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Well, here's the deal: AE doesn't really make high-quality mpeg 2 files. It's incapable of multipass rendering, which really improves image quality. Furthermore, AE can't do muxed audio.
So if you want to use AE, I'm afraid you cant get around re-authoring.......
Use the Adobe Media encder to render your files. Either make a self contained lossless or nearly lossless (not MPEG) movie or open your AEP file in the AME and render your MPEG there. The results will be far superior and your DVD authoring program won't have to recompress.
Good to know Dave!
Rick, that works great! Hopefully future AFX will have Media Encoder embeded inside AFX besides its own Render Queue. It's great to have a diff app render out.
I want to clarify a couple of things.
After Effects does use the same code as Adobe Media Encoder to encode all motion-based file types. MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, AVI, MOV, FLV, F4V, MXF OP1a, WMV. Also the audio-only file types, MP3, AIFF, WAV.
The differences between AE and AME in regards to export capabilities are:
* AE uses different still-image format (DPX, PNG, TIFF, etc.) exporters than AME, and has a few that AME doesn't (IFF, PSD, OpenEXR, Radiance, SGI).
* AE doesn't have the P2 Movie exporter.
* AE doesn't have the option to encode Dolby audio.
* AE can encode to AAC audio in an MPEG-4 container but can't export to a standalone .AAC file, as AME can (the confusingly named "Audio Only" format).
* AE can't do multi-pass encoding. This is a limitation of AE's internal render processing.
Please note that in that list, I did not include any assertations about the quality of AE's encoding capabilities (as was implied by a certain post earlier in this thread). This is because AE is capable of producing encoded video of the same quality as AME, given a particular set of encoding parameters. (I won't claim that the results you get out of AE and AME will be 100% identical in every case due to somewhat different processing pipelines, but the results should be identical for most cases.)
By the above paragraph I mean to emphasize one point: AE can encode high-quality video in any of its supported formats.
A lot gets made in this forum of the last item in the above list, that AE can't do multi-pass encoding. This is a bit of a disappoinment if you need multi-pass encoding.
Yes, emphasis on the "if" statement there. Multi-pass encoding does not always provide appreciable benefit to the quality of the encoded file. This is most true when the bitrate is high enough that significant inter-frame compression is not required.
You can test this yourself: grab a file with a lot of motion in it, put it in AME and export to MPEG-2 or H.264 at a high bitrate (start at above 10Mbps) once at 1-pass and once at 2-pass, drop the resulting files into AE, put them into the same comp and set the upper layer to Difference mode. Now peek down the timeline to see if any there are actually any difference pixels. I'll bet you see few if any.
You can repeat the same experiment at lower and lower bitrates until you start seeing the difference. Then try it with a different video file. The more motion that's in the file, the more likely you are to see a difference at higher bitrates. With less motion, less inter-frame compression is required, and even lower bitrates at 1-pass encoding should produce acceptable results.
Practically speaking, if you're trying to decide between 1-pass and 2-pass compression, you need to decide what's best for your workflow. If you need to encode to MPEG-2, MPEG-4, or H.264, ask yourself:
* Do I need to keep my file size small enough or bitrate low enough that compression could impact the quality? If yes, you should probably put your comp in AME and do 2-pass encoding.
* Do I have time to wait for both encoding passes to complete? Time is the cost of multi-pass compression. If you can't wait, do 1-pass either from AE or AME.
* Do I want to keep working while my file encodes? Then who cares? Throw it in AME and do either 1-pass or 2-pass. AME will encode your comp in the background and you can keep making pretty pixels in AE.
So, to summarize:
- 1-pass encoding is faster.
- 2-pass encoding gives better quality, but only if the bitrate is low enough that the difference is noticeable.
- AE and AME use the same code for exporting to video and audio formats.
There will be a test at the end of the semester.
What we didn't cover in today's class:
- File size differences between 1-pass and 2-pass encoding (2-pass should always produce a smaller file size).
- If you experience a quality problem when encoding from AE or AME, please post the particulars on the forum and/or file a bug.
-=Adobe After Effects and Adobe Media Encoder QE