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I am fairly new to Premiere Pro and I have been having an issue related to exporting my videos. All of the videos I am working on right now are motion graphics/animation videos. For these projects I create high quality images in Flash, export them as PNGs, and then use those images in Premiere Pro to create animations/motion graphics. The issue I'm having is that no matter what export settings I use, some of the images have obvious pixelation on them in the final result, and the colors seem to get slightly darker, even though they look perfect in the editor.

As an example, here is a side by side comparison on the image in the editor, versus a screenshot from the final exported video:

enter image description here

You will probably have to zoom in slightly to see the pixelation, but it's especially noticeable in thered are on the calendar image, on the orange circle attached to the email, and on the awning and sign over the shop entrance.

The pixelation issue seems to be most obvious with the red/orange/yellow colors, but I have also seen it with other high saturation colors and some dark blues.

Does anyone have any advice about why this might be happening and how I could fix it?

I've recently been reading about issues that can be caused by having "broadcast illegal colors". Could this be related?

I know that this issue could be occurring due to my export settings and sequence settings, but no matter what ones I use this still seems to occur. The primary export settings I've used are H.264 with Vimeo 1080p as the preset, since that is where I'm uploading, but I also tried a few others and didn't see any differences. For sequence settings I have also tried a few options including DNX 1080p, AVC-Intra 100 1080p, and Custom settings, but haven found any success.

I also read that I should try exporting with DNX HQ 1080p 29.97, but I don't know what to do with an MXF file, and some of the research Ive done shows Vimeo sometimes has trouble with them, so any advice there would also be appreciated.

Anyway, I think I've rambled enough for now. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated, and I'd be glad to answer any questions about the project settings.

Thanks!

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There are 2 things causing this issue:

  1. Chroma sub-sampling. This is explained pretty well in this answer.
  2. Compression artifacts - For example, the mark above the "1"on the email notification is due to the way H.264 compresses data. This is known as "ringing" and is quite common with compression.

Some options for dealing with it include:

  1. Avoid using saturated reds and blues especially in areas of high color contrast
  2. Use a codec or codec settings that don't exhibit ringing (easier said than done when you're uploading to a video service that may recompress it)
  3. Use settings to reduce how noticeable it is, such as turning on motion blur when exporting, so when things move, they exhibit softer edges

Unfortunately, the reality is that TV is terrible for pure motion graphics. The subsampling that occurs makes it impossible to have nice crisp lines in saturated colors. And unfortunately, most of the codecs that work on all platforms are made to deliver TV and movies to users.

  • Thank you for the detailed answer. So I guess the easiest/most effective solution would be to use less saturated colors, or to decrease the contrast in the scenes overall? Would you have any suggestions about codecs that may work? – David Silverman May 26 '17 at 12:43
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    Re codecs: it depends on what you're doing with the video. Part of the job of motion graphics is working within the limitations of the medium. Most delivery formats, aside from theatrical release are going to compress the video to a greater or lesser (usually greater) extent, and most–if not all–will be seen at 4:2:0. So you need to design things that aren't going to turn to custard when the chroma is subsampled. – stib May 26 '17 at 14:24
  • Thank you very much, but I do have another question. What does the 4:2:0 you mention refer to? Do you have any resources you would recommend regarding the creation of motion graphics and/or understanding chroma subsampling better? This project is probably a bit too far along for me to make any major changes, and the issues are pretty minimal anyway, but I'd love to be more prepared for my next project like this. Also, sorry for my ignorance, but normally I only design static images for the web and computers in general, so I'm not used to having these particular issues. – David Silverman May 26 '17 at 14:51
  • @DavidSilverman check out this article on Wikipedia about chroma subsampling. Basically, the codecs will downscale the red and blue channels, essentially making them 1/4 the resolution of the green channel during compression. On decompression they get upscaled, but end up looking more blurry because of it. – user1118321 May 26 '17 at 17:41

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