19 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2011 4:53 PM by WShawn

    More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense

    WShawn Level 1

      Hi:

       

      Quicktimes I render out of After Effects CS 5 using the ProRes 4444 codec are tagged as having an alpha channel even though my settings in the Output Module are RGB and Trillions of Colors.  NOT RGB + Alpha and Trillions of Colors+.  It doesn't matter whether my project is 8 bit or 16 bit.

       

       

      When I bring such movies back into AE it shows them as having an alpha channel (Trillions of Colors+).  If I do a Get Info in QT player it shows Millions of Colors+, and FCP shows them as having an alpha, too.

       

       

      I just upgraded to Snow Leopard 10.6.8 (figured it was safe after two years) and in the process switched full time to CS 5 (I only used it in the past to open other's projects).  I never had these issues with CS4.  I have not installed any AJA codecs into this new OS (clean install over wiped HD).

       

       

      This appears to be the opposite of the problem most have been having, which is AE won't generate an alpha in ProRes 4444 without moving codecs and other nonsense.

       

       

      The reason this is a problem is because when I bring these Quicktimes with faux alphas into FCP for editing I can't export a reference movie.  FCP rewrites the whole timeline.

       

       

      Haven't these CS 5/ProRes 4444 codec/Alpha channel issues been going on for over a year?  Do I have to buy CS 5.5 to get this to work correctly?

       

       

      Thanks.

       

       

      Shawn Marshall

      Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

        • 1. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
          WShawn Level 1

          Update:

           

          It appears that if I manually set the ProRes 4444 codec to Millions of Colors+ in my FCP sequence I can export a reference movie.  But it still would be nice if I didn't have to go through those extra steps to make it work as it used to.

           

          Thanks.

           

          Shawn Marshall

          Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

          • 2. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
            Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Did you set up a custom output template setting for ProRez? Mine are completely customized and when I start into a new project I'll set the default to the current specs for the project. Then I never have to worry.

             

            Screen Shot 2011-12-03 at 9.38.34 PM.png

            • 3. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
              WShawn Level 1

              Hi:

               

              Thanks for taking the time to reply; I appreciate it.

               

              I don't see what setting up a template has to do with the issue I've described.  As shown in the attached screen grab, I've set up an Output Module specifiying no alpha channel.  It's RGB, Trillions of Colors.  But the resulting Quicktime is tagged as having an alpha channel in AE, Quicktime player and Final Cut Pro.  I'm wondering why it might be doing that.

               

              OutputModule.png

               

              It also turns out that with these settings, even though the rendered QT is tagged as having an alpha, it doesn't.  Areas with transparency are opaque.  If I set the Video Output to RGB+Alpha, Trillions of Colors+, I will get a Quicktime with a larger file size and correct alpha channel with appropriate transparency.

               

              So, again, my question is, why is AE CS 5 tagging every Quicktime I render with the ProRes 4444 codec as having an alpha channel, no matter how I've set the Video Output?

               

              Cheers.

               

              Shawn Marshall

              Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

              • 4. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                ProRez 4444 has an alpha channel. You can't eliminate it. That's what the last 4 in the name is for. It's either going to be black, some shade of gray, or white. 0 or 1, 0 or 255.

                 

                Turning off the Alpha in the output module doesn't effect the codec. I haven't run any tests to see whether the background color of the comp is rendered and the alpha is full with the settings you are using.

                 

                Edit: I just ran a quick test and the alpha is there, but it's 100% white so the background color is rendered. I also get a settings mismatch warning from the render cue, emphasizing that ProRez444 has an alpha. Setting the output module to RGB forces the background alpha to white so, if there's opacity in the comp, the background will be black. This makes sense. The background color of the composition is not rendered with these settings. This also makes sense.

                • 5. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                  WShawn Level 1

                  Hi:

                   

                  Thanks for doing those tests, but I have hard drive fulls of Pro Res 4444 Quicktimes that don't have alphas.  In CS 4 I would specifiy RGB, Trillions of Colors, Pro Res codec, and the resulting Quicktime would NOT have an alpha channel.

