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Optimal still image source file

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Niels AlbersOptimal still image source file
by on Mar 8, 2014 at 11:21:01 am

Hi fellow AE users,

I've been making animations in after effects for a few years, but things are getting bigger and bigger. I make 2,5D 'worlds' with PSD's (smart objects). But preview rendering takes forever even on Quarter resolution.

The system is fast enough with multiple SSD harddrives. And the right settings.

I've been searching online what is the best file format to use.

Will it get lighter/faster to render with JPEG's or PNG's? I cannot pre render pre composed layers because I need to be able to make changes all the time.

I hope someone can tell me more about this subject.

Thanks a lot for your thoughs and time!

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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Optimal still image source file
by on Mar 8, 2014 at 5:24:06 pm

There really isn't an optimal size or resolution that "fits all". It depends on what you're doing with each still. Is it the "hero" of the comp, so that you're zooming in on it, and showcasing it larger than full screen? Is it lit such that you can get away with some loss of resolution because it's a background piece, or in the shadows? Does a still only appear as about 1/8 of the full screen size? What is your final output resolution?

Here's a pretty good encapsulation of all of the issues:

And here's a discussion of .png vs .jpg:

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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Niels AlbersRe: Optimal still image source file
by on Mar 10, 2014 at 5:02:55 pm

Thanks for your reaction Joe,

I use large PSD's because I'm 'flying' past them with the camera, sometimes really close, so I need the high resolution.

Here is an example:

You can see I sometimes have over 100 layers in a comp, not all of them are super big, but most of them are PSD files.

While working on the timing of things i switch off the lights, depth of field of the camera and put it to quarter resolution.

The output is HD (1080x1920).

I guess I just have to accept that it is slow if I want to keep transparancy.

Regards, Niels

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