7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2012 7:48 AM by Szalam

    Changing the Composition Resolution Blurs My Footage.


      Hi there, I would greatly appreciate any light you could shed on an issue we're having.


      We have some footage rendered from 3DSMax at 380x320 pixels, and we have this as an image sequence. We have about 150 spinning product rotations already rendered at this size, and these originally sat in a flash comp so a user could spin the product around. The website for the client has been redesigned and we need to fit these renders into a different size comp, specifically 396x297 (which is the size of the new flash player). However, when ever we try changing the composition resolution from 380x320 to 396x297, the footage seems to have been almost "blurred", and becomes unsharpened. It's not very pretty and we loose the crisp images that we have rendered out. Are we doing something wrong? We have tried placing the footage (380x320) in a 720p composition and it looks fine, but as soon as we change the resolution from 1280x720 to 1280x719 it blurs it again. We have also tried keeping the same ratio as the original footage but changing the just the height or just the width and the same issue happens. Sometimes it's worse. We have made sure it's square pixels too.


      I have made sure After Effects is up to date, and we have made sure OPENGL is off. This blurring is not only evident in the preview, but also when we render out as a Quicktime Animation. We are using After Effects 5.5 on Windows 7, but have also tried this on a Mac to no avail (for the hell of it).


      What's going on here? Thanks in advance for any help you guys could offer, thank you. It's been the bane of my life for 2 days! I'm sure it's just my misunderstanding of how pixels and these things work. I have read through the help documentation but maybe I'm missing something?

        • 1. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
          Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Are you using AE 5.5? Or CS5.5 (which is AE version 10.5)? It might make a difference in troubleshooting.


          What happens if you change the new comp size to 396x298 or 396x296? Alternatively, what happens if you keep the same comp size, but move your product animation half a pixel up or down? My thought is that your animation, due to the odd number of vertical pixels is somehow falling in between pixels and causing the blur to occur.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
            laurence.chase Level 1

            Hi, thanks for your response.


            Sorry I meant to say CS5.5, my mistake.


            The blur still appears with the 396x298 and 396x296 unfortunately, I should have stated that in my original post, apologies. When you say move "half a pixel up", am I correct in saying I should add a "0.5" to the position y. By doing that is that half a pixel? Because I might be doing that wrong. Either way that doesn't work haha.


            Once again thanks for your response.

            • 3. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
              BenjaminMarkus Level 4

              Are you scaling the 3ds Max animation inside the composition?  That seems more likely to blur the quality of the animation.  Otherwise changing the composition size should only change the aspect ratio comp and not what's inside it.  For example look at these two comps, where the size and quality of the "a" remains the same even though the comp size has been changed.



              If you want to scale everything within the comp then you have to go to File - Scripts - Scale Composition, but I'm not sure if that's what you want.  Please forgive me if I'm misunderstanding something here, but it seems to me like the best way to solve this issue would be to re-render the animation out of 3ds Max to match the exact size you need for final output.  Changing the resolution later, will either cut or scale your animation, which seems to be what's causing you problems at the moment.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                As Ben said, resizing the comp should not affect the layers in any way and rather crop them than sclaing. Only scaling footage layers themselves or using the scaling in the render output settings or a specific output module will do that... Of course you can't avoid resampling with any such scaling operation. If that's critical, you will have to manualyl go in and rebuild the content rather than simply resizing everything...



                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
                  Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  As long as your footage is not scaled and as long as the position property is on whole pixel values there is nothing about the size of a composition that will change the sub pixel sampling (sharpness) of the footage.


                  If your footage is an odd number of pixels high or wide it will be softer in After Effects than it is in Photoshop because AE will zero the anchor point in the middle of the footage and that will be a half pixel off forcing sub pixel resampling. There's no way to avoid this except to manually reset the anchor point to a whole pixel value.


                  If your footage is vector art and it is not an even number of pixels high or wide you'll have exactly the same problem that you have with rastor images unless you set the footage to continuously rasterize. If set to continuously rasterize and the vector art was created in Illustrator with snap to pixel set, then a 1 pixel (one point) line in your vector image, even with collapse transformations turned on will be rasterized in AE into a two pixel wide line because the line is not lined up with the composition pixel grid. This makes a lot of difference if your artwork has thin horizontal or vertical lines. It's always a good idea to keep all artwork an even number of pixels high and wide.


                  If the footage only looks soft when rendered you're facing the same sub pixel sampling problem when your composition is an odd number of pixels high or wide. ALL MPEG (that includes FLA) movies must be an even number of pixels high and wide. That's the way the compression works. That's the way the codec works. If you render something out at 295 X 333 pixels to an MPEG codec then the render will be scaled up to an even number of pixels high and wide. This will soften the render. If it's H.264 (most flash movies are rendered to h.264) then you're stuck with an even tighter set of frame size requirements.


                  Check the anchor point of your footage. If it's not at a whole pixel value, change it. Make sure it's positioned at a whole pixel value.


                  Now change the comp size to any even number of pixels high and wide and the footage will look exactly the same as long as your comp and your footage is square pixels. If your footage or your composition is set to any other pixel aspect ratio then the image is going to soften. It's can't do anything else.

                  • 6. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
                    laurence.chase Level 1

                    Guys thank you very much, I tried having even numbers again for my resolution and this time it worked! I must have made a mistake the first time I did it, my excuse was that I was pretty tired.


                    Can't thank all of you enough. Especially Rick for your helpful explanation! It makes a lot more sense now.


                    Once again thanks, I'll try to stick around and help out others on these forums when I get the chance!

                    • 7. Re: Changing the composition resolution blurs my footage.
                      Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Here's an interesting post about trying to maintain a crisp, 8-bit look that may be useful for anyone finding this thread in the future.