FORUMS: list search recent posts

Fcheck output to Final Cut Pro

COW Forums : Autodesk Maya

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Stuart Christensen
Fcheck output to Final Cut Pro
on Oct 13, 2009 at 5:52:23 pm

Hello Maya People!

I recently rendered out some Quicktime Animation clips from Maya and imported them into FCP. I did some normal editing, (2-lines of video)and output the sequence to a QTSC(selfcontained).

I used Mayas Fcheck application to save the IFF image sequences and its default codec is a Quicktime Animation.mov

Everything looked great and played great for the edit, but when I output the mix to a QTSC I had a single white frame flash before and after almost every edit point. My sequence is for NTSC and the animation codec is also set for NTSC.

I tried converting the original .movs alpha from straight to both Black/White and None. None of this seemed to change anything. With so many variables involved I'm not sure as to where I should focus my attention on in order to solve this mystery.

Has this ever happened to any of you?

I normally use AfterEffects to import the IFF image sequence and then output from AE but on this material the output .movs had way more aliasing around hard edges...so the Maya Fcheck output was much crisper and smoother looking.

I can't figure out if this is a quirk with FCP or with the conversion through Fcheck and I'm not exactly sure of the mechanics behind the Fcheck .mov output. I'll continue to do some tests.

Any ideas on how to create a top quality workflow for this would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! STU

I know alot....but not as much as the other guy.


Return to posts index

Peter Greenstone
Re: Fcheck output to Final Cut Pro
on Oct 13, 2009 at 6:29:53 pm

I would never use Fcheck to save out movies. It does not give you any options for the codec or settings.

I just did a test, opening an image sequence in fcheck and exporting it to .mov. At no point was I given any options for codec or any other settings. When I opened the movie in QT and looked at its info I found that it had been saved using the Animation codec (at who knows what quality setting). Now I don't know for sure if that actually caused the problem you experienced when you output your edit from FCP but I do know that using Fcheck to create your movie file is a bad way to go.

I would recommend you actually use Quicktime to import your image sequence and export it as a .mov form there. Probably best to export it in an uncompressed format because it's only going to get compressed again at some later point. Someone here can likely suggest the best settings/format to use for making a movie to edit in FCP but I believe that's the general way to go.

As for diagnosing your problem beyond the possibility of the Fcheck cause I think it would help if you told us how you are exporting your movies from FCP... what codec/settings. And as for the aliasing on the video output from AE it may just be a matter of how you are outputting it, so knowing that could help, too.

http://www.petergreenstone.com


Return to posts index

Stuart Christensen
Re: Fcheck output to Final Cut Pro
on Oct 14, 2009 at 12:33:49 am

Hello Peter! Thanks again for stepping up with some good advice. I did some more testing and found that Fcheck outputs a Quicktime Animation sequence based on the Render settings, in this case my output was 720X480 as an IFF sequence. So it's default is whatever I specified in the render settings.

I checked my FCP books and they suggest output the Maya sequence to the standard Quicktime Animation codec because they say that it is a lossless codec if set to 32 bits (to preserve Alpha Channel) when outputting, but how do I know if my settings in Maya are set to 32 bits? I can't recall ever seeing the 32 bit setting anywhere in Maya.

Anyway, Fcheck is the most "wonkiest" program ever! I tried it on a lark and found that the animation clip it produced looked far better than what was coming out of AE. The clips are ready to drop and edit in FCP and look pretty good. With the exception of the random white popping frames between edits.

AE generally has been giving me great results with past material but this go around it was producing some "jello, alias" stuff that isn't in the original that I know of, and I hadn't changed settings. However, as you know there's a gazzilion things that could be gremlins in the pipeline.

At the moment I work with a lot of footage that's shot (by me at 30P DVCPRO) and I'm mixing it up with the Maya clips also set at 30FPS. I'm trying to stay with all progressive frames and avoid interlacing issues but perhaps I should look into the options in the render settings for a correct/interlaced (upper_lower) field choice.

I'm so tired of standard DV but the final work is destined for DVD players in rural America, and not so much for the web as a first tier option. Converting the beautiful scenes created in Maya to NTSC output is depressing.

Now, FCP can import an entire image sequence as a TIFF, Targa, and some others so I'm going to try exporting as TIFF sequence and open in FCP and reoutput to an uncompressed version (8 or 10-bit 4:2:2) to see what happens. I'll keep you posted!

PS. My new favorite song is your tune for your fantastic fancy demo reel. Super stuff I might add! You definitely know a thing or two about a thing or two. Krutt's awesome as well! Thanks for your help. STU

I know alot....but not as much as the other guy.


Return to posts index


Peter Greenstone
Re: Fcheck output to Final Cut Pro
on Oct 14, 2009 at 2:52:25 am

As far as I know there is no option in Maya for rendering sequences directly to any QT movie format. You should render your images out as tif, tga, png, or IFF. Each is uncompressed and can hold an alpha or transparency channel. I wasn't aware that the Animation codec was lossless. It's an old one that I really never use. But I suppose if that's true then maybe it's okay to use. But I really wouldn't suggest using Fcheck for anything other than previewing images and sequences. Like I said before I'd use QT Pro to open and convert the sequences. But If you don't have QT Pro and don't want to shell out the $30+ for it then you really should be able to get perfectly good QT movies out of AE so long as you are using good export settings.

It may be an old habit for me but whenever I have compositing to do I only use image sequences such as tif with alpha or png rather than .mov files, so I'm not actually sure what QT format movie will also give you the alpha, but I'm sure it's done.

Anyway, when rendering in Maya make sure you have the alpha turned on in the render globals. If you are rendering in Mentalray you actually set the channels under the Mentalray tab. Expand the "Frame Buffer" section and set the Data Type to RGBA... the A being Alpha. I normally use 4x8 bit but you could set it to 32 bit if you are planning to do a lot of color correction in the comp and need the extra color space.

See what works for you. I hope that helps.

Oh, and thanks for the compliment on the music.

http://www.petergreenstone.com


Return to posts index

Stuart Christensen
Re: Fcheck output to Final Cut Pro
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:02:16 am

Hello Peter! thanks for bearing this one out! I have done some extensive testing and have come to some interesting conclusions.

There are some pros and cons involved with the various ways of outputting Maya Image sequences for editing in FCP.

I am going to do a separate posting from this one to explain what I have learned so far, so that if this topic is searched on the forum in the future it will appear as a concise topic, which will have a subject heading that reads, "Editing Maya Image Sequences in Final Cut Pro"

So, to finish this thread off, you are so correct that the sequence should be output as a .Targa .Tiff or .PNG sequence and converted in Quicktime Pro, to ready it for use with FCP.

It's not really necessary to use After Effects to output the file for editing as a clip in FCP, and in some cases it complicates the process.

As well, I have found that Fcheck is a useful app. that can quickly output your Maya Sequence to a QT Animation codec movie that retains super quality! I know that Fcheck has gotten a bad rap for whatever reason, probably because it's just wonky.

So there you have it. Stay tuned for the following post about what I have learned about prepping Maya Sequences to look great and edit easily in FCP.

Thanks again for all your input. STU



I know alot....but not as much as the other guy.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]