                   

                  I created a simple comp in CS 4 and rendered out that comp with two different Output Modules.  In one I specified RGB, Trillions of Colors, and in the other I specified RGB+ Alpha, Trillions of Colors+, both Pro Res 4444 codec.

                   

                  Here's a screen grab of AE CS 5 showing how the above Quicktimes are tagged when imported.  This one shows the version rendered RGB+ Alpha in CS4:

                  CS4 Alpha.png

                  Note that AE tags the Apple ProRes 4444 Quicktime as Trillions of Colors+.

                   

                   

                  This screen grab shows the version I rendered in CS 4 as RGB only, NO alpha channel:

                  CS4 No Alpha.png

                  No alpha channel is indicated here.  For all intents and purposes, the alpha IS eliminated.  The file size is smaller than the one with the alpha.

                   

                  Now on to CS 5.  I opened the above project in CS 5 and rendered out the same comp using the same two settings, one specifying RGB only, the other RGB + Alpha.

                   

                  This screen grab shows how After Effects tags the version rendered RGB + Alpha in CS 5.  As expected, it's tagged as Trillions of Colors+, indicating an alpha channel:

                  CS5 Alpha.png

                   

                   

                  Now here's the version rendered as RGB only, NO alpha channel specified:

                  CS5 No Alpha.png

                  For no apparent reason, this version is also showing up as Trillions of Colors+.  After Effects (and QT player and FCP) thinks it has an alpha channel, but it doesn't.  It has no transparency information, and the file size is smaller than the one above rendered as RGB + Alpha.

                   

                  So for me, at least, something has changed from AE CS 4 and AE CS 5.  CS 5 appears to tag every ProRes 4444 Quicktime as having an alpha channel, even when it doesn't.

                   

                  That's my problem.

                   

                  Cheers.

                   

                  Shawn Marshall

                  Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

                  • 6. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    If it's ProRez4444 it has an alpha. There's no way to make the codec drop all of the alpha info. It can be a single bit, but it's still there. CS5.5 knows that so it's reporting correctly.

                     

                    I don't know what the production problem is in the long run. A movie with a 100% white alpha has no transparent areas so it behaves the same way as a movie with no alpha channel info. A movie with varying shades of gray in the alpha channel has varying areas of transparency. When you render a ProRez 4444 from CS4 or from CS5.5 with RGB selected you'll fill the alpha with a very few bits of data giving you the white alpha. The only production pipeline problem that I can see would be if the movie was supposed to render with an transparency info and it didn't. Are the test movies not behaving properly in your compositions? They should be.

                     

                    I'll say it again. ProRez 4444 has an alpha channel always. It's part of the codec. It's in the white paper. Sometimes the Alpha is just filled with white. CS5 is reporting correctly. CS4 is not. The movie is also always 12 bit, even if you send it 8 bit or 32 bit info, the codec is 12 bit with and alpha.

                    • 7. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                      WShawn Level 1

                      So if the ProRes codec ALWAYS has an alpha, why doesn't the ProRes 4444 Quicktime I rendered in CS 4 as RGB only show up in CS 5 as Trillions of Colors, not Trillions of Colors+?  After Effects CS 5 seems to think that Quicktime DOES NOT have an alpha.  Is my screen grab not clear?  I can also export ProRes 4444 Quicktimes out of FCP, and when I bring them into AE they have NO alpha.

                       

                      If I import an h.264 Quicktime into AE and display its "alpha" channel in the comp window I get a frame of white.  Does that mean h.264 supports embedded alpha channels?  No, it does not.  The fact that a Quicktime shows a white frame when you display its alpha doesn't mean it has an embedded alpha.

                       

                      And again, when I rendered my test comp out of CS 4 (a comp that does contain transparency information) with two different ProRes 4444 output modules, one RGB and one RGB + Alpha, I got two different results.  The one rendered with an alpha channel comes back into AE with its transparency intact, and it's 15.5 MB.  The one rendered as RGB only has no Alpha channel and no transparency information and is 10.8MB.  So if the ProRes codec ALWAYS has an alpha channel, why didn't it imbed the transparency info for both of them, even though I told the second one not to?  And why is one file bigger than the other?  If they both have embedded alphas they should both be the same size, should they not?

