Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

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Little Yamori
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Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Little Yamori » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:20 am

Hi All,

Well, my computer crashed 2 weeks ago (luckily everything was saved) but now have a new setup and am using Premiere Pro for the first time. I have a bit of a learning curve going on. Previously I had always rendered Moho files in MP4 and I have found the results of this best when subsequently importing those files into Windows Live Movie Maker, but now in Premiere pro I have been able to import the MP4's ok (though maybe there's something I can improve on here to solve some of the issue), but finding the right Export method from PP has been a bit tricky. Some of the output settings I have experimented with have seen a quality drop off.

Any hints from anyone with good output settings?

Thx

LY
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SuperSGL
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by SuperSGL » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:05 pm

It's not the best way I'm sure but (I use Corel Video Studio X9) I render out what I want at the best quality and then import the video in Moho 12 and use it's render engine, assuming your leaving it as mp4. Moho doesn't give you too many details on compression etc. but I find it creates smaller files (even at 90%) and leaves the quality pretty well. Maybe someone can give us the data on all the compression's used.
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hayasidist
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by hayasidist » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:25 pm

I use Moho to render out png sequence. It's a lossless codec. Premiere will import image sequence as a single entity that you can drop in your timeline and manipulate "just like an mp4 file"

(sorry - just seen the date on the OP -- must have missed it first time round!)
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Little Yamori » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:23 pm

Thanks for the replies.
SuperSGL wrote:It's not the best way I'm sure but (I use Corel Video Studio X9) I render out what I want at the best quality and then import the video in Moho 12 and use it's render engine, assuming your leaving it as mp4. Moho doesn't give you too many details on compression etc. but I find it creates smaller files (even at 90%) and leaves the quality pretty well. Maybe someone can give us the data on all the compression's used.
hayasidist wrote:I use Moho to render out png sequence. It's a lossless codec. Premiere will import image sequence as a single entity that you can drop in your timeline and manipulate "just like an mp4 file"

(sorry - just seen the date on the OP -- must have missed it first time round!)
I'm rendering out the MP4s at 100%, but I'll give the png sequences a try too. I'm still messing with the Premiere output settings

Thx much
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Greenlaw
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Greenlaw » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:12 pm

Just some personal thoughts and a few tips:
hayasidist wrote:I use Moho to render out png sequence. It's a lossless codec.
This is what I always do too, and it's pretty much the industry practice for animation, 2D or 3D. The reason is 1. quality, 2. performance, 3. flexibility.

For quality, PNG is a mathematically lossless codec, meaning it's compressed but with no adverse effect on the quality of the image. This also means, if you have an embedded alpha channel, you won't get noisy edges typical with a lossy codec.

By rendering to image sequence, as opposed to a movie file, the computer can work more efficiently since it doesn't need to hold the entire movie file in memory before saving it. It also means you can use distributed rendering which can really speed things up (although that's not currently a native Moho feature; you'll need a render controller for that.)

As for flexibility, with image sequences, if you crash, you can resume the render where you left off; or if you change something in a portion of the animation or have a bad frame or two, you only need to re-render the new frames, not the whole thing. With a movie file, it's typical to re-render the whole thing because it gets messy trying to render tiny movie segments to 'patch' the animation in editing.

I also like to render to image sequences for compositing. With Moho's excellent Layer Comps system, it's much easier to work with image sequences than with a bunch of movie files, especially if you want to process or manipulate the layer comps in the compositing program (like AE or Fusion.)

For the editor, I do prefer working with movie files. Typically, I render the final composited scenes as a movie file for editing. But, as mentioned earlier, many editing programs will accept images sequences and treat them as 'clips'. I think working with a movie file in editing is more efficient, though.

When I was making the HLF animation, I used Virtual Dub to batch process image sequences to movie files. In fact, I used this system to render two versions of each clip--a low-res compressed version of the clips for editing, and a high-res version of the clips for final output. Once I had the Virtual Dub presets setup, it went pretty quickly and smoothly. The different versions of the files shared names so, when I was ready to output my final edit, I just swapped the files for the editor.

Lately, I've been using either AE's batch render or Vegas' Batch Render Script to output movies from Moho rendered frames. I think you can do the same with Premiere but I haven't used it for batch rendering myself. (Might have to look into that.)

The codec I've been using it MagicYUV, which so far has been working well for me. It's a modern lossless codec that can write to AVI or MOV. It's a commercial codec but I think it's still selling for about $14.

