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After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.

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Marius Crowne
After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 8, 2013 at 10:17:42 pm

Hey all. I'm about to lose my mind, so any help here would be appreciated.

I exported an animation file directly from AE and I've been trying to compress it for Vimeo, but it keeps ending up looking bloody horrible. I mean, really unacceptable.

I've tried compressing with Compressor, Media Encoder, and Handbrake. The best results I've gotten are with Compressor after exporting as an x264 with Gamma Correction at 1.10 and Color Correct Midtones at 3 each. But that's still not great.

When I upload anything to Vimeo, however, it COMPLETELY falls apart. Chunky, pixelated, dull grossness. I've never seen anything like it.

I've attached before and after images. Please look at them full size to see the full effect of the awfulness.

Please help.

//Marius

Before:

After


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Ivan Myles
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 9, 2013 at 1:44:28 am

It looks like bitrate is too low in the encoded file. A few questions:

- When you say "animation file" do you mean a video that includes animation, or are you referring to the QuickTime animation codec (lossless RGB)?
- What export settings were used to create the "Before" video? Please post a screen capture of all the video settings.
- Download the transcoded Vimeo file ("After"). Does it look any better when played locally?
-Analyze the downloaded Vimeo file using MediaTools or similar app. It will tell you all the x264 settings that Vimeo used to transcode the file. What are the average and maximum bitrates, H.264 profile and level, and GOP M and N values of the encoded file?
- How long is the video and what is the frame rate? Alternatively, how many frames are there in total?
- What type of Vimeo account do you have? (i.e. What is your maximum allowed file size?)

If you have an x264 encoder one approach would be to encode a file using the same settings as the transcoded Vimeo file. Another approach is to use an intermediate codec like ProRes or DNxHD if file size is not constrained. Otherwise, try H.264 with as high a bitrate as possible within the file size constraint. I suggest uploading a 1280x720 version to test encoding parameters before working with the 1920x1080 file.


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Craig Seeman
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 9, 2013 at 1:52:06 am

Vimeo has recommended settings which might help which includes bit rates. Note they prefer High Profile with CABAC encoding. I'll mention that you can't do that in Compressor. You should be able to do that in Media Encoder and Handbrake.
https://vimeo.com/help/compression



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Marius Crowne
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 9, 2013 at 12:30:26 pm

- When you say "animation file" do you mean a video that includes animation, or are you referring to the QuickTime animation codec (lossless RGB)?

Sorry for not being clear, I mean the QT animation codec.

- What export settings were used to create the "Before" video? Please post a screen capture of all the video settings.


The "Before" image is simply the lossless animation file exported directly from AE.


The "After" image is compressors 1080p Video Sharing preset, but tweaked. I use x264 instead of H.264 and tweak Gamma Correction and Color Correct Midtones.




- Download the transcoded Vimeo file ("After"). Does it look any better when played locally?

It does. Interestingly enough, the section containing the previously uploaded images (before and after pics) always looks worse than everything else. I should also mention that there's a lot of movement in this video, which I understand can affect compression.

-Analyze the downloaded Vimeo file using MediaTools or similar app. It will tell you all the x264 settings that Vimeo used to transcode the file. What are the average and maximum bitrates, H.264 profile and level, and GOP M and N values of the encoded file?

Sorry, I've never heard of MediaTools (or a similar app before) and when I Google it, I get an endless list of unrelated stuff. Sorry to be a bother, but could you send me a link to a website for MediaTools or a comparable product? Thanks.

- How long is the video and what is the frame rate? Alternatively, how many frames are there in total?

TRT on the video is 0:00:52:20 and the frame rate is 23.976.

- What type of Vimeo account do you have? (i.e. What is your maximum allowed file size?)

I have a Vimeo plus account, so my maximum file upload size is 5GB.


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Ivan Myles
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 9, 2013 at 7:54:02 pm

Thank you for posting the information. Sorry, my mistake. I meant MediaInfo.

For clarification, is the "After" image from your x264 file or from the Vimeo transcode?

Try encoding and uploading a short high motion clip as a test file. I recommend downscaling to 1280x720 first. For the x264 Compressor export enable Best Quality (Multi-pass) and Key Frames: Automatic. Also try creating a MP4 with the following video settings:

Video Format: H.264
Data Rate: 12680 (assuming audio is 320 kbps)
Image Size: 1280x720
Key Frame: Automatic
Video Options...
- Main Profile
- Best Quality (Multi-pass)


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Marius Crowne
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 11, 2013 at 2:22:09 pm

Alrighty. Hi there, Ivan. Sorry for taking so long to make it back.

So, yes, the "After" image is indeed from Vimeo. I tried compressing a file with the specifications that you mentioned and got mediocre results, but that's not the first H.264 file I've tried to do. I've just gotten the best results with x264. Everything still looks like absolute garbage when I upload to Vimeo.

Also, I downloaded MediaInfo and here are the results from the video I downloaded from Vimeo.



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Ivan Myles
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 11, 2013 at 4:17:35 pm

The tree and text views in MediaInfo provide more detailed information. Near the bottom of the video section there should be an item called "Encoding Settings." It shows all the x264 settings Vimeo used when transcoding the file.

I noticed the Vimeo file is 1888x1062. Are those the dimensions of your uploaded file?

Also, since the duration is only ~53 seconds consider uploading a ProRes or DNxHD file. Try a short clip first at both 720p and 1080p.


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Craig Seeman
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 12, 2013 at 5:37:55 pm

Just a couple more straws to grasp at.
Try exporting from AE using ProRes4444 instead of Animation codec.
Try using YouTube's "Content Creator" recommendations.
You mention Main Profile. Use High Profile. YouTube mentions 50,000kbps for 1920x1080. I think Vimeo mentions 20,000kbps (10 to 20 actually).
It seems like overkill but see how Vimeo handles it.



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Eric Strand
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 10, 2013 at 1:28:25 pm

Have you tried setting the x264 tune option to Animation?

If you go to the "Options" dialog box in the Compression Settings dialog box and then "Load Preset" in the lower left corner of the x264 settings dialog box that pops up, there is a x264 tune dropdown which allows you to select Animation.

If that doesn't work, why not just try a normal H.264 for kicks to see what happens?


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Marius Crowne
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 11, 2013 at 2:23:57 pm

Hi, Eric. Thanks for getting back to me.

The animation preset was a great suggestion. I got terrific results, HOWEVER, that doesn't seem to be the problem. The real issue is when I upload the video to Vimeo, it turns to garbage no matter what my results are on my computer.

Thanks again.


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Marius Crowne
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 12, 2013 at 4:40:22 pm

Just in response to your previous suggestion of alternate uploads. It still looks like complete trash. I don't understand what's happening. I've also tried YouTube and that looks horrific as well.

Anything else? Anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


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Craig Seeman
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 12, 2013 at 5:40:31 pm

Let's try a few more straws to grasp at.
Try exporting from AE using ProRes4444 instead of Animation codec.

Try using YouTube's "Content Creator" recommendations.
You mention Main Profile. Use High Profile. YouTube mentions 50,000kbps for 1920x1080. I think Vimeo mentions 20,000kbps (10 to 20 actually).

It seems like overkill but see how Vimeo handles it.



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Marius Crowne
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 15, 2013 at 7:23:09 pm

It looks the same. Crap.

I'm losing hope.

It's phenomenally depressing to spend so much time on a project and then not be able to show it to anyone.

//M


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Craig Seeman
Re: After Effects animation file looks terrible when compressed for Vimeo.
on Jul 15, 2013 at 7:36:11 pm

Try on YouTube using their 50,000kbps High Profile CABAC settings and see how it looks there.



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