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Jeffrey Thayne
Nested Compositions
on Jun 14, 2010 at 9:33:38 pm

For the past 8 months, I've been working on a video that has a mixture of motion typography and animation. I am nearing the completion of the project, but I fear that I've made a fatal error.

I've noticed that in some segments, the text is fuzzier/blurrier than in others. Also, the sound is softer in some segments than others (even though the original track has uniform volume).

I've discovered that the text is fuzzier/blurrier and the sound is softer when they are in a nested composition. My video is full of them. Dozens, if not over a hundred, of them (it's 6-7 minutes long and has hundreds of component parts).

Do nested compositions dilute the quality of what they contain? If so, how do I fix it?

Nested compositions have really simplified my work, because there are many scenes where I animated a block of text, and then I precomposed it, and then animated the entire pre-composition in 3D space. "Collapsing transformations" or "Rasterize continuously" undoes these higher-level animations. However, when the text or sound is 4 or 5 nested compositions deep, the quality of the image/sound becomes intolerable.

Have I made a completely avoidable, amateur mistake?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Nested Compositions
on Jun 15, 2010 at 2:04:01 pm

[Jeffrey Thayne] "Nested compositions have really simplified my work, because there are many scenes where I animated a block of text, and then I precomposed it, and then animated the entire pre-composition in 3D space. "Collapsing transformations" or "Rasterize continuously" undoes these higher-level animations. However, when the text or sound is 4 or 5 nested compositions deep, the quality of the image/sound becomes intolerable."

If you do not collapse transformations, AE will treat the nested comp exactly as if it were a piece of rendered footage on your hard drive; it will be a rasterized, 2D plane that you can manipulate in 3D space. As you bring it closer to the camera, it will pixelate exactly like any other raster image would.

If you do collapse transformations, AE treats the pre-comp as if its layers were really in the parent comp -- EXCEPT for lights and cameras, which may be why you are losing animation. Also, 2D layers in the midst of a series of 3D layers are like ruptures in the space-time continuum - they'll break z-depth render order.

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
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