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severe banding in comp and footage windows, but not in rendered output

Community Beginner ,
Sep 03, 2020

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Hi,

 

I'm using After Effects 2020 on Windows 10. Linear 32-bit floating point EXR images show severe banding artifacts in the Footage and Composition windows. It's especially evident in the darker tones of the images.

 

These artifacts are not present in the EXR files. I'm sure of that because I checked the files in another application.

 

When I render the composition out to a new image, there's no banding.

 

There is also no banding in 8-bit images, only 32-bit.

 

So the problem is definitely related to the *display* of 32-bit images.

 

I searched the internet for some ideas. I've tried all of these things, none of which fixed the problem:

 

Preferences > Display > Hardware Accelerate = OFF

Preferences > Previews > Viewer Quality > Color Management Quality = More Accurate

Composition window > Fast Previews = Off (Final Quality)

Layer Quality = Best (Bilinear or Bicubic)

 

I also tried fussing with my NVIDIA driver settings, again, to no avail.

 

Color Depth is 32 bits. Working Space is actually set to None. The footage interpretation is set to Preserve RGB. I'm using the OICO plugin to handle color management, it's about a million times better. That is, it actually properly converts the linear EXR to a gamma of 2.2 without mangling anything, which it appears After Effects is not capable of doing on it own. But the display banding occurs regardless of any of this. Even with the default AE settings, I'm seeing the banding artifacts.

 

Please help. I can't make accurate decisions about the content when the display is not accurate.

 

Thanks,

 

Aaron

 

Topics

Error or problem, Performance, Preview

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severe banding in comp and footage windows, but not in rendered output

Community Beginner ,
Sep 03, 2020

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Hi,

 

I'm using After Effects 2020 on Windows 10. Linear 32-bit floating point EXR images show severe banding artifacts in the Footage and Composition windows. It's especially evident in the darker tones of the images.

 

These artifacts are not present in the EXR files. I'm sure of that because I checked the files in another application.

 

When I render the composition out to a new image, there's no banding.

 

There is also no banding in 8-bit images, only 32-bit.

 

So the problem is definitely related to the *display* of 32-bit images.

 

I searched the internet for some ideas. I've tried all of these things, none of which fixed the problem:

 

Preferences > Display > Hardware Accelerate = OFF

Preferences > Previews > Viewer Quality > Color Management Quality = More Accurate

Composition window > Fast Previews = Off (Final Quality)

Layer Quality = Best (Bilinear or Bicubic)

 

I also tried fussing with my NVIDIA driver settings, again, to no avail.

 

Color Depth is 32 bits. Working Space is actually set to None. The footage interpretation is set to Preserve RGB. I'm using the OICO plugin to handle color management, it's about a million times better. That is, it actually properly converts the linear EXR to a gamma of 2.2 without mangling anything, which it appears After Effects is not capable of doing on it own. But the display banding occurs regardless of any of this. Even with the default AE settings, I'm seeing the banding artifacts.

 

Please help. I can't make accurate decisions about the content when the display is not accurate.

 

Thanks,

 

Aaron

 

Topics

Error or problem, Performance, Preview

Views

34

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 04, 2020

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Hi Aaron,

 

Sorry for your issue.

Could you share one of the EXR files with us so that we can try to replicate this issue at our end? Also, please share a screenshot of how does it look in After Effects and the in the other application you checked it with.

Looking forward to your response.

 

Thanks,

Nishu

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Dr__Yo LATEST
Community Beginner ,
Sep 04, 2020

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Thank you. I am seeing why After Effects is not used in the visual effects industry. There are too many problems and support for 32-bit color is poor.

 

I have prepared some EXR files, but there is no way for me to post them to this forum. I can't upload an EXR file or a ZIP archive. I am uploading some screen captures.

 

Screen capture from 3ds Max showing what the EXR file should look like:

3ds_max_screencap.png

 

Screen capture of AE2020 using OCIO plugin instead of AE native color management, working space set to None. Preview levels look correct, but banding artifacts are present.

ae_screencap_working_space_none_OCIO_on.png

 

Screen capture of AE2020 using native color management, working space set to sRGB. Preview is wrong, image is too dark, banding artifacts are present.

ae_screencap_working_space_sRGB_OCIO_off.png

 

PNG format rendered from AE2020, OCIO enabled, working space set to None. This rendering is accurate and faithful to the original EXR rendered in 3ds Max.

test_1080p_ae_output_working_space_none_OCIO_on.png

 

PNG format rendered from AE2020, OCIO disabled, working space set to sRGB. Contrast is wrong, image is too dark, but there are no banding artifacts.

test_1080p_working_space_sRGB_OCIO_off.png

 

Most troubling of all, the EXR versions of these output files show the reverse characteristics of the PNG files.

 

EXR rendered out of AE with the OCIO plugin enabled, and working space set to None. Way too bright, contrast is comletely wrong.

3ds_max_screencap_AE_output_EXR_working_space_none_OCIO_on.png

 

EXR rendered out of AE with the OCIO plugin disabled, and working space set to sRGB. Faithful to the original EXR rendered out of 3ds Max.

3ds_max_screencap_AE_output_EXR_working_space_sRGB_OCIO_off.png

 

So really there's no way for me to know what I'm doing.

OCIO plugin enabled, Working Space set to None, footage interpeted as Preserve RGB:

preview levels are correct, 32-bit rendered output is wrong, 8-bit rendered output is correct.

OCIO plugin disabled, Working Space set to linear sRGB, footage interpeted as linear sRGB:

preview levels are wrong, 32-bit rendered output is correct, 8-bit rendered output is wrong.

In all cases, AE preview shows banding that is not present in the source image.

 

The only conclusion I can draw from all of this is that After Effects is simply not suitable for color critical work on 32-bit EXR renderings. If what I see in the preview is not what I get when I render, then I can't use this tool. The only workflows that give me anything close to WYSIWYG are 1) OCIO enabled, rendering out to 8-bit format, and 2) Working space sRGB, rendering out to 32 bits.

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