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strokes badly pixellated in render

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Charlie Harvinstrokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 10:49:48 am

Basically, all I want to do is draw a circular or oval outline about 5 pixels wide around an area to highlight it. I've used the pen tool to draw the shape in an adjustment layer, then used the generate stroke effect- it looks great in preview but once it goes out (quicktime .mov,jpeg, best quality, 720x480)it's badly pixellated. I've tried the same thing in a shape layer with the oval tool but have the same issues. Have messed around with all the settings, i.e. spacing (0), feather, brush hardness, .etc- nothing will give me a clean edge...
I know there about 12 topics on this but none of them have helped me sort the problem. Am I missing something incredibly simple or is it just impossible to get a crisply rendered circle outline in AE ?


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Dave LaRondeRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 2:45:33 pm

There quite a few things that could be amiss:

You may have the field order wrong, or rendered with no fields when you needed to render in the proper field order for 720x480, lower field first
You may have rendered in a lossy codec
If you're on FCP, you could be using a DV timeline
If you're on FCP, you may have the field order wrong

Those are just the common things.

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


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Charlie HarvinRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 4:01:16 pm

Not using FCP, field is set to lower first. I have been using the Quicktime photo-.jpeg output codec, the animation will go through Vegas with an ultimate output as Mpeg 2 DV.
Uncompressed .avi does give me a cleaner render, but that's moot since of course I can't use that as a final output codec.


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Dave LaRondeRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 4:49:20 pm

This sounds like something's happening to it in Vegas. You're rendering in the proper field order and in a pretty good codec; you have the Photo JPEG set to 95-100%, right?

How does it look if you reimport the rendered file into AE?

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


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Charlie HarvinRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 5:02:19 pm

well, it hasn't actually gone into Vegas yet: the problem is apparent in the original render from AE (should note that I'm using CS4). There aren't numeric compression settings for the .mov output, but quality is set to "best". Have tried it with and without streaming optimized.
The same problem comes up when I export as mpeg2, which leads me to assume that even if I put out a raw .avi from AE (which does look better) it's going to alias out with any kind of compression. I'm stumped, but there has to be a way to do this...


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Dave LaRondeRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 5:14:12 pm

Are you seeing the interlacing and just mistaking it for lousy graphics, perhaps?

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


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Charlie HarvinRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 5:27:14 pm

no, all the other layers render out fine. Text, effects and graphics look great- these strokes are the only issue.


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Dave LaRondeRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 7:41:09 pm

I can think of very few other causes for this except one: if the preview looks fine but the render doesn't, it could be due to using Open GL acceleration for rendering. If it's on, turn it off.

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


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Charlie HarvinRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 7:51:56 pm

Yeah, I thought of that too but open gl is already unchecked in the render settings dialog. I guess I'll just export it as uncompressed .avi and see what happens when Vegas processes it.


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Charlie HarvinRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Jul 28, 2011 at 5:11:47 pm

re-importing the .mov into AE shows the same jagged edges on the stroke as I see in media player.


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Michael SzalapskiRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Aug 3, 2011 at 1:43:33 pm

Any chance that circle layer was set to draft quality?

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Charlie HarvinRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Aug 4, 2011 at 5:30:12 am

no, it was set on best. Using uncompressed .avi in AE then rendering to mpeg2 in Vegas put out an image that was sufficient quality that the client didn't notice (much better than the mpeg2 or mov test renders I ran from AE), but personally I'm still not happy with the results. Obviously it's an issue with the rasterization combined with the video compression, but it's strange that only the shapes are affected and the text still looks nice and crisp...


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Isil OzdenRe: strokes badly pixellated in render
by on Apr 7, 2013 at 3:57:57 pm

I have the same rigid stroke problem..
I wonder if you have gotten an answer to your problem Charlie?
I'm trying to make a simple stroke animation, see the uploaded example:
http://f1.creativecow.net/5793/test-stroke-in-ae?uploaded=file

I use the brush tool for this. Setting: diameter 2 px, hardness 76%, spacing 1%, brush dynamics off
Render is set to best with 1920x1080 (full resolution), 25 fps, proress 422 render.
(I'm using AE CS5)

In de Adobe After Effects Help manual it says:
'In After Effects, paint strokes are vector objects, which means that they can be scaled up without loss of quality.'
(6th paragraph http://adobe.ly/14Xtnav)

Well, I don't believe the stroke is a vector object in AE, because you can clearly see the pixels!
Am I missing something?
Did anyone else have the same problem?


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