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H.264 Jagged Lines (Vimeo)

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Sabine Waring
H.264 Jagged Lines (Vimeo)
on May 10, 2011 at 12:48:16 am

Hi everyone,

I'd appreciate some help with encoding for Vimeo. I'm on a Mac and rendering an animated After Effects file out, the video does not contain any footage, just typography and graphics with very sharp edges. (Yes, continuos rasterization is on).

I need to upload this to Vimeo, but whatever I do, the end result on Vimeo has horrible jagged edges. I followed the Vimeo compression rules and output an H.264 file from After Effects. The file looked alright after rendering:



But this is what it looks like on Vimeo after uploading:





I then tried rendering high quality quicktime with Animation codec at 75% and 100% quality and tried re-encoding that as an H.264 using both Quicktime pro, After Effects and the Media Encoder and all three resulted in jagged edges (I'm afraid I don't have any of the big compressors).

As a last resort, to bypass another re-encoding process on Vimeo, I uploaded the previously rendered quicktime with Animation codec at 75% quality (around 370 MB) to see what Vimeo would make of it and bam, again jagged edges.

I thought maybe it was because my actual video is Pal Widescreen (square pixels) and Vimeo resizes it to 640 x something, so I made a completely new comp in After Effects at 640 by 351 to avoid the resizing, but it didn't help one bit.

I am at a complete loss and have no idea what to do now, the video just cannot remain this way because the jagged edges completely ruin the entire animation. I would really appreciate some help.


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Craig Seeman
Re: H.264 Jagged Lines (Vimeo)
on May 10, 2011 at 2:12:09 am

[Sabine Waring] " need to upload this to Vimeo, but whatever I do, the end result on Vimeo has horrible jagged edges. I followed the Vimeo compression rules and output an H.264 file from After Effects. The file looked alright after rendering:"

Which may mean the issue is how Vimeo is handling the file.

[Sabine Waring] "I thought maybe it was because my actual video is Pal Widescreen (square pixels)"

If you're doing animation why not use HD 1280x720 and upload at that frame size and avoid scaling. The scaling on Vimeo of your source file might be part of the issue.


[Sabine Waring] "so I made a completely new comp in After Effects at 640 by 351 to avoid the resizing, but it didn't help one bit."

How would that avoid resizing? Also never use odd frame sizes. Most codecs don't like odd numbers. 640x360 is 16:9 but you're better off doing 1280x720 so you can viewers can use Vimeo's HD mode.



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Sabine Waring
Re: H.264 Jagged Lines (Vimeo)
on May 10, 2011 at 9:22:14 am

Which may mean the issue is how Vimeo is handling the file.


I think h.264 might be the issue, because when I tried converting that 640 x 351 animation codec file on my own computer to h.264, I had jagged lines on here as well.

If you're doing animation why not use HD 1280x720 and upload at that frame size and avoid scaling. The scaling on Vimeo of your source file might be part of the issue.

I animated the whole piece in only Pal Widescreen. :/ I'm running AE on a four year old MacBook with 3GB of Ram, it is struggling with anything in Pal resolution already, any attempt I made to produce something in HD failed gloriously.

How would that avoid resizing? Also never use odd frame sizes. Most codecs don't like odd numbers. 640x360 is 16:9 but you're better off doing 1280x720 so you can viewers can use Vimeo's HD mode.

I meant resizing as in resolution resizing, not converting. =)

Am confused now, I started this using the Pal Widescreen preset in AE, which is 1050 by 576. When I resize this with Aspect Ratio controlled, then it doesn't end up at 640x360, but at 640x351. :/ Just tried to fit it into 640x360, but it obviously gives me black lines at the top and bottom.


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Craig Seeman
Re: H.264 Jagged Lines (Vimeo)
on May 10, 2011 at 11:33:11 am

http://help.adobe.com/en_US/AfterEffects/9.0/WS3878526689cb91655866c1103906...

Adobe has made it difficult by using 1050x576. 1024x576 is used by most other programs. You need to end up with 16x9 square pixels. 640x360 works, not 640x351.

[Sabine Waring] "I think h.264 might be the issue, because when I tried converting that 640 x 351 animation codec file on my own computer to h.264, I had jagged lines on here as well."

Please read my previous post. Codecs do not like odd numbers. Ideally frame sizes should be divisible by 16, 8, 4 (16 is best). 2 and 1 (an odd number) should be avoided.

Vimeo has recommended sizes
http://vimeo.com/help/compression

Resolution
640x480 (SD) / 1280x720 (HD)

640x480 for standard definition 4:3 video, 853x480 for widescreen DV, and 1280x720 or 1920x1080 for high definition. If you have the option to control the pixel aspect ratio (not display aspect ratio) make sure it's set to "1:1" or "1.00", also sometimes called "square pixels."


I'd disagree with their 853 and use 854. Granted it's a trade off with slight distortion vs the issue that codecs don't like odd numbers.

Ideal frame sizes
http://www.flashsupport.com/books/fvst/files/tools/video_sizes.html
Note that 1024x576 is an ideal 16x9 frame size (divisible by 16). 640x360 is good (divisible by 8). 853 (or 854)x480 is compromised for the codec probably eases scaling Vimeo's side so they recommend it. To avoid jagged edges you should have 16x9 divisible by 16, 8, (4 may be acceptable) otherwise you may have to live with compromise. Note that 1280x720 is ideal even if your computer can't handle it. It's another compromise you've had to make.


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Sabine Waring
Re: H.264 Jagged Lines (Vimeo)
on May 13, 2011 at 11:40:34 am

Hi Craig, thank you for your answer, it was really helpful and enlightening. I'll definitely pay more attention to resolution from here on out!


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