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does animation need sharpening?

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christian kimdoes animation need sharpening?
by on Oct 17, 2011 at 5:31:18 am

Hi guys, been looking around for answer to above question for a while, but no one seems to be asking the question, either its very obvious, or i am not asking the right question i guess.

in photoshop, i always try to sharpen my images for the final format. nothing severe, but just enough to bring out the details, and counter smudging in case of compression / print.

however, with animation, was not sure if sharpening is a standard practice, or something that should be used only to counter problems (such as slightly blurry footage).

i work extensively with computer generated images (basically 3d rendered animation sequence).

any suggestions, or links i could read up on?

thanks to everyone for their time : )

looking forward to any replies.

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: does animation need sharpening?
by on Oct 17, 2011 at 9:11:55 am

Video is not the same as print. In certain situations a slight blur may make your footage/animation look better. To answer your question, sharpening is rarely used in video, usually over footage that was shot slightly out of focus maybe - like you suggested. In 3d animated sequences there should be no need to use sharpening.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Walter SoykaRe: does animation need sharpening?
by on Oct 17, 2011 at 1:05:50 pm

[Tudor "Ted" Jelescu] "In 3d animated sequences there should be no need to use sharpening."


I often add motion blur to 3D animations with RE:Vision Effects's ReelSmart Motion Blur. I occasionally add depth-of-field blur with AE CS5.5's Camera Lens Blur effect.

Just as in photo retouching, sometimes adding a little bit of noise to an overly clean 3D render will help it look more lifelike and match camera footage better.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Joseph W. BourkeRe: does animation need sharpening?
by on Oct 17, 2011 at 3:19:11 pm

I'm with Walter on this one. If you look in the Render panel of 3D software (I use 3DS Max 2011), you will find a wide variety of presets. I'm talking about the default scanline renderer. The selections look like this:

Look in the Filter Dropdown List (in the above help file) for a list of the choices, one of which is a 25 pixel blur for NTSC or PAL video. You'll also notice that the other filters in the group are mostly blurring filters, not sharpening filters. If you're not using Motion Blur, as Walter mentioned (which eats up a lot of resources and lengthens the render time, even on a 64-bit machine), it's not a bad idea to do a slight blur. I think it enhances the realism of the scene. Sharp 3D smacks of "old" 3D to me.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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christian kimRe: does animation need sharpening?
by on Oct 17, 2011 at 11:27:32 pm

thank you everyone for the insight. always great to see how other people work.

yep, i also use post motion blur to help reduce "flickering" or jitter.
and use lanczos filter for animation (blur filter to my knowledge).

i guess the i had this question while thinking about increasing fidelity of the animation (making things looking crisper, more detailed).

any tips on increasing fidelity?
also tried using POP which comes with colorista2 with some success (it acts like sharpen, but uses colour contrast i think).

thanks to everyone your time : )

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