Trying to remember what all the different compressed codecs that support "proper" alpha (I.e., alpha is baked in, not a double up separated alpha channel) and are supported in AME.
If memory serves me:
PNG+A image sequence
TIFF+A image sequence
APR 4444+A 16 bits
HAP+Alpha Releases · Vidvox/hap-qt-codec · GitHub
Apple Animation 8 bits
I am looking for a codec that is compressed but isn't as clunky as HAP+Alpha.
I remember reading something about HEVC / h265 supporting alpha but I'm not finding documentation on that anywhere.
PNG, TIFF or OpenEXR also have Alpha
Re: Hap Alpha - just noting that the Hap Codec isn't natively supported anymore, you have to buy a license for AfterCodecs:
Seems to work great, though I have some questions about bitrate and will post the results here.
I recommend the AME license because it will allow you to export from either AE, PR, or AME. Native AfterCodecs support in AE and PR is 2x more licenses. Would speed up rendering a hair... but another $95 x 2? Nah. I'm good.
Re: HEVC (the most unfortunately named codec) - You're right. There's some convolution between WebM + VP9 + H265. WebM does support alpha channels using fnordware's WebM codec for Adobe: https://www.fnordware.com/WebM/ but WebM hangs up on the conversion during the last 5% in the latest version of the codec. The file is retained to the hang up point but has issues running in AE.
For those trying to loose weight, my control file is 2048x2048, APR 4444+A, 2.93 GBs
Same file using HAP+A and AfterCodecs, 1.1 GBs (fast conversion, file size about 33% of control file)
Same file using WebM+A and Fnordware (there is a bug here, see above), 413 MBs (very slow conversion, file size about 3% of control file)
Same file using OpenEXR+A, 5.5 GBs (fast conversion, files size about 200% of control file)
Image sequences are going to be huge, but convert quickly, I do this all the time so not going to run a test
As far as USING those files in AE:
HAP+A works great
Image sequences work great
APR 4444+A works great
Regarding the Hap open source codec, it's available for import as of the October 2018 release while the exporter is still in beta.
Here's the note from Dropped support for QuickTime 7 era formats and codecs:
Hap exporter plug-in for Adobe applications is under active development. The plug-in (which is currently in alpha stage) is available here:
So, exporting to HAP without QuickTime is "in progress".
If HEVC can get full support for alpha, that would be good.
I'd only opt for the HAP codec if the intended use is in presentation software that supports that codec for composting live on the fly. Otherwise, I'd go with a movie format or image sequence.
Just a hot update on this.
You can convert to HAP using that Disguise plugin or even FFMpeg, both of which will work on Windows and Mac but are a little slow.
The goal with using HEVC is just a smaller footprint. HAPA and 4444 files are both huge.
Worth mentioning this tread. Apple announced HEVC + Alpha at WWDC 2019, not yet implemented to Adobe CC: