What is the best screen size for Character Animator

Contributor ,
Jul 31, 2018 Jul 31, 2018

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I am making an animated music video for one of my songs. I used a 1280 X 720 size because I saw it recommended for animation. However, when I put it into Encoder, even with the correct size, it doesn't have a great resolution. It stills has the characters off the screen, despite my changing the CA to 1280 X 720.

Here is a sample. They go off the screen at the first chorus.

Scene - 01 BullyBart Title.mp4 - Google Drive

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LEGEND ,
Jul 31, 2018 Jul 31, 2018

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I think question number one is what screen resolution do you want your target video to support. I was not sure, so I picked 1080p (1920x1080). My theory was it looks better to downscale an image rather than upscale, and lots of laptop screens are 1080p. So I went with a resolution that matches most laptops. If you use 1280x720 and upscale to 1920x1080 (full screen size of a laptop) you can expect some minor bluriness I guess (but would not have thought too bad). If you have a higher res monitor (mine is double 1080p I think), then you will be scaling the video 3 or 4 times up, which I am guessing would get noticeably blurry.

Having said that, 720p is not *bad* - most YouTube videos are probably that resolution or lower. Its just if you view on your own monitor that is higher resolution, it won’t look as good. So you need to understand where you are going to show the video. E.g. in a class room with a super high res monitor? Or via a lower res projector onto a screen? Etc.

Next you need to understand the resolution of your artwork. I went with Illustrator to avoid worrying about this - vector artwork scales more easily. If using PSD files (raster files), the resolution will matter. If the artwork is lower resolution, then higher resolution video won’t help. You need to understand the resolution of the artwork and how big you scale it up to on the screen. E.g. if you scale your puppet twice as big (200%), then you need double the resolution of the puppet to make it look good.

But all of the above is not related to puppets going off the edge of the screen. That is fixed by first setting the resolution of the scene (in the properties panel) - I always use 1920x1080 - then you scale the backgrounds and puppets to correctly fit into the scene window (as per the other thread). I frequently pick “fit” for the scene zoom factor, then zoom out a bit from there (using ALT + mouse wheel) so I can see the surronding out of camera content. With the background image, this is also how you can make sure you have not left a black border around the background because its smaller than the video content area (which from the other thread was the problem you just encountered). Because I drag hands etc of puppets that start out of camera view, I need to see where the hand is off camera to start the drag correctly, which is the other reason I often zoom out a bit.

So the resolution of the scene/video, the resolution of the puppet, and the scale factor you apply to puppets all matter - but you have control over them all. The biggest problem is if you get a PSD file that was created with too low a resolution for the scale factor you want.

Note: There is also a “render as vector” option if you have AI files (not PSD files). That may help as well. I create my AI files with 6000pt height and “high resolution” in the document properties, and have never had to resort to that option. The problem with it is some Illustrator features (such as gradients) don’t work in “render as vector” mode. So I just cranked all the settings up in Illustrator, then never had to think about it again. (Mind you, I don’t know if my rendering speed went down as a result!!!)

I hope that helps!

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Contributor ,
Jul 31, 2018 Jul 31, 2018

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I understand everything you’ve said. I know it doesn’t relate to the other question directly. All of my backgrounds and puppets were done in vectors in AI. I’ll check the resolution but it’s possible it isn’t as good as it should be.

I’m planning on selling these to teachers. My own classroom has a large screen as do many others so I think I need to get this settled ASAP in order for them to be the best quality by today’s standards.

On the positive side I only have a few things I’ve done in Photoshop. These are the occasional stills.

Sharon.

Sent from my iPhone

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Contributor ,
Jul 31, 2018 Jul 31, 2018

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Also WOW. 6000 height. I thought 720 was good.

Sent from my iPhone

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LEGEND ,
Jul 31, 2018 Jul 31, 2018

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I used 6000pt (point = 1/12th of an inch I think). Plus I think it was 72dpi (computer at home so I cannot check). So that means it should be *capable* of creating 72 x 6000/12 pixels = 36000 pixels?, if I ever needed to. Like zoom right in on a single eye or something crazy in a scene, or if I ever wanted to create a life size poster later with a character in it (which needs much higher resolution than the screen).  (Hmmm - that might be fun to try!)

Because AI is vector artwork, this does not matter as much as you might think. Artwork is kept as a series of coordinates, not as pixels (like lat/long coordinates on a map). At 6000pt for my character, by default a head will fit into the scene window - I have to scale them down - 10% gives me a small character on the screen, 100% for a head shot.

There was no science behind these settings - I picked them, it worked, I moved on. Just sharing what I used. Well, I used something small initially, but gradients looked weird (pixelated), so I went overboard the other direction and did not have problems afterwards. If its not broken, don’t touch it! 😉

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Participant ,
Aug 16, 2020 Aug 16, 2020

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In Encoder, make sure you change from output to Apple 422. Better resolution. And also, you can change the size of the Character Animator aspect ratio. 
Click once on your "scene" in the "project" box (top left). Look at your "properties" box (on right) under >Scene. Click on "Scene". You'll see Frame Rate, Duration, Width, and Height. Change the width and height to the aspect ratio of 3,840 px, by 2,260. And you're done! Now go to your menu, Scene, New Scene Camera, and adjust the camera's x, y, and z position. You can zoom in too. 

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