                       

                      Prior to CS 5, the ProRes 4444 codec behaved exactly like the Animation codec.  With the Animation codec, if I specified an alpha channel in the output module the resulting Quicktime would have an embedded alpha channel.  If I specified RGB only, it didn't embed an alpha channel.  It was as simple as that.

                       

                      Here's another little test one can do to support my assertion that the ProRes 4444 codec only embeds an alpha channel when you tell it to.  Open up a Quicktime, any Quicktime in Quicktime player.  Select Export, then Options, then Video Settings.  Select the Apple ProRes 4444 codec.  Notice the choices you have under Compressor: Depth: Millions of Colors OR Millions of Colors+.  Now why would they give me the choice of Millions of Colors (no alpha) if the ProRes 4444 codec was going to write an alpha no matter what I chose?

                       

                      The fact of the matter is they wouldn't.  The ProRes 4444 only embeds an alpha channel when you tell it to.  AE CS 5 is correctly rendering the ProRes 4444 Quicktimes. When I tell it to write RGB + Alpha, it writes the alpha, resulting in a 15.5 MB Quicktime.  Rendered from the same comp at the same time, when I specify RGB only, it writes a ProRes 4444 Quicktime without an alpha, resulting in an 11.9 MB Quicktime.  But for whatever reason, CS 5 is tagging that alpha-less PR 4444 Quicktime as having an alpha channel, though all empirical evidence, regardless of what the White Paper says, indicates that that Quicktime has no embedded alpha channel.

                       

                      Yes, there's a work-around.  As I wrote earlier, I can go into the codec settings in FCP and make it think it's working with PR 4444 footage that has an alpha channel, but I don't want to do that extra step.  I want it to work the way it used to, which was the correct way.

                       

                      Thanks.

                       

                      Shawn Marshall
                      Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

                      • 8. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                        Constant Production Level 1

                        This is not an answer but Avid released it's DNxHD 444 10-bit codec, is that something you could use instead? From what I know, DNxHD also support alphas.

                        • 9. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          I guess I must be have been missing something. You said:

                           

                          Yes, there's a work-around.  As I wrote earlier, I can go into the codec settings in FCP and make it think it's working with PR 4444 footage that has an alpha channel, but I don't want to do that extra step.  I want it to work the way it used to, which was the correct way.

                           

                          From that I gather that if you render with an alpha from CS5.5 that FCP doesn't see the alpha? If that's the case, that's a problem. I haven't seen that. If I render with an alpha it shows up no matter where I put the file. What I thought you were saying was, If I render with the alpha turned off I must go into FCP and change interpretation, which would be an unnecessary step.

                           

                          You also said:

                           

                          And again, when I rendered my test comp out of CS 4 (a comp that does contain transparency information) with two different ProRes 4444 output modules, one RGB and one RGB + Alpha, I got two different results.  The one rendered with an alpha channel comes back into AE with its transparency intact, and it's 15.5 MB.  The one rendered as RGB only has no Alpha channel and no transparency information and is 10.8MB.  So if the ProRes codec ALWAYS has an alpha channel, why didn't it imbed the transparency info for both of them, even though I told the second one not to?  And why is one file bigger than the other?  If they both have embedded alphas they should both be the same size, should they not?

                          This is also correct. It's my understanding that ProRez 4444 always has an alpha channel but that it can be set to full on with a single line of code in the header. If you turn off the alpha in the encoding a single little bit of data in the header that says for this video set the value for the alpha channel to 1 (white). With the alpha turned on every frame is checked to see if there's any alpha information and data is added to every frame. That's why the file size is bigger. It's not because there's no alpha in the first version, it's because every frame was set to white or alpha off with one line of code.

