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perfectly smoothed video... frame blending? Denoise with look ahead, behind? Something else?

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Greg Sageperfectly smoothed video... frame blending? Denoise with look ahead, behind? Something else?
by on Mar 13, 2014 at 2:51:03 pm
Last Edited By Greg Sage on Mar 13, 2014 at 4:55:29 pm

I've got a project where I'm using high res still images which are constantly increasing in scale. They are locked together in a logarithmic zoom, so all transformation is being handled mathematically by AE.

It's all working as planned, and I'm using the highest res pics possible... but as they change scale, I'm getting some artifacts. Basically, it's like a mild moire and a bit of flickering pixels. I have uploaded a vid. I'll attach it as soon as it's done processing.

I want the most inhumanly smooth result possible. No flicker. No moire. I'm willing to trade off anything else to make it as close to a mathematically smooth transition from frame to frame as possible. Not looking for reality. Looking for melted butter.

So... should I be trying to force frame blending somehow? Using a denoise plugin that searches 100 frames in every direction with draconian settings? Maybe utilizing twixtor or similar? Is this what DE:noise frame average does?

This is for background images, and the whole comp is being put through filters that will jump unnaturally if there are pixels that come up in one frame that weren't in the last. Any noise, flicker, moire gets exaggerated greatly once it goes through the filters.

Using oil paint filter right now in PS, but may use other similar. A lot of these filters have some sort of minimum threshold built in, so I understand that as images increase in scale, there may be a certain frame where detail suddenly goes over threshold. Maybe this can't be helped, but I just want to make sure it doesn't jump back and forth between frames... recognizing pixels in one frame, then not, then again... basically need to get rid of all flicker and moire at any cost.

Willing to deal with some blur, loss of detail... whatever is necessary to steamroll the comp in to a glossy pancake.

Let's see if embed works:

center zoom test



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Greg SageRe: perfectly smoothed video... frame blending? Denoise with look ahead, behind? Something else?
by on Mar 13, 2014 at 5:14:31 pm
Last Edited By Greg Sage on Mar 13, 2014 at 6:10:41 pm

Well, after running a half dozen different experiments, best I've found so far is to use some kind of "frame averaging"

When I get this worked out, I'll end up using some version of this on a lot of other projects since I constantly need to try and smooth things out.

Any other suggestions? Neat video seems like it's not ideal because it wants you to zero in on one particular type of area to define noise while the nature of this project is that it's constantly shifting.

It's really like a "reduce chatter" sort of thing that I need.

Also, anyone using something like this in conjunction with keying software to smooth out their keys?

Also interested to hear if anyone is using something like twixtor to smooth out frames without shifting the frame rate. I only ask because it seems to be very good at what it does which is a related task.


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Dave LaRondeRe: perfectly smoothed video... frame blending? Denoise with look ahead, behind? Something else?
by on Mar 13, 2014 at 6:19:57 pm

That is one heck of a big scale-up on an image with an immense amount of fine detail. The artifacts you see will be inevitible.

I'd personally put a adjustment layer on the top of the scaled layer, then apply a VERY MILD application of one of the blurs -- the bare minimum to get the job done, which will take trial and error.... i.e. there is no formula for this.

I like to use Box Blur for a lot of things, and other people will make other recommendations.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kevin CampRe: perfectly smoothed video... frame blending? Denoise with look ahead, behind? Something else?
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 6:17:04 pm

here's a few things i might try, either by themselves or in some combination:

  • if possible, work in a larger comp, then drop that into the final size comp and scale down.
  • crank up the shutter angle in the comp settings (advanced tab) and enable motion blur for the layers.
  • for frame blending, i'd try taking a rendered version of what you have, and then using cc time blend, which is much faster than other similar effect like echo, widetime, etc... it's a little quirky in that you set the amount of frames to blend by a percentage that is based on the size of cached frames. but the short of it is, use the smallest percentage needed to smooth out the jitter.
  • blurs (as dave mentioned), since the motion is a fly/zoom, you might take a look at a radial zoom blur like fast radial blur.


Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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Kevin CampRe: perfectly smoothed video... frame blending? Denoise with look ahead, behind? Something else?
by on Mar 14, 2014 at 6:22:11 pm

a few notes on using time blend...

because the effect uses cached frames, it's best to always start the ram previews from the first frame of the comp, always click clear cache (at the top of the effect settings) after making a change and i'd choose edit>purge>all before doing the final render to make sure all chced frames are cleared.

Kevin Camp
Art Director
KCPQ, KZJO & KRCW


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