Since posting, I did some more checking of the current set up, and the Windows PC is set to 1920X1080 - the iMAC is set to "Best for built-in Display" if i change the iMAC to 1920X1080 - I get the same pixelation. In one way, this is a greatb relief, as it means there is not a physical issue with the Windows PC, but on the other hand - what should I set the Windows display as?
Unsure of how you use the term, "pixellation" here.
Are the images in the comp scaled up so they have the telltale stairstep look at edges? Are there obvious areas of banding in feathers or ramps?
Not sure what you are saying. If you're simply referring to on-screen antialiasing for UI stuff on the operating system level then this is nothing you can influence. Beyond that a pixel is a pixel - if you view the comp or a rendered frame at full res, there should technically be zero difference.
If you set a monitor to display less than a pixel for a pixel then you're going to get blocky results unless the effective dot pitch (space between pixels on the display) is so small that you can't make out the blocks. It sounds like your monitor is capable of more than 1920 X 1080 pixels. Except for my MBPro Retina I set the monitors to their maximum resolution so that I'm not looking at interpolated pixels. If you have a high quality monitor with great scaling then you can comfortably work at smaller resolutions (MBPro R for example), but some are so lousy at scaling that you need to keep them at full rez to make any judgements on picture quality.
There was one exception. I worked a while ago at a studio that had 2 30" Cinema Diaplays sitting on a huge desk. The display running the timeline and preview window was set to maximum resolution but the display on the right, where I kept everything else I was working on, was setup so that I had about half the resolution so that I could read the type and see the menu's without leaning way over the desk.
Sorry for the delay in answering, teething babies and all...
Ok, Dave -
When I say "Pixelation", in this instance, I am refereing to stairstep edges on, for example, the characters mouth. I wanted to add screenshots, and that is how I realized it must be a monitor or OS setting, as the picture captured on the MAC and added to this forum discussion on the windows PC, looks just as bad as the one captured on the windows pc itself.
As I mentioned, if I drop the iMAC resolution to 1920x1080 (same as PC) it also looks quite bad. So I now know that there is not a problem with the footage or anything itself, it just seems that the windows PC display is not as clear as the iMAC.
I have downloaded and installed the latest Philips 273E drivers, and will arrange to have the monitor colour corrected ASAP.
I have rendered out a still image from one of the frames, but the issue remains between the two screens - it MUST be a resolution issue?
I have checked the settings on the monitor, as well as the new drivers, 1920X1080 is its maximum settings. 60Hz. The funny thing, is that this is a full HD LED monitor, so I would think you would get absolutely amazing quality from it?
At this point, I think it might be worthwhile to get a colour expert over to check the settings out.
Thanks for the input though guys.
In the past you 've written about using a lip-sync plugin. I assume you are using on this project. You may be encountering limitations imposed by the footage's resolution, you may have overlooked a switch in the plugin that smooths edges... it's difficult to say.
1920 X 1080 used to be high resolution. It's the minimum expected now. It's just HD TV... The 24" iMac is 2560 x 1440. There are a bunch of displays out there that are more than HD. The new MacBook Pro R is 3360 x2100 (nearly twice the rez of the 21" iMac). This means there are more than 1 screen pixels used to display each image pixel and tha't why the display is so sharp. The dot pitch is finer than the human eye can resolve without magnification. That said, the maximum display resolution (screen area) that the MacBook Pro R is capable of displaying is what looks like 1920 pixels.
The jaggies you're seeing on your HD monitor may look worse than they actually are, or they may look better than they do on your iMac. The way they look depends on the quality of the mask and the led's in the display. The iMac display is beautiful. My LG tv in the master bedroom is also 1920 X 1080 but, when viewed at the normal distance you would view a computer monitor, it looks awfully blocky.
As you found out, the only way to really tell what the image looks like is to blow up a still. No matter what the display is you should see the same aliasing when viewed at 400% or greater.
Yes, you are right, I do use the Auto Lip-Synch tool on these projects, and it is actually within the mouth (the lip edge) that the stairstep comes in. I also have noticed that some of the effects in the tool are only capable of 16bits, so I do my initial work in a 32bit comp, ans when I get to the part where I add the mouths, I render out a TGA sequence, and import that into a new 16Bit comp and carry on from there.
You make a good point, and I will confirm this today - however, I think that the issue is more to do with the resolution, as the same image viewed on the PC monitor has the steps, but when the file is opened on the iMAC, the steps are not there.
I think, untill I can afford one of these extremely sharp displays, I will do my work on the PC (as it is faster than the iMAC when it comes to rendering etc) and I will render out a single frame here and there and test their quality on the iMAC. Once done, Ill do my final render viewing in the iMAC as well.
Thanks again for the advice,
This sounds about right. I was not aware that 1920X1080 is already the minimum! I was still under the impression that this is the ultimate in resolution! Well, goes to show! At least I can now put my mind to rest that it is not something in the project itself that is causing the problem, and at least I still have access to the iMAC for quality control.
We are starting to source our external footgae now (shooting outdoors and such), I hope to have an example to post inline sometime soon, just to show what all of you have been assisting me with these past few months!
Oh yes, off topic...if anyone knows of a good online stock footage source, please let me know. Obviously, we are willing to buy the footage - as long as it does not bankrupt us!
Thank you guys,
If you are working in 32bpc and have to use 8bpc or 16bpc effects, please know that AE tries to do as much as possible in 32bpc. If you have a layer with a 16bpc effect applied to it, all the other layers will be calculated and composited using the 32bpc values, and only your non-32bpc layer will not have any HDR values. Bigger problem is applying non-32bpc effects to Adjustment layers which affect everything underneath them. However, there's a solution for that as well:
You can use the clever "Compander" to either limit or extend the luma ranges, so you don't have to render out as an intermediate step. Pre-comping will also work.
Great, thanks for that. I will never thought about pre-composing. I will also look into the "Compander" and see what I can do.
Thank you Jonas