                           

                          The reason that the option to turn off the alpha exists in Compressor is that it takes less time to encode any codec if you tell it to only look at the alpha channel once vs telling it to check the alpha and compress the data for every frame. I'm not sure that it's a bug when CS5.5 reports all PR 4444 files as having an alpha when the alpha is turned off. It may be, but reporting an alpha when it's set to full on isn't as problematic as telling the software there is no alpha when there is one you want to use.

                           

                          I'm sorry that I missed the hart of your question which seems to be "Why is FCP not seeing an alpha channel when I render ProRez 4444 from AE CS5.5?" I thought that you were telling me that You were having to change the interpretation of PR 4444 files that have no transparency in FCP because they are being interpreted with an alpha. PR 4444 has been working for me. It still is as far as I can tell. If I've got the heart of the problem figured out now and FCP isn't seeing alphas when they are needed I'd file a bug.

                          • 10. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                            bogiesan Level 4

                            WShawn wrote:

                            Quicktimes I render out of After Effects CS 5 using the ProRes 4444 codec are tagged as having an alpha channel even though my settings in the Output Module are RGB and Trillions of Colors.  NOT RGB + Alpha and Trillions of Colors+.  It doesn't matter whether my project is 8 bit or 16 bit.

                             

                            This is the correct behavior for PR4444, it always carries an alpha. Your experience with CS$, IIUC, is that it used to render alpha selectively. That's interesting. But it's not how PR4444 was designed or intended to work: near lossless rendering with alpha that is viewed in FCP at full rez and with alpha  all without rendering. Animation is the only other near lossless codec that supports alphas but it cannot be used in real time in FCP. PR4444 solves that for me gloriously.

                            WShawn wrote:

                            I just upgraded to Snow Leopard 10.6.8 (figured it was safe after two years) and in the process switched full time to CS 5 (I only used it in the past to open other's projects).  I never had these issues with CS4.  I have not installed any AJA codecs into this new OS (clean install over wiped HD).

                            It's not your OS. Your versions of QT and FCP determine how the ProRes family of codecs is used and processed. I've tried to install the PR family on PowerPC Macs running FCP5 and they did not work. Intel Macs with FCP6 seem to support most of the PR codecs.

                             

                            I don't know anything about AJA; I have never used any of their hardware or software. But an AJA box could be contributing to your issue. Somehow. Maybe. But that would not be an Apple or an Adobe issue.

                             

                            WShawn wrote:

                            This appears to be the opposite of the problem most have been having, which is AE won't generate an alpha in ProRes 4444 without moving codecs and other nonsense.

                             

                            The reason this is a problem is because when I bring these Quicktimes with faux alphas into FCP for editing I can't export a reference movie.  FCP rewrites the whole timeline.

                             

                            Haven't these CS 5/ProRes 4444 codec/Alpha channel issues been going on for over a year?  Do I have to buy CS 5.5 to get this to work correctly?

                            "Work correctly" is relative. I don't have any issues at all with ProRes4444. Movies come out of After Effects CS5 (I'm not yet up to CS5.5) just the way I expect them to and my movies come into FCP with trillions+ and they can be used instantly in FCP timelines.

                            I'm not following your reference to faux alphas; I can't tell if you mean movies that say they have alphas but don't or movies that have alphas but aren't supposed to. If you don't need the alpha, render out of AE using one of the PR422 versions.

                            • 11. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                              WShawn Level 1

                              Hi:

                               

                              Thanks for the replies.

                               

                              I tend to be very methodical in my technical postings, to the point of where my inital issues get lost.  I'll try to simplify.

                               

                              -We do 3D animation and motion graphics.  Given that the ProRes 4444 codec is visibly lossless with a file size smaller than that of the Animation codec I master everything we do with the ProRes 4444 codec.  I'll then convert that master to other formats as requested by clients.

                               

                              -Before AE CS 5, the ProRes 4444 codec behaved the same way as the Animation codec.  If I rendered a PR4444 Quicktime in CS 4 as RGB the resulting Quicktime would not be tagged as having an alpha channel.  If I rendered a Quicktime in CS 4 as RGB + Alpha the resulting Quicktime would be tagged as having an alpha channel (Millions of Colors +).  Pretty much what I'd expect having used After Effects since 1997.

