I created a light in After Effects. My preview works as expected:

enter image description here

But if I render my composition as a mp4 file, I get these strange gradations errors:

enter image description here

I've tried every option in the comp settings, but the error still appears.

What I can do to get rid of it?

  • Interesting question. I was always thinking that was a upload problem.I did a little research and I found this explanation by Grayscalegorilla. Maybe that will help.
    – Raquel Fantasia
    Jan 14, 2015 at 12:37

1 Answer 1


That's called: Banding. About Color Banding from Wikipedia:

Colour banding is a problem of inaccurate colour presentation in computer graphics. In 24 bit colour modes, 8 bits per channel is usually considered sufficient to render images in Rec. 709 or sRGB. However, in some cases there is a risk of producing abrupt changes between shades of the same colour. For instance, displaying natural gradients (like sunsets, dawns or clear blue skies) can show minor banding.

In your case I assume that this is a compression issue. Movie containers like: mov, avi or mp4 only can have 8bit, but the preview is in 16bit or 32bit. If you render a image format that supports 16bit or 32bit (preferably exr, tga, tiff) instead of a video you should see no difference to your preview screenshot.

The simplest way to avoid banding is to add grain to your video.

  • One option is to use generated grain shipped by default with After Effects. Just typing Add Grain in the Effects & Presets window and apply this effect to your final comp. Note: A Intensity value of 0.37 or 0.4 should be enough to remove the banding and makes the effect not noticeable.
  • Another option is to use scanned film grain from real cameras
  • or and make your white slightly impure
    – joojaa
    Jan 4, 2015 at 21:44
  • Thanks @joojaa! Do you mean a little bit more greyish?
    – p2or
    Jan 4, 2015 at 21:59
  • no off color as in little bluish yellow or
    – joojaa
    Jan 4, 2015 at 22:00
  • @joojaa Yes can help, but depends on the footage you have and how much you can influence the appearance of the video. The advantage of adding grain is that it helps in all cases.
    – p2or
    Jan 4, 2015 at 22:18
  • sure but you can combine it with grain to minimize grainyness.
    – joojaa
    Jan 4, 2015 at 22:35

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