HEVC / H265 with Alpha Support in AME

Engaged ,
Sep 25, 2019 Sep 25, 2019

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Apple recently announced support for Alpha with HEVC. This is great news. Does anyone know about it being available in Creative Cloud / Media Encoder. Looking forward to a lightweight / compressed codec that supports Alpha. 

 

https://developer.apple.com/videos/play/wwdc2019/506/

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 27, 2019 Sep 27, 2019

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Hi there,

 

Great news!

I'll get you update on this soon.

 

Stay tuned!

 

Thanks,

Shivangi

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Engaged ,
Sep 30, 2019 Sep 30, 2019

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I'm really looking forward to this. Right now the only compressed codec that supports Alpha that works for Windows and Mac and plays back decently in programs like Isadora, MadMapper, Unity is HAP+Alpha and it takes forever to transcode.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 05, 2021 Jan 05, 2021

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Did Unity change something since 2018?  Freelancing at a small all Windows shop, they had to pick up a Mac Mini to import Apple ProRes 4444 with Alpha into Unity.

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Explorer ,
Nov 10, 2019 Nov 10, 2019

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Any more news on this? 

It's insane there are no compressed options for RGBA videos.  

Also really wish Image sequences in Operating systems were treated automatically like a stacked file thing. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 05, 2021 Jan 05, 2021

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As far as no compressed options for RGB+A go, there's ProRes 4444, DNxHD, Animation, PNG, HAP.  There are probably a few more.  Those are just the ones off the top of my head.  Sure, it could be a longer list, but those are all compressed options.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 22, 2022 Feb 22, 2022

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Adobe Media Encoder is not supporting hevc/h265 with alpha channel export neither on mac or windows, on mac os i used compressor ftom apple (yep adobe you suck, i had to pay 50 bucks more for compressor so i can export a quicktime .mov hevc with alpha channel), still loking for solution for h265 .mp4 with alpha channel, anyone any ideeas, to be noted i have a custom resolution so some solution might not be suitable if they have restricted resolutions

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Engaged ,
Feb 22, 2022 Feb 22, 2022

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Oh yeah, still not supported. Seems like a lot of people are looking for this... but Adobe seems to have a HEVC problem in general. CC 2022 can't even play them natively, so being able to export is probably a tall order. (CC 2021 does play HEVC files fine by the way). 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2022 Feb 22, 2022

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I'd love to see this supported as well, but not sure how likely it will be.

 

To date, there are a total of 20 votes across two duplicate topics for HEVC with Alpha on the Adobe Uservoice Pages.

 

https://adobe-video.uservoice.com/forums/911308-media-encoder/suggestions/43519668-hevc-with-alpha-c...

 

   and

 

https://adobe-video.uservoice.com/forums/911233-premiere-pro/suggestions/43519791-hevc-with-alpha-ch...

 

I thought I'd read that this is under consideration somewhere, but I can't find anything official now.

 

1,000 users could ask for it here on the community support pages, but it really needs votes on the Uservoice pages.

 

Update:  The under-review comment is in this thread.

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2022 Feb 22, 2022

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If you're doing custom sizes up to 3840-by-2160, you don't need Compressor.  The advantage of Compressor are features like a progress bar while processing, a Viewer to preview the movie prior to encoding, adding markers, and anything else that Compressor supports prior to starting the encode.

 

Instead of Compressor, we can right-click the Apple ProRes4444 with Alpha video file in the Finder and choose Encode Selected Video Files.  

 

When the options dialog box appears, set the pop-up to HEVC2160p and enable Preserve Transparency.

 

The "Resolution: up to 3840x2160" really should read something like "Target Bitrate: optimized for frame sizes up to 3840x3160".  If your source ProRes4444 with Alpha video is 4320-by-4320, your HEVC H265 file will also be 4320-by4320.  It's just using a bit rate that's optimized for smaller frame sizes.

 

macOS Finder Encode Media dialog box with HEVC 2160p selected and Preserve Transparency enabledmacOS Finder Encode Media dialog box with HEVC 2160p selected and Preserve Transparency enabled

 

If you're not using Compressor for anything else, you might reach out to Apple for a refund.

 

I know, this just makes Adobe's lack of support for this even more disappointing.  Apple achieved this via AV Foundation Frameworks (what replaced QuickTime as a system driver for time-based media back in 2013) and as such is available in applications that make use of that on the macOS side.  From what I've read on the Apple Developer Pages, this is not out-of-spec for HEVC, but it is custom.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 22, 2022 Feb 22, 2022

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As i said i need custom sizes with alpha transparency since i use them in mobile apps(I am a mobile developer), and they work great, the downside is only the Compressor helped me for this scenario and only worked for Apple ecosystem, for .mp4 h265 it does not help so for other systems than iOS/MacOS, the quicktime/mov container is not helpful. If amy ideas what can i use to export h265 with alpha channel .mp4 container, please let me know

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2022 Feb 22, 2022

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@teonicel 

 

Thank you for the clarification.

It's something that AV Foundation Frameworks team came up with.  Maybe that limits it to the MOV container in some way - at least for the creation of the file.  (I'm not sure - if I could code, I would.)

 

Have you tried changing the file extension from .mov to .mp4 prior to porting it off macOS?


