render codecs

another question…
which codec gives the best quality of renders…or rather which one is the best? There are so many to choose from. Do some have greater advantages (or are better suited) than othes?

If you are just rendering, a PNG image sequence is the best. It compresses small and is lossless. For internet distribution, I like XviD, although H.264 looks really cool.

I like DivX best too. I’ll have to look at H.264.

MMOAdude, what do you use to assemble the png’s?

when rendering from blender DON’T choose avi codec and expect reasonable results

use a program like virutaldub to encode after you’ve rendered the entire animation

really…what’s the difference? My encodings during render with DivX look good.

The difference is that you can later recode more easily. Reencoding a series of losslessly-compressed PNG files results in better quality than reencoding an already-lossy-compressed DivX file.

As well, if you want to do post processing you want to do it over as clean a set of source images as possible. When you render post process effects and recompress the video, the DivX file with the new post effects that’s been recompressed will look terrible.

I use QuickTime Pro to seam together PNG’s. Then again, I’m a Mac guy so at some point a quicktime program enters my workflow, making quicktime my helper of choice. I’ve heard Good Things about virtualdub, but I’ve never used it.

I’ll try that…what’s a Mac :o

what’s a Mac

It’s the frontend of an Intosh.

%<

:open_mouth: … that’s better than the backend I suppose.

Anyway, I tried virtualdub. Result is a larger file that looks the same as the one done directly from Blender. My conclusion is unless you want/need the post-processing, just compress directly.

It might be larger because your compression settings are different between the two applications.

I agree with kattkieru that your compression should be done in a different program besides Blender when you need to make a video file, and I’m assuming that’s what you want to do. If you want to save each shot as a video file, and then do the post processing and editing on that later, than don’t save it as a video file. Save it as a PNG sequence. Every animation I do from individual shots to the final product, is a PNG sequence. From the final PNG sequence I then load up virtualdub or whatever I’m going to use to encode it and then make different compressed versions from there.

It’s much easier for Blender to work with image sequences when doing editing and compositing, and it’s also easy for other video applications to use them as well. It’s more cross platform.

Nope, same compression settings.

…If you want to save each shot as a video file, and then do the post processing and editing on that later, than don’t save it as a video file.

I hear an echo :smiley:

Thanks for all the feedback!

I tried rendering into a JPEG sequence and then compiling them into .mpg with Windows Movie Maker (but WMM sucks). I’m downloading virtualdub right now. But let me get a few thing straight…

  1. PNG is the best availible image render format?
  2. XviD/DivX is the best movie format?
  3. virtualdub can convert PNG to XviD?
    I have been working on a short film…I am hoping that this will give me good enough quality for a really good quality release.
    One other thing…when I have fooled around with panorama/widescreen I have had dificulty getting a feel for how the camera itself is set up (is there an official “widescreen” size or ratio or something? or is it a lense setting?

(1)
The whole point of rendering into a series of individual image files is to retain fidelity for processing. Jpeg is a lossy compression format, meaning that it discards some of your image data in order to reduce the file size.

Png is lossless, meaning that you get the exact same data out of a png file as you put in it. IMHO, png really is the best lossless compression currently available. It trumps GIF and TIFF (it’s compression is superior to LZW and its format is more flexible, well-defined, and easy to implement), and it of course beats any other uncompressed format (BMP, TGA, etc.)

AVI generally uses lossy compression. If you want to maintain high quality, you should work on your movie all the way to the end with either lossless compression or no compression at all. When you’re all done, the last step is to compress it into a lossy AVI, MOV, MPEG, etc.

(2) Yes.

(3) Yes.

Hope this helps.

thanks a lot! I’ll be working with this for a while, but my work will now look better

For final compression (for distribution, when you need lossy compression for smaller files) I find some descent settings are Cinepac for Quicktime, or Sorenson Video for AVI.
(This is based on my experience with DV video, not 3d rendering, though I’m sure it’d be simillar)

Ick. I hate Cinepac and Sorenson :). Use some kind of MP4 codec, both QuickTime and WMP and play them. That’s part of the reason why I’m interested in getting into using H.264 from now on, since all major video players can use it (especially the ones that are already installed in whatever operating system you use), and the compression is better than MP4, which is far better than the two you mentioned.

so what would you all say is the best “lossless” video format for the highest possible quality distributon?

AVI RAW.

All other video formats are lossy. DivX and Xvid are popular here… but Sorenson is also common.

In the end, just experiment. It takes very little time to actually encode (compress) the video.

Hope this helps.

P.S. Please don’t use AVI RAW to distribute stuff.

For lossless video codecs, I know of a few. TechSmith and the CamStudio capture codecs (used for capturing desktop video) are lossless, and very fast (TechSmith was the best out of those two, btw, but you have to have one of their programs registered to encode with it). I played around with Huffyuv, which is a codec based on the Huffman compression technique, which seemed to work pretty well except that the version I used was a little buggy. But there are options to lossless compression for video files that are not nearly as big as encoding raw.

But really, just use a PNG sequence :).

Internet distribution is a different story. You have to think about how many people will actually have the codec that you’ll use, and how good the codec is. That’s why H.264 is appealing to me right now because it excells in both of those areas.