codec format that is wide enough in its color space and small enough in size (like Cineform) that the PC can write and the Mac of that age can read and recompress to Prores. But if I can cut out the Mac platform altogether that speeds things up immensely.
I've been out of the Fusion world for years and didn't realize BMD had bought it.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Workaround for QuickTime Renders in AE CC 2018?
on Sep 26, 2018 at 8:41:12 pm

That's what I'm saying -- use one of those apps to compress to true Apple ProRes right on the PC, no Mac required.

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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