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Community Beginner ,
Feb 25, 2022 Feb 25, 2022

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Hi, I had the same problem but I came here for the Apple solution. I hope that who I work with can compress my prores output to hevc.
But for your problem I found a rather simple solution!
I export my prores with alpha from media encoder then I use the (PC/Mac compatible) donationware converter software called Shutter Encoder.
With two clicks (checking preserve alpha in the advanced options) I could make a working, compressed h265 mp4

 

Try it out!

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 18, 2022 Mar 18, 2022

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How did this work for you? There is no "preserve alpha" when exporting to h.265. Only when using Vp9 does preserve alpha show in advanced settings. When trying to encode a webm/vp9 to h.265 preserve alpha is not available in advanced settings.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 19, 2022 Mar 19, 2022

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@yovern 

In Shutter Encoder, we have to enable "Hardware acceleration" under "Advanced features" in order for "Enable alpha channel" to be available farther down the list of advanced features.  This requires that our hardware supports hardware acceleration for H265 encoding, otherwise this option is not available.

Shutter Encoder showing H265 "Hardware acceleration" and "Enable alpha channel" enabled under Advanced featuresShutter Encoder showing H265 "Hardware acceleration" and "Enable alpha channel" enabled under Advanced features

 

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 02, 2022 Jun 02, 2022

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Is it possible, that enabling the alpha channel is only possible on MAC? I have to tool on Windows, with an RTX 2070s for HW acceleration, and that option to enable alpha is simply missing for me.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 02, 2022 Jun 02, 2022

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Having an alpha in an H265 file is something that Apple came up with via AV Foundation Frameworks (which replaced QuickTime as the system driver for time based media).  As such, it is Mac only. 

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 05, 2022 Jun 05, 2022

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LATEST

thx for clarifying! But is there no intention on the windows side of things, to implement it? I mean for me it is just mindboggling, that a decade ago, I could simply use an flv with alpha in flash and do the most exciting overlays with 3d Animation in it, and now I have to jump through the craziest of hoops to make it work on even just one

browser at all... 

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Adobe Employee ,
Nov 14, 2019 Nov 14, 2019

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Hi all,

 

Sorry for the delay in response. The engineering team has kept adding this feature under review. Though there is no news when will this be implemented/added to the application.

 

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Explorer ,
May 06, 2020 May 06, 2020

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Are there some new informations about it?

Thank you

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Engaged ,
Jun 08, 2020 Jun 08, 2020

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I am also curious if there's been an update to this. 

 

In Catalina, it looks like you can convert a video with an alpha channel (I.e., APR 4444+A) right in the finder by right clicking and selecting the encode option. Transparency included. Not sure if you can queue things and there are limitted options so it isn't ideal, but certainly a decent work around for now. 

 

Going to be running a test on this and update here with results. 

 

It also looks like you can do it natively in Compressor or even just the terminal:

https://kitcross.net/hevc-web-video-alpha-channel/

 

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Engaged ,
Jun 08, 2020 Jun 08, 2020

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I can confirm that encoding via finder works but there are limitted options:

  • Resolution can't be manual, must be FHD or UHD
  • Can't control quality
  • No progress bar or queue
  • No controls for frame rate or audio

 

canvokey_0-1591631844536.png

 

You can follow along in activity monitor but all it really tells you is that the encoding process is active and it only uses the CPU, which is a damn shame. 

canvokey_1-1591631904959.png

If you select multiple videos and right click to encode, it will convert all of them - but one at a time, and you cannot track progress at all. 

 

For my test I did a 20 second video, conversion from APR4444+A. The video was just animation of a grid in AE. It took 2 minuts to render, To convert it took 6 minutes for that same file. So it's VERY slow. The codec extension is .mov. 

 

The size of the file went from 250 MB to 2 MB and the frame rate defaults to the target video. So that's great. 

 

After Effects and Premiere does not recognize the alpha channel, so this codec really only works as a delivery codec - not a storage codec or editable codec. Though, I suspect Final Cut X does support it - I just haven't used it in 5 years. It's attached to an old apple ID so I need track down that p/w so I can test it. 

 

I also wante to check to see what programs that I regularly use support the codec with Alpha in playback:

  • Quicktime YES
  • Finder YES
  • MadMapper 3.7.5 YES
  • VLC YES (but can't check for transparency)

 

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Explorer ,
Jun 09, 2020 Jun 09, 2020

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Hi Canvokey,

 

following Apps are supporting HEVC with Alpha Channel

  • iMovie (OS)
  • LumaFusion (iPad)

 

Kind regards

Lucas

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Engaged ,
Aug 24, 2020 Aug 24, 2020

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Any news? 

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 05, 2021 Apr 05, 2021

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If this feature would be particularly useful to you, I quickly tested it in Apple's Motion and it works there. Interestingly, although the source video was a non-standard size, when selecting 1080p (the closest available) quicktime x didn't resize the video. The file size difference with other alpha formats is enormous (In this case, 12MB vs 1.2GB in ProRes 4444!). Importing the same footage into After Effects 18.0.1 results in a black square.

 

unnamed.png

 

HEVC is a delivery format and will hog CPU in a project for many, but at the very least for archiving projects, it seems like a real no-brainer. Hope the development team can manage to implement this part of the h.265 spec.

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