sorry in advance for being a dumdum. I appreciate any help. and if you wonder at any point while reading this "can this person tie their shoes?", I'm not offended. I essentially need things explained to me like I'm 5.
the long and short of it is: I use gifs to go with hour-long song loops for YouTube. nothing special, nothing complex, and I seldom have issues. the other day, the exporting interface changed and I thought nothing of it (and still am not sure if there is a correlation, but it was worth mentioning). this is the day that I started to notice a significant decline in the quality of the videos that I was rendering. I use the same settings every time and am just really confused as to why it's now making some gifs pixelated/choppy. also, as I put in the title, the previews always look how I want them to look, but that changes after rendering. oh god this is an absolute mess visually. apologies