4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2016 4:14 PM by Liam.N

    Pixelation in small h.264 exports


      While using CS6 I would frequently export small h.264 files (as mp4s) as previews directly out of After Effects, at 480 x 270. As it was just for preview clips, it was easier and resulted in much the same quality as using Media Encoder. I've recently started using CC and that option is no longer available. To use h.264 I have to send it to Media Encoder.


      However, when I do this, any images which I've scaled up over 100% in After Effects come out looking horribly pixelated in the resulting export. This only occurs when exporting small-sized preview clips (480 x 270), and if I export them in HD then the images look fine, just as they do in After Effects originally. I am of course aware that scaling an image up reduces its quality but the resizes aren't ever big enough to really notice anywhere else. The pixelation only occurs when exporting low resolution h.264 clips.


      Is there anything I can do to rectify this? Right now, to get them into the proof format that our workflow uses I have to export a higher resolution clip and then send it back into Media Encoder to be downsized, which, while obviously doable, is starting to get annoying.


      I'm running Windows 7, After Effects CC 2015.2 and Media Encoder 2015.2

        • 1. Re: Pixelation in small h.264 exports

          I've never had good quality h264 straight out of AE so I guess I'm used to rendering high quality from there and creating the smaller proofs in media encoder.

          Silly question but is 'Use Maximum Render Quality' checked?

          • 2. Re: Pixelation in small h.264 exports
            Liam.N Level 1

            It is indeed, yes.

            • 3. Re: Pixelation in small h.264 exports
              Szalam Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              What happens if you render an intermediate file out of AE first and then use the Adobe Media Encoder on that file? Does the result look okay?

              It may have something to do with the content of that composition too. On that same project, you could try rendering it in CS6. You can Save As CC from CC 2015.3, CC 2015, or CC 2014 and then open it in CC and save it as CS6. (CS6 and all later versions of AE are included in your CC subscription and can be downloaded and installed alongside each other. Details on how to download here.)

              • 4. Re: Pixelation in small h.264 exports
                Liam.N Level 1

                If I do a high res intermediate then it looks fine, whether out of AE or MC.

                I didn't realise that CS6 came included with the subscription. While it probably wouldn't be a great option in this instance, it's good to know for other situations that I've encountered. Thanks!


                I've just tested it out some more and noticed that that low-res proofs causing the problem all encode much faster than a high res version in MC. I'm guessing from this that MC auto adapts the Resolution based on the export size you've selected? In After Effects this is an option under Render Settings, but it doesn't seem to be available in MC. Can anyone confirm if this is the case?