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Thread: Hard edges on gradient from digital lights

  1. #1

    Default Hard edges on gradient from digital lights

    Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum because I'm stuck having problems with a project I'm working on. We shot a video in a really dark environment with spotlights from behind to get a hard shilloute on the actor, and in After effects I enhanced the video with digital light flare effecs from Video Copilots Optical Flares. The problem I ran into is is that after exporting (in After Effects preview too already, but not that much) I noticed these really hard adges on the gradients of the lights. Trying to blur them doesn't help much. I exported uncompressed from After Effects and than compressed to h.264 via Adobe Media Encoder. Does anyone has experience with this and can help? Thanks in advance, Phil

    screenshot_husseyin1.jpg

    screenshot_husseyin2.jpg

    screenshot_husseyin3.jpg

    screenshot_husseyin4.jpg

    EDIT: I Just noticed that the forum softwares image upload scales the images down so here's hi-res links to my dropbox:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/..._husseyin1.png

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/..._husseyin2.png

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/..._husseyin3.png

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/..._husseyin4.png
    Last edited by CRRRSD; 05-30-2014 at 05:23 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    What you're looking at here is 'probably' the result of 8 bit compression which doesn't deal with gradients very well.

    When exporting from After Effects make sure the quality of render is set to at least 16 bit, if possible 32 bit. This will make After Effects render the gradient more smoothly in the first place.

    Any time you export to a final codec that is 8 bit (which includes H264, Animation etc etc), then you are going to get banding in gradients and there's really not much you can do about it. Increasing the bit rate can help in some cases, but not all.

    If you're on a Mac export to ProRes 4444 and see what it looks like. If you're on Windows then I don't know what to suggest since I don't know what codecs you have installed.

    In the end, you're probably going to have to put up with it.

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Partington View Post
    What you're looking at here is 'probably' the result of 8 bit compression which doesn't deal with gradients very well.

    When exporting from After Effects make sure the quality of render is set to at least 16 bit, if possible 32 bit. This will make After Effects render the gradient more smoothly in the first place.

    Any time you export to a final codec that is 8 bit (which includes H264, Animation etc etc), then you are going to get banding in gradients and there's really not much you can do about it. Increasing the bit rate can help in some cases, but not all.

    If you're on a Mac export to ProRes 4444 and see what it looks like. If you're on Windows then I don't know what to suggest since I don't know what codecs you have installed.

    In the end, you're probably going to have to put up with it.
    That's what I feared, thanks for your thoughts. I'm working on Mac, but as the video is going to be uploaded to Youtube it will get compressed to h.264 nonetheless, so I guess I'll have to deal with it, which is really unfortunate.

  4. #4

    Default

    I'd still export to a non-8bit codec using 16 bit rendering in After Effects and see if that fixes it first. If it doesn't then the problem could be elsewhere and not just an 8 bit codec problem. Once you've established if 8 bit is the cause (or not) then you can decide which way to go in order to mitigate the problem.

    Are you seeing any of this banding in After Effects ram preview (you say a little but not much???)? Could it be in the source footage to begin with once you've pushed the colours? Often there is banding in the dark areas of footage and it really only becomes apparent when you push the exposure in post. If that's the root cause then you're stuffed
    Last edited by David Partington; 05-30-2014 at 05:57 PM.

  5. #5

    Default

    Yes, I did push the contrast and exposure quite a lot in post. I got recommended to add a little bit of noise to the video and that really made big improvements to the look. Thanks for your efforts and insights though!

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