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Hello. I made videos with good quality in After effects (1080p, HD, high bitrate, all of that). But when I upload them to Youtube, Youtube randomly assigns a quality in the video player settings (cog wheel icon at the bottom). Sometimes it chooses lower qualities like 360p which of course make the video look worse. I read that Youtube assigns this quality depending on the computer, screen size, Internet connection, etc. In other words, it changes, it's dynamic, so the video would not look the same for everyone all the time. I know that that quality can be changed manually but I don't think the majority of the people do that or know that. Is there a way to have your videos always showing at 1080p or 720p in Youtube automatically?
Plain and simple: No.
I've given up trying to get the best option for YouTube and render out at Maximum Quality. I know there's an YouTube preset, but I found noticeable compression before uploading. Plus YouTube seem to have recently changed their user quality preset options, which means tryung to find the perfect render settings becomes a never-ending stuggle.
render composition in 2k or above will make it clean and crystall clear on youtube because youtube using vp9 codec for all video above 1920x1080p. resolution below 2k will be compressed and using avc codec, thats why it looks very worse.
If you use the Media Encoder presets for YouTube or Vimeo that match your frame size Vimeo and YouTube will prepare your video for streaming, and that means re-compressing at least 3 versions of your video using their best algorithms. The only thing that you can do to improve the color compression artifacts is select Multi-Pass rendering. If you mess with anything else, the data rate, the frame size, the audio, anything, all streaming services will not play nice with your video. They will compress it with a sledgehammer, it will take longer to be available, and most of the care you put into making the best possible product will be wasted. It's that way for all streaming services that I know of. If you don't use their guidelines, you get a mess.
As far as playback, the default quality of the playback depends entirely on the available bandwidth. To stay profitable all streaming services check the user's connection speed and serve up the best frame size and even frame rate for some, that can be delivered over their bandwidth without causing playback to lock up. If you are lucky, like I am, with a download speed of more than 230 Mbps, you will get HD playback from most streams, and from a few 4K videos you may even get that without manually selecting the playback option. Some browsers do not support 4K playback from anyone.
The secret to the best quality video is to desigh with the limitations of the format in mind. No 100% white thin lines right next to 100% black, noise in subtle gradients, limited color palette for optimum 8Bit compression, no horizontal and vertical lines in the design that are not at least 2 pixels wide, careful alignment to the pixel grid of all horizontal and vertical edges with high contrast, and a bunch of other factors. You can't expect a video rendered at 10 bit or better that looks great on your new HDR 5K monitor to look the same on YouTube or any other streaming service because it is all going to be IPB interpolated frames in 8-bit color compressed in blocks of 4 pixels. There is no higher quality in their delivery format.