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Details loss in shadows and background after rendering

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Cristi Dinu
Details loss in shadows and background after rendering
on May 14, 2013 at 1:19:22 pm

Hello guys,

Recently I've finished working on a logo animation in After Effects and I've encountered a bit of a problem.

I've worked in a Ray-traced composition, with Ray-tracing quality set to 14 and the Anti-aliasing filter set to Cubic. I've exported the entire composition in a H264 1080p format, over 18MB bitrate with a VBR 2 pass render. While previewing this clip, I've observed a significant loss in detail in the softness of the shadows and also in the softness of the point light over the gray background.

To further detail my problem, I've attached 2 snapshots: one made in After Effects after the RAM preview (which maintains the details in the mentioned areas) and one made after the render in Adobe Media Encoder.

What am I doing wrong during the render process? Or is it something I need to set up in After Effects before the render?

5993_rampreviewinaftereffects.jpg.zip

5994_postrenderiname.jpg.zip


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Details loss in shadows and background after rendering
on May 14, 2013 at 4:41:48 pm

You've given some useful information, but not enough to guarantee an accurate diagnosis. I recommend answering the litany of questions you'll find here:

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/961743?tstart=0

Case in point: you said nothing about your computer platform, a significant thing indeed.

Dave LaRonde
Former Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Details loss in shadows and background after rendering
on May 14, 2013 at 7:14:35 pm

H264 @ 18mbs will compress your footage and you will loose detail. Various players tend to interpret the video information differently as well- in my experience Media Player is darker with less detail in the shadows than VLC and QT looses overall contrast.
I would suggest a uncompressed render out of AE (QT Animation or PNG) and then several compressions of this master in AME. CBR instead of VBR will give you better quality (larger file though). Go up to 50mps since YouTube and such will re-compress your piece as well.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist


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Cassius Marques
Re: Details loss in shadows and background after rendering
on May 14, 2013 at 7:21:27 pm

from the look of that SS, i'm betting there's nothing to do with h264 compression. something is up with the render settings that AME used while rendering. Perhaps AME used 3 samples instead of your 14.

Do as Ted said. Render out uncompressed from AE. then 2-pass encode.


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Kris Merkel
Re: Details loss in shadows and background after rendering
on May 15, 2013 at 2:56:06 am

Not 2 Pass VBR. Use CBR to guarantee you are encoding at the rate you choose. There is no practical reason to export a comp from AE through AME. especially to h.264.

Render out vie the AE render queue using "Animation" or "ProRes (HQ)" then take that file and compress with AME if needed or work into your edit.

You might need to massage the render settings for optimal output, but as Dave mentioned it is next to impossible to help without knowing specifics.

"Think of everything in terms of building capacity."

Kris Merkel
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Cristi Dinu
Re: Details loss in shadows and background after rendering
on May 17, 2013 at 8:10:19 am

Thanks for the answers, guys.

I ended up doing exactly what Ted recommended and had no more problems with loss of detail.


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