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Blurry/Soft quality after Render

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Brenden Younan
Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 12:21:44 am

Hello,

I am making a video using PAL settings in Final Cut Pro X for both the web and DVD so its a SD video. I have some video and a logo graphic over my video so its a basic setup. However, the original graphic logo from after effects is in HD and is being down-convereted to SD, but looks so bad, its almost as if I have up-scaled it. I have a look at the examples:


SD 720X576 PAL 25FPS, H.264

This is the same resolution except looks better (more sharper):


I just want the logo graphic to at least look a-little sharper and stand out more instead of looking blurry and soft. (I know its a SD video and can't expect the same results as HD).

Thanks CC


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 2:02:12 am

Is the logo animated? I assume so... haven't had time for TV watching so can't remember what Ten's bug does...

I can't say I've ever had an issue with FCPX scaling but have you tried rendering the graphics out of AE at the final size?

Also try sending the project to Motion, then modify the scaling quality, aliasing, sharpening, etc in the video attributes section.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 2:29:37 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 2:30:52 am

Thanks for the reply Jeff,

The logo does animate. I have exported this logo graphic from After Effects 1920X1080, using Animation with an Alpha channel.

Then export into FCPX timeline using settings, 720X576i. When I export using h.264 using master file, its looks horrible and blurry and not as sharp as I would like it (like the examples). I don't use Motion at the moment, my workflow only consists of AE and FCPX.

Thanks.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 2:42:35 am

Actually my bad - I meant to say Compressor... In any event, Compressor has way better resizing options when you output the project, especially in terms of h264. Actually, Apple's h264 compression has never grabbed me. I'd usually output a ProRes master and convert to h264 using anything but Apples codec. MPEG Streamclip does well as does Handbrake, or you could install the x264 codec into Compressor and create a custom preset from there.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 2:47:36 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 3:09:11 am

I'm not a fan of MPEG Streamclip as it leaves to much artefacts after render.

So your suggesting, export from FCPX using ProRes, then into handbrake for my final output using H.264? Will that make my logo look more sharper? Unfortunately, I don't have Compressor 4 at the moment.

Are there also specific codecs that make graphics look better etc?

Also, if I just export to DVD in FCPX, will the result look different?

Thanks Jeff.

Update: I just installed Handbrake and exported my video from FCPX using ProRess, then into handbrake using H264 and this was the unpleasing result:

Not much of a difference.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 4:01:19 am

You can send straight to Compressor from Final Cut but the end result will all come down to your settings.

Once you're in Compressor, you get control over bitrate, sharpening, antialiasing, etc above and beyond the FCPX presets. Somewhere in there is going to be a combination of settings that'll pass muster. Or at least be way better than the default presets.

Maybe someone else will chime in with some additional info as I rarely need to venture much past the default settings. I have a friend who has spent countless hours testing scaling in compressor - perhaps I can get him to chime in here.

~Jeff K

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 4:04:14 am

Thanks Jeff, that would be good.

The original logo is actually not square pixels (1440X1080) Do you think that quality can get a-little messy?

So far my workflow is from AE to final cut pro x.


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Jeff Kirkland
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 4:18:14 am

Not sure what your project settings are but I'd personally be editing on a PAL SD timeline. Then I'd render the logo from AE at the size I needed it and just add it to the project. That should minimise any scaling on output.

That's about all I can really think of other than playing with the Compressor settings and outputting a few short tests.

Jeff Kirkland | Video Producer | Southern Creative Media | Melbourne Australia
http://www.southerncreative.com.au | G+: http://gplus.to/jeffkirkland | Twitter: @jeffkirkland


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 4:34:22 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 4:40:17 am

I am originally editing onto a PAL timeline. However the logo is 1440X1080 out of AE and the downscaled to SD via FCPX. I'll try and do all the reszing in AE and see how it goes, I doubt it will make a difference.

Update, I downscaled from AE and the result was a-little better, however the result was still not was I want


When you watch TV or a video thats been professionally outputted, the video always looks much sharper and colours always look rich. Do you think If I was to send you the logo, you could run some tests and see how you go?


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Bret Williams
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 5:54:26 am

What are your h264 settings? At 75% quality your h264 should look the same as the ProRes original to the naked eye. My h264 settings are simply thus -


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 6:02:48 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 6:13:02 am

What program is that you are using?

The two main problems is that the logo looks washed out out of AE into FCPX and looks blurry. Down scaling from 1440X1080 to 576 shouldn't make the logo looking like this. I just need it look richer and sharper.

