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How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?

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Héctor Moreno
How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 14, 2019 at 9:20:09 am

I am working on a project with a visual artist who asked me to have a zoom in animation on a map, from the full view to a single pixel. This will be projected in an art gallery with several other pieces, and the catch is that the zooming in on the map should not be noticeable when looking at it casually passing by, so they asked me to make it 3 hours long. I thought it would be as easy as keyframing the scale at the beginning and end, but a jittery effect appears on screen when I play it back.

I have tried many things, but nothing seems to work. The only thing that works is toggling the Quality and Sampling layer switch. This removes the jittery effect, but also blurs the image a lot. Here’s a comparison of before and after toggling the Quality and Sampling layer switch.

Ideally, I would need to make the animation smooth (removing the jittery effect) while maintaining the sharpness of the pixels. Is there a way to make this possible? Thanks.


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Tomas Bumbulevičius
Re: How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 14, 2019 at 9:51:05 am
Last Edited By Tomas Bumbulevičius on Oct 14, 2019 at 9:53:06 am

Hey Hector, could you please let us know the following:

1. Is assets being animated - full vector? EDIT (I see its Tiff, but is it possible to get in in a vector?)
2. How long animation is in length? By saying its 3h long, does it mean scale begin at 0s and ends 3hours later? :)) Meaning, its super, super slow interpolation.
3. What is the size of the map in pixels, and the size of the video/composition?
4. What do you call 'jittery'? I assume its rough animation, which jumps/zooms in slowly, thus, noticeably, but your examples showcases blurry/sharp visuals, which makes it questionable ☺

I think the request you have is trivial and not really possible to achieve 100%. It might be possible to reduce the 'slowlyness' amount if its about it, but thats pretty much it.

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


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Héctor Moreno
Re: How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 14, 2019 at 10:55:42 am

Hey Tomas, to answer your questions:
1. The asset I am animating is a TIFF scan of a real map.
2. The duration of the animation is 3:00:00:00 (3 hours) in a 25fps composition. The scale animation starts at 0:00:00:00 at 22%, and ends at 3:00:00:00 at 235000%, therefore it goes from the full map to a single pixel.
3. The size of the map is 14039x10200 pixels, and the size of the composition is 1920x1080.
4. Yes, I mean it is not a smooth animation, its jumping and there is a weird pattern that appears as well. To better illustrate this, you can see a short video preview of three different points in the animation here.

I hope this clears it up a little. Thank you!


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Tomas Bumbulevičius
Re: How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 14, 2019 at 1:54:51 pm

Hector, thanks for explanation, this covers the topic well enough.

Basically, you are working with pixels, thus its not possible to make them crisp. What you are seeing after 200k zoom is exactly what is expected - pixels.

The main problem of this client request is that the length is simply unreasonable for this matter, IMO. The speed of animation is too slow to achieve desired result.

Probably it would be more functional if length of video is drastically reduced, animation speed up. Aaand, playbacked in both directions, meaning - zoomIn, zoomOut.

There might be some possibilities of applying Timewarp related effects to introduce blending of frames for the comp, but still not with 3h length of footage, unfortunately ! :(

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


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Steve Bentley
Re: How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 15, 2019 at 6:55:27 am

I'll bet you are also rendering out compressed (like H264) to keep the size of the file manageable (in uncompressed format it's in the 2 petabyte range!) and that compression can add jitters too, especially at each keyframe (in the compression, not in the animation).
Are you sure that's what they want? Even with a smooth solution you just aren't going to notice the scaling over that period of time - that's less of a change than watching the moon move across the sky.
Make sure you are setting the continually rasterize flag for any subcomps so that overall scaling is taken into effect.
These shots (called "Power of 10" shots) are not for the faint of heart. When you scale something up by 200 % the size of the element is actually getting 4 times larger in area. Double again and now you are at 16 times larger. It gets out of hand (and blurry) pretty darn fast.
And based on your scaling size, you are taking a 14,000 pixel wide image and virtually scaling it 5 million pixels. The greatest you can go in AE is 130% in scale before the blurries start to get the better of you.
There are some blow up software solutions that turn the image to vectors, do the blow up and then turn the image back to pixels with little to no degradation but even then they usually top out at 600%. (like Genuine Fractals) You are asking for 300% (give or take) so you are well within this range. But its better to divide the image up into sections, scale them up before you go into AE and then join a bunch of separate blown up chunks in a precomp and then zoom in the master outer comp with continually rasterize turned on for the precomp.. But the images must already be blown up before they get to AE (at least with in 30% of final) for you to generate acceptable quality.



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Steve Bentley
Re: How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 15, 2019 at 7:31:04 am

Just a note on the quality switch in the layers - unless you say otherwise the render will always be as though you turned that to Bilinear or Best or Full. If you set the layer to BiCubic (the curvy one) you should set your render settings to "Current" so that AE picks up that choice from the layers.
Second, Bicubic doesn't really work well with graphics. (I don't know what your map looks like). An image has lots of noise and hard edges and soft edges that the Bicubic can use to help sharpen results after the fact. With a graphic it only has the antialiased edge of a line of pixels.
If you are using a vector that's another story - vectors in theory are infinitely scalable and will keep their sharp edges. Make sure to use the continuously rasterize button for the vector layers and make your vector art as big as you can in something like illustrator. Even vectors have their limits.



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Steve Bentley
Re: How to remove a jittery effect from a zoom in animation without losing image quality?
on Oct 15, 2019 at 7:38:46 am

I just thought of something - its possible you are using vectors and expecting a miracle out of the Bicubic setting. It won't affect vectors in the way you think - in fact it gets worse.
Instead use the continuously rasterize button with Bi linear (or "best" for us old guys) in the layer quality settings.
Here's where that switch is





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