Problems with PNG images

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Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:50 pm

Greetings Moho forum,

My first post and it's with a weird problem hopefully somebody has got an idea why it's happening.

I've been changing the backgrounds on my animations ( made with anime studio ) to PNG images because I wanted to use the noise grain feature in the project settings without the "noise" moving around when it's rendered to MP4.

What I do is set the noise feature to about 30 then hide all the moving parts and export one frame to PNG with the export animations feature. Then I bring the image back in and set it as the background.

All was going well but now for some reason when I bring back the PNG image it's smaller than the picture window so I have to enlarge it to fit. This means that the image becomes less clear and the strokes aren't as well defined. Also with the noise grain effect it can look more blotchy when enlarged.

I've tried it on some animations and they come back at the same size but on some they don't. All the project and export settings are exactly the same and there are no camera zooms that would account for the shrinkage. It's getting really frustrating and I now import images whilst holding my breath !

Any ideas ? If not to fix this problem then is there a way to get a grainy effect on vector layers ?

Thank you.

ps. I'm using Anime Studio pro 10
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Greenlaw » Wed Jan 31, 2018 9:38 pm

If you want a group (containing vectors or images) to have noise, try opening the group's Layer Settings and dial up Noise. The Noise should be static, that is, not animated or moving. Note that the noise pattern is relative to the camera view, so if the elements in the group are moving, or the camera is panning, the noise pattern may appear to slide.

If you want the noise to 'stick' to moving layers or groups (i.e., track with the object,) it's better to render out a noise layer and insert that image to the group or bind it to the root bone of the character. Apply the noise using the preferred blending mode and use a group mask to mask out the noise outside the edges. When you're, you might set this to Hide In Editing View so it's not distracting...this will still allow the effect to render.

Normally, I would do this effect in a compositing program like Fusion or After Effects. Obviously, you can do this in Moho but these programs offer a lot more control and flexibility for this sort of thing. (FYI, the basic Fusion program is free for non-commercial use.)

As a matter of fact, I recently had to animate a character that had a gradient lighting effect that ran over the entire character. To do this, I made a rectangle with a gradient fill and parented that to a bone that was set for independent rotation, which was then parented to the character's root. This allowed the gradient to track with the character's position but not rotate. I output only the rectangle in its own layer comp, and in AE I comp it over the character using the character's alpha channel as a mask. (I probably used Screen or Soft Light as the blending mode.) This worked really well and, once set, I could forget about it and focus on animation. Just replace the gradient I used with the noise pattern.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:35 pm

That was quick, thank you.

Unfortunately I don't think I can set the same sort of noise from the layer settings. The only options I can see are on the vectors tab and are for outlines and fills with the fills meaning the colours don't touch the strokes.The one I've been using from the project settings is more like the white noise on televisions and it puts a grain on things. I might be looking in the wrong place... I hope I am because that sounds like just what I need.

What I was doing was what you suggested and rendering out the layers with the grain effect and then brining them back in but they're shrinking when they return and aren't as good/clear as the originals.

I just did a test, made a new animation and put a yellow square in the window then exported one frame as a PNG it came back the right size when I imported it. I then went to one of my badly behaved animations deleted everything and put in a yellow square on a new layer. I exported that and when it returned it had shrunk !

I checked all the settings for the project and animation export and they were exactly the same so it can't have anything to do with the amount of things in the image. Something's gone weird.

Nice tip with the gradient lighting effect I will bear that in mind for the future.
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:07 am

The plot thickens...

I did some more testing and opened one of the badly behaved animations with Anime Studio Debut 10 and the images still shrank and the ones that came back the correct size worked fine too. So no change there !

I've now managed to reduce the shrinkage by putting the project setting dimensions to 1920 x 1080 instead of 1280 x 720. This has made the enlargement I have to do go from 1.8 to 1.14 so I'm not losing too much quality now.

So I'm not quite so frustrated but it's still a mystery why this happens !
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby synthsin75 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:04 pm

Tsongo wrote:All was going well but now for some reason when I bring back the PNG image it's smaller than the picture window so I have to enlarge it to fit. This means that the image becomes less clear and the strokes aren't as well defined. Also with the noise grain effect it can look more blotchy when enlarged.

I've tried it on some animations and they come back at the same size but on some they don't. All the project and export settings are exactly the same and there are no camera zooms that would account for the shrinkage.


Make sure you don't have Render At Half Dimensions enabled in the export window.
If you're putting the imported PNG into any group, make sure all parent layers have no scaling.
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:53 am

Thanks for the advice but that's not the reason as it's a random thing that happens with the same settings as perfect sized ones and the most annoying part is I can't understand why it's suddenly started happening.

I did get a nasty surprise yesterday when an imported image went into a character with bones by mistake and finished up badly twisted on frame 1 !
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby synthsin75 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:21 pm

Maybe try saving the image from the ctrl+R render window instead?
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:48 pm

I didn't know you could do that so I just loaded up one of the animations that shrinks and saved it from the render window and it shrank again !

Today I saved a background and because I set the project to the biggest widescreen setting before exporting, it decided to come back too big. Same settings, a scene in between two that shrink made one after the other and of the same sort of area. It's a total mystery but too big is preferable because shrinking gives better quality than enlarging.

I made these animations last year and I'm in the process of refining them so have no idea what or if I did something different at the time but I'm sure I didn't change any settings in the middle of what I was doing as there was no need for it.

However I'm really happy to know that you can save images like that it will makes things much easier, thank you.
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby synthsin75 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:43 pm

Glad that helps. I'd probably have to see the file, with just enough to show the problem, to troubleshoot it any further.
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:44 pm

Thanks for the investigation offer but I think for now I'll just cross my fingers every time I export and import PNG images. If I find the reason I'll be straight back here so nobody else has this hassle.

One thing's for sure, I wont be using the export animation for this sort of thing any more. That also means that I wont ever again forget it's set to PNG, render an animation, walk away for a while and then return to discover my Anime Studio file is full of individual PNG images !
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:16 am

I've solved the problem ! Not perfectly and it's a bit of a cheat but it works.

Change the project settings and export the image as a 1080p, change the project settings to 480p, import the image ( now bigger than the screen ), change settings to whatever you want ( I use 720p) and reduce it slightly to fit.

This might give a clue as to why it happens, perhaps when my computer imports it shrinks the image to fit in the screen and gets a bit over enthusiastic with the shrinkage. I don't know but for now I'm happy.

Another clue could be that my render view screen keeps changing size and is unresponsive or at best erratic with project settings changes. Set them to 1080p and it stays small, restart anime studio and it's big ?

Hope this can help anybody that hits the same problem in the future.
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Re: Problems with PNG images

Postby Tsongo » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:48 am

I've finally worked out why it happens !

It all depends on whether you zoomed in frame 0 when making the scene.

I drew a circle and exported and imported the image and it came back the same size.

I zoomed in frame zero exported and imported and it came back much bigger than the screen size.

I zoomed out the image and it came back smaller.

So be warned when making a background PNG image that you want to fit the whole screen without having to adjust it... Don't alter the zoom on frame 0.
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