Take this video for instance:





The logo looks richer in colour and not as blurry.


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Bret Williams
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 6:11:31 am

Compressor. That's the screen you get when you click "change" under Quicktime settings in a preset. I don't think I mess with anything else. See the change button in the screen shot below. This is how you export from FCP X. You create custom setups in compressor, then add them into FCP X. Unless one of the other built in settings already works for your like or iPad or iPod, etc. but I never know what they're doing with those and half the time the result doesn't make any sense.



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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 6:16:26 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 6:18:57 am

Unfortunately, I don't have Compressor 4 at the moment. My workflow is only with After Effects and Final Cut Pro X.

How can keep colour and sharpness with only these two softwares? Or is it vital to have a professional encoder? This has been driving me instance for awhile, my graphics always look amateur and never they outcome I'm looming for. How do you make your graphics look more professional?


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Bret Williams
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 6:22:31 am
Last Edited By Bret Williams on May 3, 2015 at 6:25:22 am

If you just use the YouTube or Vimeo settings you'd get a fine result. Maybe output for devices computer.

But here's the link you just shared compared with your screen shots of your outputs. Looks the same to me.
Your screen shot on the right looks better than the YouTube link on the left actually. No color shift. They're at different points in the flare animation but that's it.



Is that an example of what you've been screenshotting? Because that logo is really tiny in a 480 frame. It's not going to get much better. Your screen shots are blowing the image up 4 fold. You want it to look sharp you need more pixels. Output 1080p.


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 6:30:25 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 6:35:14 am

I have put them side by side at the time. Both colour and quality do look different (My logo is on the right). The one on the left looks richer in colour and does look a touch sharper, while mine looks washed out and blurry.



Exported the logo originally at 1440X1080, Animation. Then into FCPX SD timeline. I really am running out on solutions.


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Bret Williams
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 6:45:18 am

Yours certainly doesn't look washed out. Slightly different color/gamma perhaps. Perhaps the difference in contrast because the one on the left is so much more highly compressed and chock full of artifacts. Apple's h264 tends to go smoother (blurrier) instead of showing artifacts. But in any case you're still blowing it up 400% and that's not a fair way to compare. Zoom in and look at the stair stepping on the other logo's circle while yours are smooth and round. Looks at the color banding and artifacts while yours hasn't any. Look at their blue bleeding into the white text while your text is whiter for the most part.

All you can do is throw a higher data rate at it. Go buy compressor. It's next to free.


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 7:03:25 am
Last Edited By Brenden Younan on May 3, 2015 at 7:05:50 am

Well I'm not sure I like the look of a blurry, soft logo and I don't think a professional TV company would expect this quality IMO.

Here is a another example without me blowing it up. I still won't expect the quality of mine:


Would compressor do the trick to the quality like on the left?


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Bret Williams
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 7:23:52 am

Does yours look sharper before you export? If so yes it should. It should look just like the original.


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 7:59:47 am

Yes, the logo looks sharper which was originally HD.



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David Battistella
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 8:57:53 am

Select your project.

Go into the setting and check to see what codec your render settings are set to. Chances are they might be set at Prores 422. If they are switch the render codec of your sequence to Prores 4444.

I think what is happening is that your timeline is rendering to Prores 422 or LT instead of the highest possible quality when you drop the animation render in from AE.

The other option would be to output a clean version from AE and then put the Logobug on in FCP X and key it in there and render it in there.

You might get a sharper result.

Also just double check your UPPER and LOWER field settings in the render of your FCP X sequence. if you have the wrong one selected you might end up with the type of "jaggies" you see here.

______________________________

http://www.bottegabattistella.com/blog/


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Brenden Younan
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 3, 2015 at 9:13:45 am

I do render from AE in full quality and place that into FCPX, with no change in result. The logo isn't interlaced also. I'm not sure what else to do.


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Ian Skurrie
Re: Blurry/Soft quality after Render
on May 4, 2015 at 1:53:39 am

I have done a lot of research and testing on downscaling and have found that it is difficult to get good results. I would suggest that you downscale the logo in photoshop, then create an alpha channel 50p SD clip in AE, then interlace with the same field dominance as your original project, making sure that you get an exact frame for field conversion, seeing I use either compressor or JES Deinterlacer (free) to interlace I am not sure of the AE settings you would need.

Ian Skurrie


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