Last night, I noticed that Vegas now has native ProRes support (called MAGIX ProRes). I'm going to give that a shot this weekend.

At work, I typically render image sequences from Moho and, whether I'm compositing or not, I use AE to output the frames to a .mov using the free Avid DNxHD codec. (Editorial is done in another area.) Personally, I don't think DNxHD looks all that great compared to ProRes--to me, DNxHD seems to have AA problems with intense colors and contrast which I don't see with ProRes, and sometimes I need to compensate by reducing intensity and blurring edges slightly. But I should point out that neither of these two is lossless unless you use the uncompressed mode. At home, I haven't seen this problem with MagicYUV (probably because it's a lossless codec).
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Little Yamori » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:45 am

Wow Greenlaw,

Thanks so much. I'm copying your post to a doc file for reference. Thanks so much. Sorry if I'm a bit slow on this front, but if I'm understanding everything correctly it seems best to do something like this;

1.) Export from Moho in a png image sequence

2.) Use something like AE to Batch render to a Movie file

3.) Edit movie file in editing software like Premiere pro

Am I close ?
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Greenlaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:35 am

That's pretty much it.

Normally, I'm also doing other things to the animation in AE (like improving the animation, adding effects, or compositing elements from other art and animation programs,) but sometimes I'll just use AE to make the movie files from the Moho image sequences for the editing program. AE gives you way more options for movie files than Moho does, for choosing containers, codecs, and optimizations. AE will also let you save custom render templates for various uses, much like how the Moho Exporter does, so you don't have to keep setting things up.

I'll write more info in a bit...busy at the moment.
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Greenlaw » Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:17 am

The quick way to make movie files with AE: Import the sequence, drag it to the render window, click Render.

More details:

Use Import Multiple Files when you're bringing in several image sequences from Moho. It's faster this way.

Make sure AE imported the footage with the proper fps. The default is set in Preferences so if it's different from your rendered sequence, you'll want to change it. If you've already imported footage using the wrong fps interpretation, you can change the fps for the first import (probably 24 fps) using Interpret Footage Main, then set Remember Interpretion. Now you can select all the imports and using Apply Interpretation to change the fps for all the footage at once.

You'll want to set the defaults for the movie format using the Templates under Editing. This way, the proper format will be selected automatically when you drop files to the render window.

Typically, I'll drag one file to the render window and set the destination folder, and then drag the rest to the render. This way, they all get written to the same folder. (If that's what you want. Typically, I like to save all the editorial files to the same folder--to me, it's just easier that way when editing.)

Additional tips:

AE has a really good motion blur effect called Timewarp. It's not as fast as ReelSmart Motion Blur, but IMO it's a lot faster than using Moho's motion blur. For best results, you might apply it only to your character passes--it's faster that way; but if you have camera motion, you may as well apply it to a precomp of everything. (If you can afford it, I highly recommend RSMB. It's faster and usually looks better than AE's Timewarp. Sometimes, RSMB's can produce weird artifacts though, in which case I might fall back on Timewarp.)

If you layer out your Moho output for AE using Layer Comps, you also have the option to use depth and other blurring effects in AE, which is generally much quicker than doing it Moho. (You can see a lot of both of these effects used in the HLF titles I did a while back.)

Sometimes I'll tweak the Moho animation using AE's Puppet Warp and Liquify tools. These are similar to the tools in Photoshop except they are keyframeable. If you've layered things out from Moho, using this tools let you apply additional 'mesh-warpy' animation on top of what you created in Moho.

AE also allows you to add a lot of cool effects and processing to your animations, like light rays, particles, etc., that are quite different from what's available in Moho.

Another reason to pass through AE is a free third party plugin called OLM Smoother. Occasionally, Moho's anti-aliasing quality isn't good enough so I'll run the problem renders through this plugin to clean it up. Smoother often does a good job softening edges without unintentionally blurring the rest of the image. I had to use this on some of my Thighsander segments in King Julien before the Moho developers fixed the Image Texture noise problem in ASP 11. (It works fine now in Moho 12 Pro, btw.)
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Re: Moho And Premiere Pro; best practices?

Post by Little Yamori » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:54 pm

Saved these last 2 posts from you too.

Thanks for your valuable information, you're an encyclopedia! :mrgreen:

I have a steep learning curve ahead, but all your input has cleared a path for me.

Thanks a ton.

LY
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