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Tj Smith
Exporting / Compression
on Sep 20, 2019 at 9:48:06 pm

Hoping to better understand exporting, compression and uploading to various socials.

Currently im exporting from AE 2017 using the quicktime format, h.264 codec, and no limiting of the bit rate. My files come out as a huge .mov, upwards of 8 GB for a music visualizer that is animated png layers and wave form analyzers.

The export looks great on my computer, but as soon as I upload to youtube / social media it looks like garbage. I know there is compression when you upload but it looks considerably worse than other peoples work.

I have also tried compressing the .mov with handbreak to .mp4 with a bitrate limit but it looks even worse.

What is your favorite export workflow?

Any documentation / videos that can help me understand this better?


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Tomas Bumbulevičius
Re: Exporting / Compression
on Sep 22, 2019 at 10:26:00 am

Hey TJ, basically, there are two general paths to take.

1. Render in AE render queue just as you normally do, but with 'Animation' codec instead of Quicktime with H.264. This is obsolete format and known as causing a lot of problems, quality wise. When rendered into lossless, you could encode with Handbrake or AME to web-friendly, .mp4 with h.264.

2. Render in AME directly to web friendly .mp4 with h.264.

People say that rendering through AME directly affects quality. But in my humble opinion, waiting while render takes place in AE render queue (without use of 3rd party plugins) is a lot more painful act and is not worth the difference you might get ☺

With that said, if this is just a casual type of render for the web, then I would go with direct AME output generation 99% of the time.

Find out more:
After Effects Tutorials: motion design, expressions, scripting.
Boxer - Dynamic Text Boxes Template with a Live Preview


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Tj Smith
Re: Exporting / Compression
on Sep 24, 2019 at 8:12:50 pm

Great, thank you for the reply. Ill test out the animation codec as well as directly to AME.

Few more questions if you know the answers, or can point me towards some resources. I would really like to understand exporting and compression better and from a more technical standpoint. My issue being the quality seems fine when viewing on my computer, but when I upload it somewhere it looks more compressed than what other peoples work.


1. Would rendering with animation codec, then re-rendering to h.264 with AME or Handbrake cause quality loss because you are rendering it twice?

2. What is the difference between format (quicktime / sequence) and codec (h.264 / prores 4444)? Is quicktime what makes the file a .mov? In that case what's the difference between .mov and .mp4?

3. Is a larger file size better? Does that mean im retaining more quality initially, or is it better to get a smaller file so there is less compression upon uploading. (I suppose this depends where im uploading but in general facebook / instagram)

4. How much does frame rate effect quality? I understand how it would mean less details in quick movements but how do you compare that vs file size.


Really just looking for deeper explanations so I can make smarter choices though the creation process. Would love to see my work get uploaded online at the quality I can actually render it at.


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