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Difference between Animation codec and ProRes

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zeke meginsky
Difference between Animation codec and ProRes
on Jun 30, 2011 at 1:26:46 pm

I'm trying to get some really smooth motion done on images. They will be imported into Final Cut Pro. The sequence I'm using in Final Cut Pro is DV right now, but I'm considering on eventually changing it to ProRes for these graphics.

I'm wondering if there is a noticable difference in quality between the Animation and ProRes codecs? I have exported my first couple animations with an Animation codec. But I'm wondering if I should change to one of the ProRes ones, and for what reason?


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zeke meginsky
Re: Difference between Animation codec and ProRes
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:06:11 pm

Now I'm reading some people say to use TIFF sequences to retain the most fluid movement. Hmm...I'd guess that would take up so much space. Maybe Tiff sequences for the shortest animations and something else for the long ones?


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Kevin Camp
Re: Difference between Animation codec and ProRes
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:38:10 pm

smoothness of motion wouldn't be affected much by codec, it's primarily determined by frame rate... the higher the frame rate, the smoother the motion.

for dv you have 3 'frame rate' options 23.976 (24p), 29.97 (30p) and 29.97 interlaced, which would approximate 59.94 frames per second, and is what typical sd video is shot with.

interlacing (or field rendering) is added at the render process in the render settings

if you have faster moving elements in the animation that don't seem to be moving smoothly, then you'll want to add motion blur

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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zeke meginsky
Re: Difference between Animation codec and ProRes
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:48:50 pm

Oh, okay. I did not know that. I think I'm not only talking about the smoothness of the motion, but the snowy pixelated quality when it moves...so the quality of the motion.

So I should change the frame rate in both my FCP sequence and AE to twice as much to accomodate smooth animations? I'm also reading about frame blending..is that something I should know.. god, there are too many things to worry about..

It's possible someone else that's really technical with picture movement might take over.


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Kevin Camp
Re: Difference between Animation codec and ProRes
on Jun 30, 2011 at 3:24:47 pm

[zeke meginsky] "I think I'm not only talking about the smoothness of the motion, but the snowy pixelated quality when it moves"

the codec would effect the image quality, or the noise/snowy pixelated quality.

dv is a fairly low quality compression that does introduce a blocky, noise-like quality to the render. it's not usually as noticeable in video as it is in computer genereated animations, and that may be causing the issue you are seeing.

lossless animation would produce much cleaner image quality, prores would also be better than dv. both will be much larger than dv files.

tif or png sequences would offer higher pixel bit depth (up to 32 bits-per-channel) and would be a good choice if you are seeing banding in subtle color changes in ae, and set the project bit-depth to 16 or 32-bit so ae will process at the higher bit-depth.... otherwise you should be fine with the other two quicktime codecs.



[zeke meginsky] "So I should change the frame rate in both my FCP sequence and AE to twice as much to accomodate smooth animations?"

for any sd delivery or format, you'll only have 23.976 or 29.97 fps as options. the 29.97 fps renders can be either progressive, or field renders. the field render will give the smoothest motion, but will interlace the video... some people prefer the more film-like progressive frames, others like the smoother movement that a field render can produce.

in short, i don't think you should double the frame rate, since that would not fit a video standard, but you could render a 29.97 comp with fields if the movement didn't seem smooth enough (fyi, ntsc sd video is normally upper field first).



[zeke meginsky] " I'm also reading about frame blending..is that something I should know"

probably not in this case... you could use frame blending to blend frames of video or previously rendered footage to create a greater motion-blur-like effect. it can also help reduce noise in video footage, but since it blends several frames together, it can produce unwanted effects to faster moving elements.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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zeke meginsky
Re: Difference between Animation codec and ProRes
on Jun 30, 2011 at 3:30:00 pm

Man, this was perfect. I'll have to save this post. Thanks so much.

Zeke


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