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Animation Codec Settings

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The guide lines for codec settings list recommended settings for mpeg2, windows media, and h264, but not for animation. Any suggestions? Straight or Matted? Number of key frames?

 

Jim

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The Animation codec is a much simpler beast. It doesn't have many settings. I believe it's always "all keyframes". The Quaulity setting mainly controls the behavior of subtle color gradients (banding may occur if you reduce the quality setting too much). At max quality setting it's lossless. Due to the way it compresses, it works best for synthetic content with many flat surfaces (i.e., flat text or footage generated from AE or some 3D renderings). It will work for other content as well, but the bitrate will quickly skyrocket for more "natural" or camera-originated content.

 

One key advantage is that it supports a true alpha channel. Using a "matted" (premultiplied by black) setting has a slight performance adnvantage, but you may just as well use "straight" for all practical purposes.

 

Note that using the alpha merely as a keyer for photographic content is inefficient. Instead, you may want to use H.264 and keep the key color background. Then use the WATCHOUT color keyer to key it out at runtime. Another option is to run two video streams in parallell - one with the "mask" and one with the regular content. Then use the "Masked by layer above" feature of WATCHOUT to control the transparency. This allows you to accomplish a fully graded alpha mask even using codecs such as MPEG-2 or H.264.

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Thanks, Mike. Gives me a lot to think on about the best waying to generate alpha channels for photo style footage.

 

Jim

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