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Is the layer scaling to match? That would do it.
Start with an empty project that is the correct size and then add the QT to it.
Are you using Pixel Aspect Ratio correction in the comp window? Do you use OpenGL? Both things can drastically affect how the footage looks during working with it (it will in most cases however render entirely correct and clean). Short of that I can only think of CoDec specific issues that may not like certain pixel ratios or resolutions...
David & Mylenium,
I should have been more specific. Sorry. This is what's happening. The source is a 1920 x 1080 sq. pixel Apple ProRes 422 quicktime. I bring the footage into AE, key it and then prerender it.
Then I create a new comp (by dragging the footage to the new comp button) based on this prerendered footage. I do any compositing/etc i need to and then I take this final comp and render a master quicktime. Finally, I wait for my designers to tell me what size dimensionally they want the video to be ( it goes to FLV).
Once I get this info, I create a new comp one of 2 ways....
1. I drag the master quicktime to the new comp button, it makes a new comp (everything still looking fine) and then I change the dimensions of the comp to fit the designers request. As soon as I change the dimensions of the comp - the video looks like garbage. it looks like it's been slightly blurred - before and after I've scaled it down to fit the new size of the comp.
2. Sometimes I create a new comp with the dimensions the designers requested and then drag the master quicktime into it. Same thing. Blurred/bad footage before and after scaling to fit.
What in the heck is going on? Is there some strange ratio between height and width AE has to have? My footage is SQ PIX so... what the heck?
So David, when you ask if my footage is scaling to match the new comp size, the answer is no. If my footage is 1920x1080 and the final comp size is 400x340, I scale the video down so that all the action/movement of the actors fits into this size.
Mylenium, my footage and comps are SQ PIX and its the same with both OpenGL on and off. As far as for the codec, I see this with my original codecs - both DVCPro-HD and Apple Prores 1920x1080. I also see it happen with the prerendered qt's that have animations codecs.
I'm sorry for the long post guys. It's just been thoroughly frustrating. This footage should stay sharp. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it doesn't. It's very strange. I've trashed prefs, reinstalled, retraced my steps and found nothing.
Time to pull my hair out. But thanks for your responses though!!
It's possible that your footage is sitting on a sub-pixel increment. Try nudging your footage up/down/left/right. AE has the ability to place objects on sub-pixel divisions which can often cause blurring. You may have to nudge it several times to get it to fall on the right spot. Keep in mind that the "right spot" may not be an integer.
edit: it helps to zoom in to your comp window while nudging
Steve, when you say nudge, you mean moving the layer with the arrow keys a pixel based on current zoom right?
I've been trying it a while here and no dice. And check this out. When I change the visual settings of the layer in the timeline, best (which correct me if I'm wrong is the solid bolder backslash) looks worse than the draft version - which is the dotted reverse backslash RIGHT?
Thanks for the response. I will continue to experiment with the sub-pixel increments.
Yup. Move the layer by nudging via the arrow keys.
If you're seeing that quality switch effect the clarity of your layer in that manner, then my guess is that it is indeed a sub-pixel positioning problem. Are you zoomed in too far? The nudge amounts are relative to your amount of zoom in your comp window. You may need to combine nudges of up/down to get the right amount.
To address what Steve is talking about, check that the numeric values for position are even integers, ie even numbers, no decimal values.
Are you simply seeing field interpretation? AE will apply standardized interpretation settings by default to some file types/resolutions. Perhaps it's applying a field interpretation to your footage, with the result that you are seeing deinterlaced (half res) footage in your comp window.
Check the interpretation and switch off if not required.
I've seen some weird situations that can occur requiring the numeric values for X/Y positions to be non-integers in order for the footage to appear sharp. I believe it somewhat depends on the size of the original comp versus the size of the smaller comp in which videodrew's dropping the footage.
If you do find that it needs to fall on integers, then you can use the following expression on the layer's position:
Addressing the decimal values, I think I just figured it out. For me it's the reverse of what you're saying Andrew.
For both Anchor point values and positional values. if they have values WITH odd decimal values then the footage actually looks better. If they're even decimals or if I get rid of the decimal values it looks like crap.
Yes guys, that's it. I need to have an odd decimal value in the x and y position and anchor point values.
Does this seem abnormal to any of you? How strange. But as long as it looks good again, I don't care.
Thank you all for your help!!!
Glad it's looking better. I believe the decimal has to do with the size of your original comp (in pixels) versus the size of your mini-comp. I've run into this before, and it drove me batty until I started nudging things around.
^Sorry, you're quite correct. I was thinking the comp in question was 1920x1080, but of course that's not the case here.
The correct position parameter does indeed relate to the comp size and the layer size.
Trish and Chris Meyer have a great formula for calculating the correct position to avoid subpixel positioning: make sure the difference between the Anchor Point value and the Position value is a whole number.
So, for example, if you place a 1920x1080 pixel image into a 565x500 sized comp:
Anchor Point defaults to the center of the layer so
Anchor X = 960, Anchor Y = 540
Position the object in the center of the comp:
Position X = 282.5, Position Y = 250
The X axis result is NOT an integer, so the image will be resampled, thus softened. Pushing the layer an extra 0.5 of a pixel on the X axis would round the result, and AE would no longer need to resample.
Of course, all the math changes when scaling and other transforms are also applied. Sometime you just need to nudge your layer by half pixels until it hits sharpness.
Good 'ole Trish and Chris strike again!
You guys ROCK!!!
This has been bugging me on and off for a long time too. I've just passed it off as a bug and added a slight sharpening filter to the layer. But I always felt lazy for doing it.
I'm going to look into this Trish & Chris Meyer.
But seriously though. Thank you! Now if I could just get my "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" working.
The "Creating Motion Graphics" books are outstanding. Check them out.
What's wrong with your "Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously" option?
"Incompatible Preview Mode - Multiprocessing is off"
But it's on I tell you. It's on.
Sorry, should have said that that message appears in my info panel. Also, is this gonna make people mad that it's not in a new topic?
This message is actually a new development for me too. Before I was getting a message with something like "calculating background processes - this may take some time". And AE would just sit there and not come back.
The "calculating background processes" message is normal with the switch enabled, as is the delay for the preview to start. It should start eventually, though, not hang indefinitely. What kind of preview mode are you using? Are you using OpenGL? Do you have an external monitor hooked up? This may be a long shot too, but do you have "hardware accelerate composition, layer, and footage panels" enabled in the "Display" prefs? These are all pretty much stabs in the dark. Personally, I disable OpenGL, and don't use the multiprocessing option. I do use Nucleo Pro for multiprocessor and background rendering, but for RAM previews, I just let AE do it's thing.
Right on. I seem to be having more luck without OpenGL and multiprocessing too.
One of these days I'll convince my boss to spring for nucleo.
> "Incompatible Preview Mode - Multiprocessing is off"
> But it's on I tell you. It's on.
This message is not saying "You have turned multiprocessing off."
It's saying "Something in your setup is incompatible with multiprocessing with Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously; therefore After Effects has (temporarily) disabled Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously."
As Steve identified, this is usually because of using OpenGL. The reason is that using OpenGL means that you're moving many operations to the (single) GPU, whereas Render Multiple Frames Simultaneously relies on splitting operations up among multiple CPUs. You basically have to choose between these two optimizations. Unless you're doing work with a lot of 3D layers, you'll probably not want to pick OpenGL.
Aha. That makes sense. Thanks!