Lightsword line drawing quality

MorganStudios Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

When I draw lines using the lightsword effect the sides of the lightsword always looks pixelated. Is there a way to fix this? 


  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Posts: 3,113 Expert

    @MorganStudios Can you give a picture or video example? What aspect ratio and format is the video?

    I have found the quality of the HitFilm Lightsword Effect to be pretty good. Lightsword Ultra is even better! I notice that whenever I post something online, however, the compression seems to degrade to quality of the light saber before everything else. Have you noticed that also?

  • GarethOwen
    GarethOwen Posts: 233 Enthusiast

    duplicate the the layer that will make it better or should

  • MorganStudios
    MorganStudios Posts: 46 Just Starting Out

    It seems to do the same thing with letters in text boxes sometimes 

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,604 Ambassador

    Just to discuss video compression for a moment.

    Most video compression is LOSSY. It throws away detail and degrades the image. How much will depend on settings.

    YouTube and Vimeo both use high-compression ratio (low quality) mp4.

    mp4 (h.264) is a type of JPEG/MPEG compression. JPEG/MPEG compression work in "Macroblocks," which means they compress footage in 8x8 or 16x16 blocks. You can actually see the compression artifacts as low quality settings.

    Using the image above, let's look at the two extremes - the "100%" quality on the top left and the "10%" quality on the lower right. You can see in the lower right how the detail is broken up into large squares - congratulations, you've just seen the macroblocks!

    Anyways, point being here, that the bitrate of an mp4 output is going to have a big effect on the perceived quality of the output. Stand by for boring numbers.

    Uncompressed 1920x1080 video at 29.97 fps uses 1,491,499,008 bits of data/sec. (1920*1080*24[bits]*29.97[fps]) A Blu-Ray can be compressed at about 20mbps. This is a compression ratio of 74.5:1. YouTube compresses that same video to 8mbps. This is a compression ratio of about 186.4:1.

    I'm going to drop a link here to the article I pulled the above nebula image from: but you don't need to look at it now.

    The images in the above image are 200x209 pixels. The uncompressed pixel data is 122.5 KB. (200*209*3[bytes]/1024[bytes to KB]. This could also be done as 200*209*24[bits]/8[convert bits to bytes]/1024[bytes to KB]) That means the "100%" quality image is about 2:1 compression, while the bottom right image is at about 19.75:1 compression.

    Now, to repeat, h.264 is using a similar method to JPEG. h.264 is a more advanced codec and holds detail better than JPEG (a 1980's format), but h.264 is still open to the same quality loss as JPEG. You can't compress your video at a ratio of 180ish:1 and not have a quality loss.

    So, the Lightsword is a high contrast line subject to distortion along the macroblocks. My guess is if you were to output from Hitfilm at a high bitrate, like, say 60mbps, the Lightsword will look great. It's at YouTube/Vimeo bitrates where the macroblocking/lossy compression kicks in and makes everything look like crap.

    Here's a screen grab of the opening titles of "Deadwood" pulled from Netflix:

    Notice that looks like utter crap. The person in from of the fire is a blurry mess and the fire itself is a macroblock nightmare.

    Here's some screengrabs for a trailer (downloaded from Youtube) for some little low-budget indie-film called "Rogue One"

    Take a look at the top left. That's Kemmler's shuttle. Take a close look at the top right. That's Kemmler's shuttle. You may notice that YouTube's video compression has actually removed the tail from the shuttle - and, yes, you can notice that in motion. The bottom is, of course, the Death Star, but... Again, you can see distortion, macroblocking, banding.... This image looks like crap.

    That's Lucasfilm/Disney with effects by ILM. If one of the biggest VFX houses on the planet and one of the biggest media companies on the planet can't get a YouTube stream to look, you know, GOOD, then you can't either.

    This, btw, is somewhat the some thing happening with text (although in Hitfilm Text is pixelized at creation, so, in Hitfilm you want to avoid enlarging text wherever possible. Better to make it big and shrink it.

    I've noticed often on this forum that learning Hitfilm is a great way to suddenly see all the compression artifacts that plague all streaming media (YouTube and Netfilx, etc) and all digital TV in general! (HDTV broadcasts at about 14mbps in the USA. Under Blu-Ray quality, but above YouTube. Netflix streams at about 11mbps.). As soon as it's your own video all the crap quality you've ignored for years on someone else's video suddenly jumps out and hits you in the face.

    It ain't Hitfilm's fault. it's the end render.

  • triforcefx
    triforcefx United StatesPosts: 1,486 Moderator

    Just wanted to take this from a different perspective... (and by the way... compression is awful... I especially notice it in red graphics on YouTube or, you know, red light sabers)

    If you’re seeing the pixelation inside Hitfilm itself, then it might be due to your preview quality settings in Hitfilm. On the bottom of the viewer is a button that will either say “Full”, “1/2” or “1/4”. This menu controls your viewer quality and resolution. Any graphics that aren’t using Full resolution and Antialiasing in paused or playback quality are going to look pretty pixelated. This is done to speed up the editor, but your final export will look much better if your preview settings in Hitfilm are low.


     Also make sure to check your project and composite shot settings... they should typically be at the same resolution as your source footage and having different resolutions in those settings can make things weird.


     If it’s not either of those things, then it probably is just good old compression. We all just have to live with it.