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Resolution loss on export

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Jon Kirsh
Resolution loss on export
on Apr 20, 2017 at 10:28:52 pm

I'm really hoping someone will be able to help me with this one. Here's the situation.

Client needs a 300x250 banner animation at 10MB or less MP4 or MOV. I've built the banner in AE and it looks perfect and sharp at 100%. When I export an uncompressed MOV or MP4 the resolution sucks. It looks pixelated and blurry on some of the objects. I've tried multiple export paths (using media encoder, and premier pro) and always the same result.

I even rebuilt all of the elements within AE so that everything would be vectors and I hoped would remain sharp no matter the scale. Still no good.

So then I made a new composition at 600x500 and again rebuilt all of the elements to fit this new size. When I exported this everything remained sharp. Even an MP4 at 9.1 MB is sharp and clean. When played in Quicktime it's perfect. And if I scale it down in my Quicktime pro player window to 300x250 is remains sharp. But again when I export from Quicktime Pro to 300x250 the resolution lessens significantly. Even an export using Pro Res 422(HQ) codex cannot keep the resolution perfect.

I don't know what to do. I'm at a loss. Please help!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:45:52 am

Can you post a screenshot of what you're seeing? I'm guessing you're having soft/boxy/jagged edges at areas of color contrast? That would be the result of chroma subsampling, which unfortunately will be unavoidable with these formats.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Chris Wright
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 11:04:55 am

are you exporting directly from quicktime? try exporting the master from media encoder.


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Jon Kirsh
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 5:04:33 pm

I have used Media Encoder to do the export and still have the same issue. Here are screen shots of the 4 different output versions.
This one was exported using media encoder from After Effects. H.264 codec used. You can see that the quality is not bad, but not great either. File size 4.6MB and that was at max output settings.


This one was created using a Quicktime export from the 600x500 ProRes MOV I made through the AE render queue. It's better but is 18.4 MB.


This one is a ProResHQ output from the AE render queue. It's not bad either but still not as sharp as it should be. Again max settings and the file size is 19.2MB.


Last, is a screen shot of the 600x500 proresHQ scaled down to 50% size but not exported. Just to show you that is it sharper compared to the rest, if slightly.


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Chris Wright
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 5:35:02 pm

ah, are you sure you aren't making GIF's? either way, reducing the framerate to 12fps before exporting should make the file size smaller. what is your bitrate?


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Jon Kirsh
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 5:43:07 pm

No. I'm not making GIF's. These are for social media and the delivery spec was for MP4 or MOV under 10MB. I could try reducing the frame rate but that won't solve the resolution problem. Bit rate was maxed. Quality setting at 100%.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:09:40 pm

Your screenshots show a screen area of 600x500. Is QuickTime Player scaling your renders UP to fit its window? That would account for the loss in sharpness.

(Also, Johnson & Johnson is misspelled.)

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Jon Kirsh
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 7:29:30 pm

Hi. yes I know the company name is misspelled. It's been updated since.

When I took the screen shots I don't think they were scaled up. The player windows were all set to actual size except for the last one which I had scaled down. This forum seems to have scaled them all up however so that might be what you are seeing.


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Jon Kirsh
Re: Resolution loss on export
on Apr 21, 2017 at 8:18:52 pm

Hi. yes I know the company name is misspelled. It's been updated since.

When I took the screen shots I don't think they were scaled up. The player windows were all set to actual size except for the last one which I had scaled down. This forum seems to have scaled them all up however so that might be what you are seeing.


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