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Good Preview; Bad Render

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Jason TwiteGood Preview; Bad Render
by on Oct 26, 2009 at 9:28:41 pm

Having an issue where my RAM-Previews look excellent, but all renders for output are awful.

Using AE 7 on MacPro with 2x2.66 dual core Intel 4GB Memory

Its a 10-second project consisting of no imported video, just a few PSD files including a screen shot, a custom brush pattern used with a mask, and a simple logo. Have 9 layers with a camera moving animated to a Null object.

Comp settings: 864x486 Square 30fps Resolution: Full
Output settings: Quality Best Res Full I don't screw with the other settings so they're default or set to Current Settings. Storage Overflow is checked.
Module Settings: QT ProRes format

I have Fast Preview preferences set to Open GL - Interactive and all of the choices result in the same output. With Interactive selected, I can scrub the timeline and see full quality, but as soon as I release the mouth, the quality is very poor and the same as the output. With Open GL Always On I can see the timeline without clicking at full quality, but still same poor output.

I'm not a total AE newbie, worked with several years but I don't stay up to date on all the features let alone the current version.

Thanks for any help.

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Kevin CampRe: Good Preview; Bad Render
by on Oct 26, 2009 at 10:06:50 pm

i'm not sure how you have ae7 with opengl enabled (any setting) working on a macpro. i had a similar setup a few years ago and had to disable opengl all together to keep from crashing.

but since it is working for you, a quick fix may be to force ae to use opengl for rendering (the option you have been setting is only for previews)...

to set ae to use opengl for rendering, in the render settings, click 'best'. then from the settings window select 'use opengl renderer'. then render and see if that works, my assumption is that if opengl gives you the look you're after in preview then it should do the same for the final output.... however this is not the way i would normally recommend having things set up.

just a note on ae7 and intel-macs: ae7 was written with only powerpc code (the older g3, g4 and g5 series of cpus). to run on an intel mac, ae has to run under a powerpc emulator that apple created called rosetta. while rosetta works fairly well, it does restrict ae in the amount of ram it can use, and in my experience, broke opengl, caused a fair amount of stability issues and slow performance.

if you are able, i would recommend upgrading to cs3-cs4. those both contain native intel code and ae will run much better. also, with cs3-cs4 can use multiprocessing to improve performance, however you may want to get more ram, both can use up to 4gb of ram per core (4cores x 4gb = 16gb!!!), although i think you can get by with 4cores and 8gb of ram fairly well.

the down side of the upgrade to cs3-4 is that you may need to buy upgrades to your effects... the will need to be intel-mac (universal binary) versions as well. some are free updates, but others are paid upgrades...

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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Jason TwiteRe: Good Preview; Bad Render
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 4:42:00 am

Hi Kevin,

I almost mentioned that in my first post; I'm aware of the Intel issue and originally believe that was the problem a couple weeks ago with another project and extreme system slowdown. I followed some steps/settings for the memory useage and it works! Well at least up until this issue.

I will try the fix you suggested later today and post the results.

As far as an upgrade from AE 7.... well.... talk to my boss lol. We require such little use from AE that he'll never go for it. I've tried. Won't even consider an upgrade to the latest FCStudio package. Everyone else in the office gets new MacPro Laptops and CS4 Web Premium, but not me. -- End Rant.


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Jason TwiteRe: Good Preview; Bad Render
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 1:22:31 pm

AH HA! One silly little check box and things are looking much better. Looks like I have to work with the logo or find a different one as its very rigid around the edges after output, but at least its finally using the full quality.

Thanks Kevin!

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Kevin CampRe: Good Preview; Bad Render
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 2:38:17 pm

one thing i've found with opengl is that it doesn't handle pixel aspect ratio discrepancies very well, and that may be the problem with the logo file. make sure that the par of the logo file matches that of the comp.

if you needed to convert the file from one par to another in photoshop (say from 1.0 to 0.9). open the file in photoshop, then create a new file with similar specs, but in the advanced settings set the par to the same as the comp. then drag the logo layer into the new comp, photoshop will handle the par conversion. you may need to adjust the frame size of the new file to accommodate the logo after the par conversion using either the crop tool or image>canvas size.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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