                               

                              -Now in AE CS 5, EVERY Quicktime I render using the PR 4444 codec is tagged as having an alpha channel (Millions of Colors +), whether I enabled that in the Output Module or not.

                               

                              -It is my contention that this is a bug in AE CS 5.  I'll grant that, technically, the PR 4444 codec always has an alpha channel, but it's not enabled unless you select Millions of Colors + in the Output Module.  This strikes me as a matter of semantics.  My experience with every codec that's ever supported an embedded alpha is that a Quicktime should only be tagged as Millions of Colors + when it's rendered out at Millions of Colors +.

                               

                              -This has forced me to modify my workflow in FCP.  With CS 4-rendered Quicktimes I could drag the clip into a new sequence and have the sequence automatically match the settings of the clip.  When I do that now with PR 4444 content rendered in CS 5 I get a green render bar the length of my clip because FCP thinks the clip has an alpha channel.  If I then make edits to the sequence I am unable to output a reference Quicktime.  FCP rewrites every frame.  This wastes time and fills up my hard drives with wasteful duplicates.

                               

                              -I DO NOT use the PR4444 codec to create keyable elements for FCP.  I do all of my compositing in After Effects.  I just use FCP to edit together the pieces of our motion graphics animations.  I prefer to output reference QTs until we get a final approved, at which point I'll make a self contained movie.

                               

                              -To reiterate, my problem is that AE CS 5 is tagging Quicktimes that should not have alphas as Millions of Colors+.  I think this is a bug.

                               

                              -I'm posting this issue in the forums to determine whether I'm the only person who's seeing this behavior of CS 5 tagging every ProRes 4444 Quicktime at Million of Colors+ (or Trillions of Colors +).

                               

                              -For comparision, I can bring a PR4444 Quicktime that CS 5 has tagged as Millions of Colors + into FCP and drop it into a timeline in which I've specified no alpha in the codec settings of the sequence (just Millions of Colors).  Because of this mismatch between the clip's codec (PR4444, Millions of Colors +) and the sequence's codec (PR4444 Millions of Colors) FCP has to render out every frame on export.  That's to be expected.  However, the resulting Quicktime is now tagged as simply PR4444, Millions of Colors.  So even though technicallly there still might be some sort of alpha channel in play with the ProRes 4444 codec FCP is smart enough to tag the Quicktime it's generated as NOT having an alpha channel.

                               

                              -So why is it that FCP 7.0.3  (and AE CS4) can generate ProRes 4444 Quicktimes that are tagged as having no alpha (Millions of colors) but AE CS 5 cannot?

                               

                              I hope I've been clearer.  Thank you.

                               

                              Shawn Marshall

                              Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

                              • 12. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                bogiesan Level 4

                                "Ah, I understand now." You didn't simplifiy anything but you've clarified the situation. I'll try to do the same.

                                 

                                Selecting PR4444 in AE in CS5 offers no options on my systems. Trillions of colors with alpha is all I get. There are no other buttons available. So you're describing a production environment with options I do not share with you. I think that might be Rick's situation, too. We don't understand why this is a problem since we cannot do what you're doing with PR4444.

                                • 13. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                  Dave LaRonde Level 6

                                  I run AE 10 & 10.5 on a Windows box -- no fancy alpha-channel ProRes codecs at home! --  so here's a naive question: 

                                   

                                  would ProRes HQ not be a viable option for rendering footage with no alpha channel?

                                  • 14. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                    bogiesan Level 4

                                    PR422HQ is way overkill for 99% of the video and film producers in the world. It's there for a specific elite of the entertainment biz, those who work in 4k on 64bit systems, I guess, that' ain't me! It's one of those "if you have to ask, you can't use it" sort of things. Anyone who uses the advanced features of the ProRes family knows why. That's the theory. In my practical experience over on the FCP forum at Apple, 99% of those using ProResHQ believe they are improving their original footage.

