Animation Rendering?

Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 12:14 Uhr
I create a lot of animation which is in the form of 16 bit PNG images. Vegas Pro 13 has no problem loading and playing these images as an animation. What I want to do though is render them to a video file so that I can use them in other projects without having to keep the PNG files around and as a way to archive them as a backup in case something happens to the images (eg disk storage failure.)

What would be the best format to render these animation in order to preserve quality? The original PNG images are HD (1920x1080) and I want to preserve that aspect ratio. I have Cineform but never really used it as I don't use much camera footage. Would this be the best codec to render to? I'd prefer a lossless format that didn't produce huge file sizes.

Any advice appreciated.


TheHappyFriar schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 12:36 Uhr
PNG would still be the best imho. TGA's are going to increase in size and get no advantage. Rendering as a movie will require you have a codec for that container, neither of which PNG requires. If the backup media starts to get corrupted you could loose the whole movies instead of a couple images.
Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 13:20 Uhr
Ok, thanks. They don't take up too much space. What I've found with Vegas is that it's great for animations where there aren't camera pans but where the camera moves during an animation I sometimes get flickering and a juddering effect. I've tried disabling resampling but this doesn't always help. This tends to happen when I use the animations as part of a larger project. If I render each animation as a separate project I don't seem to have this problem.

I thought that if I found a way to transfer the PNGs to video which doesn't have these problems then I could use this video for compositing in more complex Vegas projects instead of those problematic PNG sequences.
rs170a schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 13:35 Uhr
I render my animations to MXF format which I'm quite happy with from a quality and size standpoint.
As THF recommends, I do keep the original images on a back up drive.

Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 14:05 Uhr
I've been rendering to MFX too. I use the settings I created the animation in (eg HD 24fps). It seems fine but I wondered if there was a lossless format I could use.
rs170a schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 14:47 Uhr
As a test, I used this Test chart, rendered it out in MXF format and then compared the two while looking at the scopes in Vegas. The difference was negligible so I stopped worrying about it.

Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 15:01 Uhr
Thanks Mike, that's very reassuring research. When you render to MFX do you render to the image size and FPS you created the original animation in?

I create 1920x1080 16bit PNG animations at 24FPS and render this to HD 24FPS MFX. My thinking is that it's best to stick to the original format as best as possible when rendering to video but maybe upscaling would be better?
Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 15:20 Uhr
Interestingly, Cineform can import and process JPG sequences but that means batch converting all my PNG's to JPG format with the consequent reduction of quality that entails. I wonder why Cineform doesn't import PNG and other lossless formats?
videoITguy schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 16:14 Uhr
Spectralis - interesting Cineform JPG?

I am not sure what you are getting at in the workflow you are suggesting. Cineform is a digital intermediate codec. Here is how I would use it with complex compositing, titling, green screen and the like.
1) Source is created in uncompressed .avi, or .png sequences, or animation .mov for best original...
2) Step 2 rendering for a digital intermdiate for the least generational loss ( 5 gens possible) - render the original of (1) to a Cineform event from the VegasPro timeline.
3) Final steps for project including these items above - render to final output destination and purpose.
musicvid10 schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 16:22 Uhr
They're going to end up as 8 bit anyway, so convert to 8 bit PNG is my suggestion.
That said, if you want a video archive, what's wrong with Quicktime MOV PNG? It should be lossless.
Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 16:53 Uhr
PNG 8 is equivalent in colour palette to GIF which is no good for animation especially if the animation uses transparency.

I tried rendering an individual animation track (with resample disabled) to the timeline with Cineform as suggested but I'm getting flickering during the camera panning which doesn't seem to happen when I render to MFX. I'm referring to camera panning in the original animation not in Vegas.

I don't know why the Cineform codec causes flickering on individual animation files while MFX doesn't. I also batch converted this animation to JPG, loaded and converted it in the latest version of Cineform Premium but the same problem with flickering occurred so I think it must be something to do with the Cineform codec. Unless I can work out how to fix the flickering I'll stick with MFX for now which seems to reliably render to the timeline without flickering.

Chienworks schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 17:19 Uhr
I would presume that "8 bits" is 8 bits per channel, RGBA, so 32 bits total.
Spectralis schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 17:44 Uhr
Perhaps you're right and I'm misunderstanding, but I've tested rendering animation to 8 bit PNG and to 16 bit PNG and there is definitely a drop in colour range and consequently detail. I've just done another render test now in Octane Render on the animation in question to reconfirm this.

In order to render HD in hours and not days in Octane Render I drop the resolution from 2000 to 500. This speeds up render times significantly but rendering to 8 bit rather than 16 bit PNG doesn't noticeably alter the render time. I get a much better quality render at 16 bit even if this is lost during video compositing - although I'm not sure that it is.
musicvid10 schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 18:11 Uhr
"I would presume that "8 bits" is 8 bits per channel, RGBA, so 32 bits total."

That is correct; same # of colors as ANY uncompressed format -- bitmap, tiff, psd, etc., etc. Also, I mentioned that you will be delivering 8 bit video for playback, unless it's going to DCP.

It also turns out that MOV PNG is 10 bits per channel, same as Cineform or most other lossless codecs. So merely preserving the PNG compression would seem your best option if you're going to store as video rather than images. Far better than recompressing to a different format.
TheHappyFriar schrieb am 16.05.2014 um 19:29 Uhr
I regularly use 3d animations in Vegas and many times would use QT PNG format. It takes up no more space vs straight PNG files, just more convenient to use.

I normally render out my animations at either 1920x1080 or 1/2 that size (especially when time is important). I don't have issues in playback and nobody's ever mentioned.

To me the biggest issue when rendering out to a movie container is that you can't easily change the playback speed of the animation. With a container you're normally locked in at the playback speed the container is rendered at. With an image sequence you can choose any playback speed you want. You can also easily import just the section you want instead of trimming it down before use.