I'm a complete beginner to After Effects and Premier Pro. When I typed directly into After Effects and then did a "Best Settings" render my text looks a bit pixelated. Is this the best quality AE can do or would it be better to import the text in another format for high quality? Transparent TIF for example? Is there another thing I should look at in the render settings to ensure the type renders crisp?
It depends on how bad the aliasing is, but a very slight fast blur can sometimes smooth a layer that looks too digital. I most often use this on thin linework, but sometimes type as well.
The quality of the text is going to depend on the quality of the font. There are two types of fonts, bitmap and vector.
Bitmap fonts basically have pictures of each letter and information about how they should be spaced, each font size that is officially supported has its own picture. Vector fonts are a mathematical description of the characters and can be resized smoothly.
If you are using a bitmap font and not using a sufficient font point size, then you will get a pixelated image. Try using other fonts and/or adjusting the point size to find one that isn't pixelated. It should be perfectly possible to render fonts smoothly in After Effects directly.
I'm not using bitmap fonts. I only use TrueType or OpenType. In this case the font used was Arial. Dec 26, 2013 at 21:21
@Ryan - Are you using a higher point size or using the % size adjustment to make it bigger? The font is rasterized on the layer based on your point size and then scaled based on the layer size. If you are adjusting the layer size with a small font point size, you would still get pixelization.– AJ Henderson ♦Dec 26, 2013 at 21:31
I used Font Size only. Dec 26, 2013 at 21:34
@Ryan - are you able to reproduce the problem in a project file you could share? I'll mess around a bit tonight and see if I can figure out how to reproduce your problem and fix it. I know I've done smooth fonts in AE natively, but I forget exactly what was involved. I don't remember anything special, but maybe I'm forgetting something.– AJ Henderson ♦Dec 26, 2013 at 21:44
About to leave the office today but I can reproduce it in the morning Dec 26, 2013 at 21:55
I suspect you have the view window set at less than 100% scale. Your quality setting should match your view screen scale. For example, if your view screen is at 50% you should set the quality to half. If the screen is at 49% or 51% the text will look jagged (aliased). The Auto setting on the quality drop down is useful to keep the closest quality setting to your scale.
If you paste text directly on the screen without creating a text box first, it will be very pixelated. Cut the same text and place it in a text box and it becomes much sharper.