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Output resolutions

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Brett Sneed
Output resolutions
on Mar 9, 2010 at 4:57:52 pm

Hi,

I posted this in the Motion Graphics forum as well, but I figure the A/E experts run into this all the time...

I am designing a logo that will eventually find its way into a theatrical release around the world and onto various DVD platforms. I am trying to find a chart or write-up that explains what all the possible (or at least major) formats, resolutions, aspect ratios, etc. are.

In other words, I want to know how to set-up an Adobe After Effects or Photoshop document so that I can output a file appropriate for Blu-ray DVD, or for 2K film, or standard NTSC or PAL DVD, etc.

Does anyone have any help for me?



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Walter Soyka
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 9, 2010 at 5:22:12 pm

[Brett Sneed] "In other words, I want to know how to set-up an Adobe After Effects or Photoshop document so that I can output a file appropriate for Blu-ray DVD, or for 2K film, or standard NTSC or PAL DVD, etc."

I'd start at the highest resolution you expect to work in (sounds like 2K), and create scaled-down versions for the other formats. AE has built-in presets for all these resolutions.

I think there are three issues which will be more challenging than frame size.

The first is aspect ratio; you may need to do multiple versions of your design to accommodate the different ratios.

The second is frame rate; an animation that looks smooth at 29.97 frames per second might stutter at 23.976 frames per second. 24p is sometimes truly 24 frames per second, but sometimes it's 23.976. You may want interlaced and progressive versions.

The third is color management; the formats you've listed use different color spaces, so color management will be critical to ensuring consistent output.

Who is doing this post for your project? They should be able to help you sort out what standards you need to target.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Brett Sneed
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 9, 2010 at 5:57:44 pm

Thanks for the quick feedback.

I am not sure on who is doing the post yet, but I do know at least for the first phase, I need to supply static logos as .dpx files. So that, at least takes care of frame rates I believe because they will just be adding my graphic into a timeline. However, I forgot about color space, so thanks for that.

It is the ratios I am concerned about. Photoshop has a default Film (2K) document size. However, it is set at 2048 x 1556 pixels with an aspect ratio at square pixels.

However, according to a chart I have, 2K is 2048 x 1080 pixels with a 17:9 aspect. If I create a document in Photoshop at 2048x1080, and set a custom aspect ratio to 1.88 (which I believe is 17:9 right?), I get a document that is crazy wide compared to its height and does not at all look like the default Photoshop size.



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Walter Soyka
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 9, 2010 at 6:38:46 pm

There's an old joke that the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. You may use one 2K resolution for digital cinema projection and another for film out.

I think the answer to this question really depends on your deliverables.

AJA has a great overview of 2K.

[Brett Sneed] "If I create a document in Photoshop at 2048x1080, and set a custom aspect ratio to 1.88 (which I believe is 17:9 right?) I get a document that is crazy wide compared to its height and does not at all look like the default Photoshop size"

Pixel aspect ratio is not the same as the frame's aspect ratio; if you are setting the PAR to 1.88, each pixel will be almost twice as wide as it is tall.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Darby Edelen
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 11, 2010 at 1:04:18 am

Create a master composition at the largest size you expect to deliver.

Drag the master composition on to the New Comp button at the bottom of the Project Panel to nest it inside a new composition. Set this new composition to the additional desired output, NTSC DV Widescreen for example. Then use Layer > Transform > Fit to Comp Width or Fit to Comp Height (depending on which will allow the master comp to fully occupy the new aspect ratio). Rename this composition so that you know what it is (i.e. "Master_NTSC_Widescreen").

Frame rate will only matter if you're using film or video assets in your project, otherwise any keyframed animations in one composition will automatically recalculate for any needed frame rate.

You can build out several output options in this way, even using the Effect > Utility > Color Profile Converter applied the the nested master comp to get the right color space if you're comfortable with it.

Darby Edelen


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Walter Soyka
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 11, 2010 at 3:45:12 pm

[Darby Edelen] "Frame rate will only matter if you're using film or video assets in your project, otherwise any keyframed animations in one composition will automatically recalculate for any needed frame rate."

Even if you're not using video assets, I'd suggest that frame rates always matter. While AE will recalculate your animation at multiple frame rates, from a design perspective, one move might have very different looks in 60i and 24p.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Brett Sneed
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 11, 2010 at 6:08:03 pm

Thanks Darby and Walter



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Darby Edelen
Re: Output resolutions
on Mar 11, 2010 at 7:17:59 pm

[Walter Soyka] "While AE will recalculate your animation at multiple frame rates, from a design perspective, one move might have very different looks in 60i and 24p."

But it's still the best way to get there.

While 24p may suffer if there's ridiculously fast motion in the comp, that's a decision that needs to be made with the knowledge that one of the outputs will be 24p (same goes for interlacing).

Although I suppose we could just tell all our clients that they'll get 720p60 and they'll like it! :)

Darby Edelen


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