5 Replies Latest reply on Jan 15, 2014 8:15 AM by RussHull

    Illustrator document comes in pixelated, before even placing in a comp

    RussHull

      I'm stumped on this one, folks:

       

      I created this graphic in illustrator, made up of a pattern of wavy lines. Looks clean and normal in Illustrator, zoomed in at 400%:

       

      Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 3.41.06 PM.png

       

      However, when imported into After Effects, pulling it up in the footage panel, it looks pixelated at 100% magnification:

       

      Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 3.42.09 PM.png

      (Closer view):

       

      Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 3.42.40 PM.png

       

      I've tried a number of possible solutions I've seen suggested here and on Creative Cow:

       

      • Made sure that the "document raster effects setting" in illustrator is turned way up (currently at 800 ppi)
      • Turned on anti-alias under "document raster effects setting" in illustrator (makes no difference whether this is on or off)
      • Made sure that pixel aspect correction isn't enabled in AE
      • Played with "interpret footage" settings in AE
      • Tried changing save options in illustrator -- create PDF compatible file/Use compression... neither make a difference

       

      I'm all out of ideas. Is it possible that the illustrator file is TOO COMPLEX for AE to rasterize correctly? It is a very large document, necessary to make it work within my AE comp. (Here it is at 25% zoom in AE for reference):

       

      Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 3.47.49 PM.png

       

      Any ideas? Note that this is before I even put it into a comp, so "rasterize continuously" is not the source of the problem. Any help would be appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Illustrator document comes in pixelated, before even placing in a comp
          fusepilot

          The footage window doesn't continuosly rasterize. So unless theres another problem, it's only going smooth out once you bring it into a composition and then enable continous rasterizing on the layer.

          • 2. Re: Illustrator document comes in pixelated, before even placing in a comp
            RussHull Level 1

            The problem remains once it's put into a composition and continuous rasterization is turned on. But that's good to know about the footage window.

            • 3. Re: Illustrator document comes in pixelated, before even placing in a comp
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I can tell from your original post that there is a basic misunderstanding of how vectors are rasterized and interpreted in any video application including Motion, Final Cut, Premiere Pro, Avid... and After Effects.

               

              "I've tried a number of possible solutions I've seen suggested here and on Creative Cow:

               

              • Made sure that the "document raster effects setting" in illustrator is turned way up (currently at 800 ppi)
              • Turned on anti-alias under "document raster effects setting" in illustrator (makes no difference whether this is on or off)
              • Made sure that pixel aspect correction isn't enabled in AE
              • Played with "interpret footage" settings in AE
              • Tried changing save options in illustrator -- create PDF compatible file/Use compression... neither make a difference

               

              I'm all out of ideas. Is it possible that the illustrator file is TOO COMPLEX for AE to handle correctly? "

               

              Let's start with point 1... Document Raster settings in Illustrator set to 800PPI...

                   Well, there are no inches in video so the PPI will only effect raster effects and raster effects will not continuously rasterize because they are interpreted as pixels. For video work 72 is plenty, 800 will not gain you anything unless you have completely setup your Illustrator project incorrectly for video.

               

              Document Raster effects settings in Illustrator make no difference as I do not see any raster effects in your sample. Raster effects are things like Drop Shadow. It looks like you just have a bunch of wavy lines. If you have a rastor effect applied you do not have a vector image any more.

               

              Too complex is also a misunderstanding of how AE handles vector images. Your paths, though numerous, are simple... no chance the number of paths is causing the problem. So what is?

               

              The lines are too thin... Simple as that. You must be concerned with the stroke width in your illustrator files. It looks like the stroke is set to 1 point. That means 1 pixel. One pixel lines MUST be exactly lined up with the pixel grid to rasterize properly. There's no way around that limitation. NONE. Change your document settings in Illustrator to pixels instead of points and you'll see what I mean. Your lines don't look ailiased or blocky to me, they look like 1 piel width lines not following the pixel grid perfectly. The behavior is completely normal.

               

              Here's how you should set up an Illustrator file for video work.

              1. In illustrator, document setup should be in pixels not points, or inches or anything else.
              2. Artboard size should be set to be big enough to include every element you wish to include in an AE comp. IOW, if you want to push in in AE to 1/4 of your illustration then the artboard should be 4X the size of the comp.
              3. Strokes must be at least 2 pixels wide. This will guarantee that when your illustration is viewed at 100% scale AE will have a chance of antialiasing any curved lines. 1 pixel wide curved or diagonal lines cannot be rastorized into a smooth line.
              4. If you plan to scale down your image then you must compensate in your design so that the lines will scale down without problems. This thicker strokes. Scale to 50% and your stroke needs to be 4 pixels or 4 points to work well.
              5. You should have snap to pixels on, do pixel previews in Illustrator, and accurately position your vector lines precisely in Illustrator to minimize problems.
              6. Inside AE you should select your AI layers in the project panel and then go to Interpret Footage, More Options, and set antaliasing to more accurate.

              Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 6.58.08 PM.png

               

              I hope this helps you.

               

              The wavy line pattern is going to cause all kinds of moray and interference problems when you move it across the screen because of the changes in aliasing as the lines move across the pixel grid and are interpreted as pixels. This is also a guaranteed problem with the design. It can be mitigated by fattening up the stroke and by using an expression to make sure all movement is exactly on an even pixel.

               

              You still have to worry about retinal retention, stroboscopic effects due to frame rate and pixel motion, and moray patterns caused by the human eye and brain combination. Read this article from this forum's FAQ for more information on that. Our brains don't like to look at moving repetitive patterns. Try slowly moving your eyes across the red checkered table cloth the next time you eat in an Italian restaurant and you'll see what I mean.

              • 4. Re: Illustrator document comes in pixelated, before even placing in a comp
                Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                As Rick said, you are looking in al lthe wrong places. You're simply getting Moiré patterns due to high-frequency details and antialaising issues. The design, unless you plan on scaling the waves up by at least about 300%, is simply unsuitable for video.

                 

                Mylenium

                • 5. Re: Illustrator document comes in pixelated, before even placing in a comp
                  RussHull Level 1

                  Thanks. Pulling the .AI doc into photoshop and rescaling did the trick. 1 px stroke width not rasterizing correctly (with anything other than a straight line) makes sense.