Export without broken colors? (best export settings)

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Export without broken colors? (best export settings)

Postby Rnoir » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:07 pm

So this is export thing is driving me mad. I want to export my animation sequence into a video file but I cannot get it to look right (the only way I found to look it right makes the file size to be 100th times bigger than it's counterparts, so there has to be another way).
Here I took screenshots of some frames of the various exports I made:

01 - The Legacy Quicktime (animation format) has all the originals colors untouched. Yet it's file size is RIDICULOUSLY BIG.
Image

02 - The Legacy Quicktime (MPEG-4 format) somehow generates a higher contrast in the values of the images, making also the colors much more intense
Image

03 - Applying the "NTSC safe colors" to the Legacy Quicktime (MPEG-4 format) darkens everything in comparison with the original colors
Image

04 - The MP4 (h.264 format) bleaches everything, making the darker values on the colored areas quite clear.
Image

If the differences are hard to notice, please download the four images and look at them one by one and you'll tell.
So, basically, what are your suggested export options in order to retain the original colors of your project without the video file size killing you?
Last edited by Rnoir on Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Export without broken colors

Postby slowtiger » Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:14 pm

Usually video files created in AS/Moho go into a video edit program, so they need to be best quality, and file size will be big. This is normal behaviour.

If you must create your compressed broadcast video files in AS/Moho, h.264 is the best choice right now, as all video platforms accept it easily. Of course it changes the colours, as you correctly observed.

When I export from my video editor, I can apply a filter during export, where I increase saturation and contrast a bit and decrease brightness, which helps to avoid h.264's bleached look a bit.
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Re: Export without broken colors? (best export settings)

Postby Greenlaw » Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:35 pm

I would avoid outputting compressed from Moho. I usually see color shifts and other issues with it, especially with .mov.

If you want to output a movie file with its original quality, you'll need to use uncompressed or use a lossless codec, or choose PNG as your codec. That or output an image sequence using a format like PNG, and then compile the footage in another program with better options for compressed movies. (This second choice is what I do, even when I'm not rendering for compositing.)

If you're rendering for Vimeo or YouTube, there is another issue you may run into. Even if you render the movie file with perfect color and detail, you may notice a shift in the black levels after the file has been uploaded. If so, you need to adjust the levels for the movie. When I output my movie files for Vimeo or YouTube, I use Vegas Pro with a Levels effect applied at the project level. Inside the Levels effect there is a preset called Computer RGB To Studio RGB. The rendered result will look washed out when played locally but it will look correct after you upload the file to Vimeo or YT.

Image

This adjustment can be reproduced in any video editor or compositing program with a levels filter or tool, but you should only apply it last and only for the 'online streaming' version of your movie.

For final output, I typically use Sony AVC, which is a variant of H264 in an .mp4 container. This is good for streaming like YouTube or Vimeo, and for playing on other computers. For delivery to a client, I usually render to ProRes 422 or higher, or DNxHD .mov files.

For my own editorial and archival footage, I've been using MagicYUV, which is a fast mathematically lossless codec, in .avi or .mov. After installing the codec, I can select it in Moho when I choose 'AVI for Windows' (as opposed to just 'AVI',) or 'Legacy QuickTime'. (FYI, .avi works better than .mov in Vegas but the .mov verson seems to work fine in Premiere.) I highly recommend MagicYUV. There is a free version but even the 'pro' version with high-end options is only $15 right now, and a real bargain.

TBH, I don't render movie files straight out of Moho. I generally find it faster and more reliable to output PNG image sequences, and then compile the frames elsewhere. This way, if Moho chokes in the middle of a big gnarly render, I only need to render the bad or missing frames, not an entire movie file again. Also, fewer resources are used to render an image sequence, which makes it easier and faster for Moho to finish the task.

Note: I'm running Moho on Windows but the movie options should be more or less the same in Moho for Mac. I think the Mac version may have better Quicktime options.
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Re: Export without broken colors? (best export settings)

Postby Rnoir » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:07 am

Thank you for the tips! These will come really handy.
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Re: Export without broken colors? (best export settings)

Postby moyo » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:40 pm

Wow, very nice tutorials, thanks for sharing. I've been looking for it a very long long time. Cool!
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