Loss of Quality on Movie Export

I’m experiencing a serious loss of quality when I’m exporting my projects. The GIF versions of my works have more accurate colors and crisper lines by a huge margin. It’s to the point where one of the latest clips that I made is practically unwatchable, at least compared to how it looks in-program.

I’m about to bite the bullet and try to find a way to compile my image sequence in a video editor, but I’m having trouble even doing that because my frame duration is an odd number (0.06666667s, or 0.067s since most don’t have enough digits after the decimal).

Is there any way to increase the quality of video exports? Either through a plug in or what have you? I really prefer editing frames in the Pencil2d timeline, but I’m not going to if it will be all for naught.

I have never experienced a loss of quality, like you describe it.

My best (and only) guess is that you gif exports are done 1:1, while your mp4 exports must have resolution that is bigger than the camera field, e.g. the camera is 800x600 and the export is 1280x720. If that’s not the case, I have no idea what’s going on.

Yeah, I just checked the camera resolution and export resolution and they’re both identical. I’m not sure what’s happening but the MP4 version is having some really smeary/pixelated lines and the color contrast and saturation seems heavily skewed too.

What about the player? If the gif is played as 1:1, and the mp4 is played in full screen, that could give some effect.

My screen is 2560x1440, and sometimes 1920x1080 looks odd here.

Yeah, I tried two different media players (VLC and w/e windows default is). Nearly the same result, but I think VLC has more accurate color from what I can see. I just scaled down the GIF version and MP4 version to the same size on-screen as well to see if there’s much of a difference between the two. I’m still getting some really jagged and smeary lines compared to the gif version.

@GUYWHOWANTSTODIEALLT This sounds like a difficult issue, but possibly might be related to the video size and fps. also the 0.666667s comment makes me think you’re not using a proper video editor which could over complicate what is usually a 3 step process.

To properly help you can you provide some information?

  1. What is your Camera size. This is objectively your final resolution.
  • Note: Just in case you must NOT change the size of your animation using the export dialog size option. Only change the size of the video using the camera layer, otherwise this will distort your work because there is no up-sampling algorithm used. This option is there to help upscale videos when using vector layers only or downscaling previews for quick editorial work. If you want to avoid pixelation or pixel crunching, don’t use it.
  1. What is your current FPS? This will also affect how other programs can take the video. sometimes using non-standard specs will have an adverse effect on video players and video editors.

  2. Make sure your camera size has either 16:9 aspect ratios for High definition or 4:3 for Standard definitions. If you make 1920 x 1079, this will mess up the export guaranteed.

  3. Video “quality” is formed by many factors. One of the most prominent is resolution / size and this depends entirely on the broadcast targets (e.g film, tv, web, etc). If you animate at 1080p, you can’t expect it to work later for 4K resolutions no matter what you do. Not even AI’s can help us there yet. So if you want a “high quality” video you need to animate at the highest possible size from the start. Period. This isn’t even a Pencil2D thing. This is something everyone has to do regardless of software.

  • A factor which is often unknown unless you’re a pro, lies with bit channel “depth”. Since Pencil2D is a simple tool, we don’t have the functionality for creating pixel-rich images (e.g 16-32bit color images), so by default all images exported form Pencil2D are assumed to be 8bit in color depth. (this means that RGBA image channels can only hold 255 values each, while 16 bit can hold up to 65545 values, effectively holding “millions of colors”)

  • Another factor that’s also overlook except for pros is color calibration, this requires you to calibrate your own equipment and use these color profiles across your image creation software. Again as Pencil2D is simple it is assumed that images created with Pencil2D will hold your default monitor color profile, which is usually an sRGB v4 ICC color profile of sorts. This will also vary according to your Graphics card.

  1. GIF actually provides a limited palette as its meant for web. So please export using either PNG or TIFF sequences only, these are tuned to hold at least 8bit channels.

  2. Use a professional video editor. No Apple iMove nor Windows Movie Maker. Try out hitfilm express, kdenlive, shotcut or even openshot (which is the most friendly). Any of these will allow you to import image sequences easily. But make sure that before you import the sequence, you create a new video editor project with the SAME FPS and Size resolution you had in Pencil2D, otherwise it will not hold the same “quality” not matter what you do.

Yeah I wound up trying a whole slew of editors and found one proper (Blender, as long as I have been putting it off for). Blender has proper frame rate adjustments thankfully. I’m gonna have to take the resolution thing to heart since I’ve been using a lot of different resolutions based on what I’m using as the source for my rotoscoping. I can’t say for certain that it’s the bit-depth that’s affecting it but that’s what I’m suspecting most currently. All colors seem mostly preserved, except for this particular neon green used for the outlines. It’s grayed when it’s exported as an MP4, but appears fine as a still TIFF or PNG (I have no idea why it would vary between those since they’re all working with 8-bit channels like you said). The only sort of workaround I’ve found is by rendering the sequence in Blender in a lossless MP4 format. Anything less than that and it seems to have the same effect as my original flawed export.

All in all, this has been a really weird issue. Thanks a ton for getting back to me as soon as you all have. The help is most certainly appreciated.

@GUYWHOWANTSTODIEALLT No problem. The only additional thing I can attempt to help out is, if you want, share privately your animation (PCLX) file or a derivative file and i’ll try to export from Pencil2D and edit with other video editors to try to map where the problem can be occurring.

In Blender you gotta be careful because they do have a color management system applied all the time and I think by default you get the “filmic” preset which does change colors a bit. You can change that to sRGB

Here’s the relevant manual page in case it helps you out: https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/2.82/render/color_management.html

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