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AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated

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Shawn RomanoAE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 4:18:04 pm

I'm having a strange problem. I'm animating the position of AE's stock lens flare and the resulting movement is jerky for some reason. Almost like the flare will "jump" every couple of frames rather than animate smoothly. Is this normal?



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Dave LaRondeRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jan 16, 2010 at 5:37:06 pm

The important question is WHERE this is looking jerky.

I bet it looks jerky on the rendered file. I bet you rendered a high-quality file, which is good. But your hard drive can't keep up with the high bitrate of the file.

To assure yourself things look smooth, use a different application to make a new file in a more playback-friendly codec like mp4 or h.264. Adobe media Encoder, QT Pro, Sorenson Squeeze and Apple Compressor would all do the trick.

Don't get rid of the original.

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


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Shawn RomanoRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 5:28:29 pm

Thanks, Dave. I am certain that the file was playing at proper framerate, because the other elements in it were animating smoothly. The jerkiness is most visible when the flare's centerpoint is animated very slowly. To see a stripped-down test, watch this. You can see the flare elements on the right side of the screen illustrating the issue: http://driftminer.com/tests/flare-test-01-h.mov



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Dave LaRondeRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jan 18, 2010 at 5:59:06 pm

Yup, I see what you mean: just enough to be annoying. Well, here's a checklist of things that might help:
  • Get the latest version of AE, 9.0.2--free download, fixes a variety of weirdness.
  • Turn Open GL off for rendering. The guys at Adobe don't even use it... 'nuff said.
  • Got 6 GB or less of RAM? Using multiprocessing isn't advised: it doesn't work well until you can give it about 2 GB/core, so you could only use 2 cores effectively with 6GB RAM.
  • You said you stripped down the comp to make the flare more visible. This is a real shot in the dark, but did you have any video footage in that comp? If so, the nature of that footage can make a difference. Read On:

Dave's Stock Answer #1:

If the footage you imported into AE is any kind of the following -- footage in an HDV acquisition codec, MPEG1, MPEG2, mp4, m2t, H.261 or H.264 -- you need to convert it to a different codec.

These kinds of footage use temporal, or interframe compression. They have keyframes at regular intervals, containing complete frame information. However, the frames in between do NOT have complete information. Interframe codecs toss out duplicated information.

In order to maintain peak rendering efficiency, AE needs complete information for each and every frame. But because these kinds of footage contain only partial information, AE freaks out, resulting in a wide variety of problems.


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


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Mark OertigRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 10:40:21 pm

hello

im having the same problem. looks like the flares jumping from pixel to pixel. like there is no sub pixel rendering on them. the rest is always ok and smooth (different footage..)
does somebody have "the" solution...?


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Dave LaRondeRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Feb 5, 2010 at 11:04:39 pm

[Mark Oertig] "im having the same problem."

Well, then, have you even bothered to follow the same advice yet? Sheesh!

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


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Shawn RomanoRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Feb 6, 2010 at 12:01:14 am

My ultimate solution was to use a third-party lens flare kit. I'm an experienced AE user, and nothing I tried seemed to change the bundled lens flare's shortcomings in this area. I'm using CS3, so I hope that Adobe corrected this problem for CS4 and future releases.



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Clint PorterRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jul 29, 2010 at 2:06:59 pm

I had this same issue, and I just discovered a really easy fix!

Mark is right that the issue is subpixel rendering. The AE lens flare doesn't use it. None of the issues Dave mentioned are relevant in this case, but I do appreciate his taking the time to try to help.

THE FIX: Make AE subpixel render it.

Go to the solid settings and resize the solid. I multiplied it by x3--not perfect, but much improved.

Then, fit the solid to the comp size (reducing its size by the same factor). Voila, a smooth, subpixel-rendered lens flare.

This works even when you use a 3D Null to drive the flare center point (which is what I'm usually doing). The only caveat is you have to multiply your toComp expression by the same size factor to produce the right result. For example (on the Flare Center property): thisComp.layer("Sun").toComp([0,0,0])*3


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Clint PorterRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jul 29, 2010 at 7:18:31 pm

I should probably clarify what I meant by "resize the solid"... I meant you need to increase the resolution of the solid's dimensions.

So what you're doing in essence is making a high-definition solid on which the lens flare is acting, and then scaling it back down to fit the comp.


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Clint PorterRe: AE Lens Flare Jerky When Animated
by on Jul 29, 2010 at 7:20:29 pm

I should also add that this issue remains the same in CS4 and CS5.


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