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I am just playing arround with the new trapcode suite in after effects working ina linearized color space for a better control over color and effects.

Somehow I get really bad rendering on parts of my footage where its supposed to be more smooth.

enter image description here

On the screenshot I am using trapcode mir for the fllo, tao for the spiral thing and shine for the light rays. If you take a closer look at the sprial geometry you can already see the jagged gradient where its supposed to be smoother. I am also working in 32Bit soo I don't get it.

  • I'm not familiar enough with this workflow to give a real answer. Perhaps you can tell a little bit about: how you convert your linear image back to your monitor gamma. (I can't imagine that you have a way of monitoring the linear signal) And through what bit depth are you looking at the image? You can work in 32bit but if your computer screen resolves 8bit it's quite possible you see banding that's not really present. – Remco Hekker Dec 15 '15 at 22:24
  • @RemcoHekker Actually Linear Workflow is too complicated to explain in a comment. You should google it, there are a bunch of helpful articles in the web about it. I am using an 27" iMac late 2013 with Retina Display I couldn't find information about what the monitor is able to display. Everything I did to make use of the linear workflow is enabling the 32 Bit Color Depth, defining sRGB as my working Color Space and checked "linearize my Color Space". – Marten Zander Dec 16 '15 at 13:13
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I use the trapcode suite as well, the issue has more to do with the fact that even though you may be working in an sRGB workspace at 32 Bit; your monitor output is 8 bit. 10 Bit monitors are available but unless you forked up a lot of cash - you are viewing 8-bit.

The way to solve gradient problems like this - with this as well as any other gradient in AE/Premiere/PS; is to add an adjustment layer to the top of your project; on top of all layers. Add the standard NOISE filter. Check monochromatic (or un check use color noise) - you don't want color. Gaussian sometimes looks better; it's one of two options on the NOISE pop-up.

Typically; I use a setting of 2 - 4%. But it really depends on your comp settings. If I'm working with RED 5k footage I typically have to do 1-2%.

Lastly; honestly I almost always add NOISE to all the work I do; even if it's just 1% on a nested timeline for output. It solves a lot of aliasing problems and is a standard trick in post many people use.

Hope that helps.

  • Out of interest: how does the added noise affect the compression if you're exporting to h.264 or the like? I can imagine it wouldn't help. – stib Dec 26 '15 at 1:36
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You'll need to play with the parameters to get the desired look. Some noise is, to me, a nice look- otherwise your output will look too clean. All the filmmakers now shooting digital, whether on Alexa, RED, etc; they all add some noise in post. I own a RED EPIC; The camera has such a low noise floor; that without adding some it looks a little flat, plasticesque.

A better way of looking at it is consider the noise you add "fine grain". Use monochromatic. Not color. Use Uniform, not gaussian. You will need to adjust the % of noise added, based on your frame size. 5k needs a tad more than 1080p. But usually 2-3% will take care of most gradient problems, not be distracting in any way, and lastly; will give your output a bit more "life".

Finally, your output workflow is a whole other issue, but noise shouldn't drastically change the overall quality when added at such a low threshold. If you added 50%; yes your compression would be horrible because of the h264 encoding process and how it uses frames past and prior to build the current frame. But at 2-3%; you are not losing much, and certainly not losing what to the naked eye anyone would notice.

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If the above render is a RAM preview, the default preview quality may be the culprit: Preferences > Color Management Quality > More Accurate.

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