I am mainly a 3D modeler but from time to time a client asks me to do some video/AE stuff. It seems like no matter what I do, I cannot render a video without it being pixelated, unless the file size is enormous. I am using H.264 codec which gets the file down to a reasonable size, but as you can see, the quality is poor. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
If you're rendering to H.264 in After Effects, don't do it. Instead, render your video to the delivery codec using Adobe Media Encoder. It does a better job of it.
You don't say anything about your delivery specifications, which can have a great bearing on image quality.
Your friend looks to be standard definition because it is in a 4 x 3 aspect ratio. You should be creating your projects at a minimum 1920 x 1080 frame size. You should also be using the presets in the Adobe Media Encoder to render your deliverable. The Vimeo HD and YouTube HD presets work very well.
Thanks to both of you. Big, big help!