                                     

                                     

                                    Apple ProRes 4444

                                     

                                    The Apple ProRes 4444 codec offers the utmost possible quality for 4:4:4 sources and for workflows involving alpha channels. It includes the following features:

                                    • Full-resolution, mastering-quality 4:4:4:4 RGBA color (an online-quality codec for editing and finishing 4:4:4 material, such as that originating from Sony HDCAM SR or digital cinema cameras such as RED ONE, Thomson Viper FilmStream, and Panavision Genesis cameras). The R, G, and B channels are lightly compressed, with an emphasis on being perceptually indistinguishable from the original material.
                                    • Lossless alpha channel with real-time playback
                                    • High-quality solution for storing and exchanging motion graphics and composites
                                    • For 4:4:4 sources, a data rate that is roughly 50 percent higher than the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)
                                    • Direct encoding of, and decoding to, RGB pixel formats
                                    • Support for any resolution, including SD, HD, 2K, 4K, and other resolutions
                                    • A Gamma Correction setting in the codec’s advanced compression settings pane, which allows you to disable the 1.8 to 2.2 gamma adjustment that can occur if RGB material at 2.2 gamma is misinterpreted as 1.8. This setting is also available with the Apple ProRes 422 codec.

                                    Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)

                                    The Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec offers the utmost possible quality for 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 sources (without an alpha channel) and provides the following:

                                    • Target data rate of approximately 220 Mbps (1920 x 1080 at 60i)
                                    • Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422

                                    Apple ProRes 422

                                    The Apple ProRes 422 codec provides the following:

                                    • Target data rate of approximately 145 Mbps (1920 x 1080 at 60i)
                                    • Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422 (LT)

                                    Apple ProRes 422 (LT)

                                    The Apple ProRes 422 (LT) codec provides the following:

                                    • Roughly 70 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422 (thus, smaller file sizes than Apple ProRes 422)
                                    • Higher quality than Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)

                                    Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy)

                                    The Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) codec is intended for use in offline workflows and provides the following:

                                    • Roughly 30 percent of the data rate of Apple ProRes 422
                                    • High-quality offline editing at the original frame size, frame rate, and aspect ratio
                                    • High-quality edit proxy for Final Cut Server

                                     

                                     

                                    The Apple ProRes family of codecs provides these advantages:

                                    • Quality indistinguishable from that of the most pristine sources: Maintains superb quality even after multiple encoding/decoding generations.
                                    • Mastering-quality 4:4:4:4 RGBA: Provides a lossless alpha channel with real-time playback (Apple ProRes 4444 only). Mastering-quality 4:4:4 Y′CBCRcolor and 4:2:2 Y′CBCR color are also available.
                                    • The quality of uncompressed HD at data and storage rates lower than those of uncompressed SD: Provides real-time editing performance comparable to or better than that of any other HD codecs in Final Cut Pro.
                                    • Apple ProRes encoding at any frame size—SD, HD, 2K, 4K, or other: Apple ProRes codecs can also be encoded into nonstandard frame sizes, but nonstandard frame sizes are not supported for real-time playback in Final Cut Pro.
                                    • Variable bit rate (VBR) encoding: “Smart” encoding analyzes the image. Efficiency is increased because excess bits are not wasted on simple frames.
                                    • 10-bit sample depth: Preserves subtle gradients of 10-bit sources (sunsets, graphics, and the like) with no visible banding artifacts. When you import a file using an Apple ProRes codec, you don’t have to first determine whether the file is an 8-bit or 10-bit file. Apple ProRes codecs always preserve the bit depth of your original source files.
                                    • I-frame–only (intraframe) encoding: Ensures consistent quality in every frame, with no artifacts from complex motion, and speeds up editing.
                                    • Fast encoding and decoding: Delivers high-quality, real-time playback and faster rendering times.
                                    • Equipment affordability: Because of low bit rates, you can edit more streams with more real-time effects on slower drives, or have more users accessing the same media over shared storage devices.
                                    • Workflow options for any video format that does not have native Final Cut Pro support: The Apple ProRes format provides an effective workflow for projects involving multiple acquisition formats when you want to standardize on a single codec.
                                    • Better rendering for native editing: Can be used to render long-GOP MPEG-2 formats (such as HDV and XDCAM HD) to speed up editing and avoid MPEG-2 reencoding artifacts before output.
                                    • 15. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                      WShawn Level 1

                                      bogiesan wrote:

                                       

                                      Selecting PR4444 in AE in CS5 offers no options on my systems. Trillions of colors with alpha is all I get. There are no other buttons available. So you're describing a production environment with options I do not share with you. I think that might be Rick's situation, too. We don't understand why this is a problem since we cannot do what you're doing with PR4444.

