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AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA

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Andreas SchwabeAE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 5:50:48 pm

I'm running AE CS4 (Master Collection) on a Quad Core, 12GB RAM VISTA 64-bit system. Everything, including plugins, work great. No serious glitches, hassles or hangups. Except one...that's becoming a real pain.

I can create any type of file, at any resolution, any bit rate (8/16/32) and render to Quicktime 7.6.4 as an RGB or an ALPHA. But I can't render RGB+ALPHA. At this point my workaround would be:

1) render both, marry them up in editing and just live with a doubly-long render time (which is a pain), but since even the Alphas are broken (I've taken the files to a 32 bit system which then renders just the alpha or RGB+Alpha normally

2) I take the project and put it on another lesser system (running Vista 32 bit) and render the RGB+ALPHA there. Major pain, but at least I get the components I need.

Is this a known issue? Has anyone seen this before? The RGB+Alpha is just greyed out and not available (colors depth is only millions, and not millions+).

Lil help?


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Kevin CampRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 6:40:02 pm

[Andreas Schwabe] "1) render both, marry them up in editing and just live with a doubly-long render time"

actually, you would render once, but output two files, so the render time should be the same. once you add the comp to the queue, set one output module for rgb, then duplicate the module (or add another via composition>add output module) then set it to render the alpha.

however, since you mentioned that the alpha is broken on the 64-bit system, then i suppose the real problem is that the alpha does not render correctly with 64-bit addressing for some reason....

have you tried rendering to another codec that supports alpha? try quicktime png (different than png sequence), it is very similar to lossless, but uses png for lossless compression w/ alpha. or try an image sequence, tiff and psd both support 32bpc color (lossless is only 8bpc) and alpha.

if an image sequence works and a quicktime png .mov doesn't, then the problem may be with quicktime and 64-bit vista. you could try rolling the qt version back to the previous version... apple has been known to have quicktime updates that fix one thing, but breaks another. but i haven't heard on any problems with qt 7.6.4 (yet).

the only other thing i can think of is to make sure that ae is up-to-date (latest ae cs4 is 9.0.2, i believe).

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Andreas SchwabeRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 7:27:25 pm

Kevin, you are the man....the problem is basically solved.

QT was 7.6.4 (latest), and AE is also up-to-date at 9.0.2.

I rolled back to Quicktime 7.6.2, but the problem persisted. To make sure I got everything I cleaned out everything QT from the registry. Same results.

I just rendered out a lossless to PNG, and RGB+ALPHA was actually the DEFAULT output (once I punched the color up to millions+).

It wasn't quite as crisp as a normal but when I set it as pre-multiplied it looked much better.

So, again, my gratitude for your help!

Clearly there's some weird glitch with QT and how its allocating colour depth in 64-bit.

For the record, this is my second QT problem. The first was actually any time I hit the "audio" tab in Vegas when rendering output as a QT file. There's also a weird mp4 issue, but that's for another day. For now, I'm going to start rendering my comps out with QT/PNG and get caught up.

~A


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Kevin CampRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 28, 2009 at 10:05:14 pm

glad its working for you...

[Andreas Schwabe] "It wasn't quite as crisp as a normal but when I set it as pre-multiplied it looked much better."

you should be able to set the png .movs to render as straight/unmatted in the output module, if that is how you had been rendering the lossless .movs. it should work the same way as lossless.

quicktime png is also usually smaller than lossless, so it's really a pretty good way to go now. a lot of my keyed renders are about 1/3 the size of the same lossless render... at some point, i'm hoping that apple allows 16bpc color (trillions+) for png .movs too (the still .png format currently allows for 16bpc).


Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Mark HollisRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 29, 2009 at 8:05:01 pm

Do you actually think your viewers at home would be able to discern trillions of colors?

Quicktime may well be broken in Windows 64, unless or until Apple makes a 64-bit version for Windows. But a close read of Andreas' posts makes me wonder:

Were you trying to save as Millions of Colors +? You do not get alpha unless it has the "plus." And that could have been your problem.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?


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Kevin CampRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 29, 2009 at 8:48:14 pm

[Mark Hollis] "Do you actually think your viewers at home would be able to discern trillions of colors?"

well, if your going to work in 16pbc, then it's nice to render in 16bpc... the advantage of 16bpc is to eliminate banding in subtle gradients that can be seen with 8bpc outputs. however, i still often work in 8bpc and employ the noise trick to reduce banding (add the noise effect to an adjustment layer over the layer/s that are banding).

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Andreas SchwabeRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 29, 2009 at 9:16:50 pm

I knew about the millions+ for rendering RGB+Alpha, but the only colour depth NOT greyed out was just the simple millions. I tried 8/16/32 bit projects, and finally was just testing using white text as a single layer for the simplest possible scenario.

The fact that the PNG compression in the output module suggests it's a 64-bit issue. I have a second system in my office and one at home. One is XP (32) and Vista 32 at home. Both of those have no problems with rendering the exact same project files with RGB+Alpha. That said, it worked fine before QT updated itself and installed 7.6.4. Uninstalling it and rolling back to QT 7.6.2 hasn't helped.

I'm just grateful Kevin replied because I was losing my mind (I don't mind rendering projects at home, but it just adds a step, and any number of other weird idosychrasies my work system might have versus my system at home.

Trillions of colours sounds excessive to me too, but even the banding I get in 8 bit projects makes me crave more colour depth and headroom for whites and blacks. I'm not even using any superwhites (or in my most recent project, superyellows), and yet the colours always seem blown out when I compress to MPEG. But we'll always solve problems and then create problems inherent to the solution. I personally love the mantra of a friend of mine who has some real weirdness on his Mac (he is of the Hunter Kressel school of Mac editors): "Working on a Mac is like seeing the doctor about an ailment...'it hurts when I do this.' 'Then don't do that.'" :-)


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Mark HollisRe: AE CS4 & Vista Ultimate 64-bit won't render QT RGB+ALPHA
by on Sep 30, 2009 at 12:56:45 pm

One big factor with Quicktime is the issue with gamma curves which, if you play a scene back on the Mac looks correct, on Windows does not look correct. Apple may have decided to "fix" this by changing the default gamma curve for Snow Leopard (to be the same as the PC). One wonders how Apple's new 64-bit Quicktime Pro in Snow Leopard will deal with legacy gammas, Snow Leopard gamma and so on. In the meantime, I don't see Apple releasing a 64-bit version of Quicktime Pro for Vista or for Windows 7 yet -- but there is hope yet.

I am aware that Avid, which writes code for the DS, had to literally reverse-engineer a 64-bit engine for making Quicktime for their 64-bit DS application, which runs on the 64-bit version of Windows XP Pro. That must have been a monumental task for them, as they suffer from chronic understaffing of programmers and lots of demand from the field to keep the DS up with competing applications.

I'm happy to see that there is a workaround.



What if there were no hypothetical questions?


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