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Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?

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Vic NoseworthyDoes After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 16, 2012 at 10:53:00 pm

Hi Folks,
I've never used After Effects before, and am wondering about how it works with an NLE. Specifically, if I shoot in a particular quality/format, cut together in an NLE, then export to do composite editing in AE, will AE somehow transcode the original video such that I may lose quality/resolution/bit depth? What's the deal? Does After Effects have quality limitations in terms of the bit depth, resolution, and color sampling it can handle?
Thanks very much!
Vic


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Spencer TweedRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 16, 2012 at 11:31:33 pm

Hey Vic, Short answer is no. After Effects only references your files, so when you are working on them nothing will be lost. That said there are a few things that can effect your final output... Natively the only thing that will effect your quality is the bit depth - After Effects is by default set to 8 bits per channel, but it is VERY easy to change this in your project (though a few effects will cap your footage at 8bpc). From there you could compress your file in your render settings, but by default this shouldn't happen.

- Spncer


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Vic NoseworthyRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 2:28:34 am

Thanks very much, Spencer. So, is 8-bits per channel considered high end? In other words, if I create something in AE (CS4) and output on DVD, will it hold up on, say, a 60-inch HD TV?
(Or, is the "bottleneck" in some other area of the workflow... say, in my NLE capabilities?
Thanks again.
Vic


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Spencer TweedRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 9:36:58 pm

8 bits is the lowest you can really go in film or broadcast, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is bad. In most cases it is fine, but when you are doing feature film work you might want to go up to 16 - it basically just means that you have more possible colors.

As for DVD - that is going to be 8 bit no matter what you do... So you might as well stay 8 the whole time.

Realize that in VFX 32bpc is a whole different ballgame due to the fact that it is HDR (High Dynamic Range). I wouldn't get into that just yet if I were you, but it is touched upon by Andrew Kramer (videocopilot.net) if you are interested.

- Spencer


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Walter SoykaRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:00:09 am

[Vic Noseworthy] "Does After Effects have quality limitations in terms of the bit depth, resolution, and color sampling it can handle?"

No. AE works natively in uncompressed RGBA, at 8 bits per channel, 16 bits per channel, or 32 bit floating point per channel.

Because AE processes in RGB, there is no chroma subsampling.

If you render to a lossless or visually lossless format, there will be no image degradation.

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
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Vic NoseworthyRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 5:54:55 am

Thanks for that, Walter. I'm unfamiliar with AE just yet, but will be purchasing it very soon. When you say "render to a lossless format," am I to understand that one can render directly out of AE? And, do I have a selection of output formats, such as .mov?
Thank you again!
Vic


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Walter SoykaRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:08:17 am

[Vic Noseworthy] "When you say "render to a lossless format," am I to understand that one can render directly out of AE?"

Yes. This is how you'll get video out of AE back into your NLE (or directly off for delivery if you're finishing with it).


[Vic Noseworthy] "And, do I have a selection of output formats, such as .mov?"

Yes.


Since you're new to After Effects, I'd recommend the following link, in which Adobe's Todd Kopriva pulls together some important introductory materials:
http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2010/01/getting-started-with-after-eff.h...

I especially recommend the Video Copilot "Basic Training" series that Todd links to.

AE is both deep and broad, so it's tough to pick up intuitively. A little time learning how to walk upfront will help you run much faster.

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
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Vic NoseworthyRe: Does After Effects (CS4) have a specific "bit depth" and "color sampling"?
by on Feb 17, 2012 at 6:45:05 am

Awesome stuff, Walter. Thanks, man!


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