                                      That seems strange.  So when you go to the Video Output dialog in the Output Module you can't choose between RGB and RGB + Alpha when you have the ProRes 4444 codec selected?  I can see why codecs that don't support embedded alphas (Photo JPEG, DV, etc) don't let you select RGB + Alpha, but why would a codec that supports alphas ONLY let you select RGB + Alpha.  That's not how the Animation codec worked.

                                       

                                      I've created a 3 minute screen grab that illustrates my interface (which I really doubt is unique) and what happens when Quicktimes are rendered with various settings. 

                                       

                                      http://www.marshall-arts.net/Test/AlphaDemoCS5-Screencap.mov

                                       

                                      Thanks.

                                       

                                      Shawn Marshall

                                      Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

                                      • 16. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                        bogiesan Level 4

                                        My apologies, we continue to misunderstand each other. Or, rather, I you.

                                        If I select an output module using 4444, there is indeed an option for RGB, ALpha only or RGB + Alpha.DEpth is always trillions or trillions+. I would never use 4444 unless I needed the alpha so I've never bothered to consider the other selections.

                                         

                                        I'm not helping at all so I'm gracefully dropping out of this conversation.

                                        • 17. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                          WShawn Level 1

                                          bogiesan wrote:

                                           

                                          My apologies, we continue to misunderstand each other. Or, rather, I you.

                                          If I select an output module using 4444, there is indeed an option for RGB, ALpha only or RGB + Alpha.DEpth is always trillions or trillions+. I would never use 4444 unless I needed the alpha so I've never bothered to consider the other selections.

                                           

                                          I'm not helping at all so I'm gracefully dropping out of this conversation.

                                          Your input has been helpful, but before you leave could you do a little test?  Render out a short Quicktime from AE CS 5 using the ProRes 4444 codec, RGB only, Trillions of Colors (ie: no alpha).  Then bring the resulting Quicktime back into AE.  Has your Quicktime been tagged as Trillions of Colors +?

                                           

                                          Thank you.

                                           

                                          Shawn Marshall

                                          Marshall Arts Motion Graphics

                                          • 18. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                            bogiesan Level 4

                                            Rendered out a quick clip, set to ProRes4444, RGB only, no alpha but Straight. Came into AE CS5 as Trilions of colors+.

                                            Rendered the same short clip but changed to premultiplied. Clip came in as Trillions+ again.

                                             

                                            The comp in AE had no alpha components.

                                             

                                            You know, there's an interpretation rules file for After Effects. You're going to have to look it up in the manual or online help systems. It's a simple text fiel that handles everythgin that happens on imports. Guessing it's got one line for ProRes4444 files set to display trillions+ always.

                                             

                                            Next?

                                             

                                            Message was edited by: bogiesan

                                            • 19. Re: More CS 5 - ProRes 4444 Alpha channel nonsense
                                              WShawn Level 1

                                              Thanks for confirming my observations.

                                               

                                              Thanks for tip about the text file that sets the AE interpretation rules for import, but importing isn't my issue.  It's rendering a movie.  It's CS5 tagging a PR4444 Quicktime as Trillions of Colors + even though I explicitly select Trillions of Colors (no alpha) in the Output Module for render.  All other Quicktime applications (AE, FCP, QT player) see that Trillions of Colors + tag.  To my knowledge this never happened with any other codec, so it feels like a bug to me, and I'll report it as such.

                                               

                                              Cheers.

                                               

                                              Shawn Marshall

                                              Marshall Arts Motion Graphics