Images look poor when having small size in Hitfilm Express

vanny_f
vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*
edited March 11 in HitFilm

Hi all,

I want to use a png-image in my animation that I created using an formular editor. I just made a screenshot of this and basically the screenshot has a high resolution. However, when I import that into my animation, the image quality is quite bad if the image size in the animation is small. When increasing the image Size the quality become better. I have attached a screenshot. Is it possible to also have a high quality of the image when using it in a small size?

I'd appreciate every comment and will be quite thankful for your help.


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Answers

  • TheBenNorris
    TheBenNorris Staff Administrator, Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,964 Staff

    "Is it possible to also have a high quality of the image when using it in a small size?" With regards to this bit specifically, typically the "quality" of an image is based upon it's size: 4K looks better than HD, HD is better than 720p, etc. This means that shrinking the size is most likely going to result in a lower quality, because you have less pixels to work on.

    Of course, there are other factors involved in determining the quality, but I think in this case by shrinking down the image you're going to lose some quality, since the image is probably being blurred to still be recognisable that small.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador
    edited February 15

    @vanny_f @TheBenNorris (Ben, I tag you cuz down scaling is all about the ratio. I expect you to get about a third of the way through this, nod sagely, and move on cuz you'll see where it's all going. To TL/DR it for you, scaling in halves is great, anything else can be a problem.)

    Ok, so... Downscaling.

    An image is made from a grid of pixels - dots. Downscaling can make it possible to get a "sharper" image, but, if the scale ratio is bad you can get a blurry image.

    Let's consider a simplified diagram. We're going to look at eight imaginary pixels. "/" is white "\" is black and "X" is gray.

    We'll start with four black and four white pixels.

    \\\\////

    If we scale down to 75%, which is 3/4, or six pixels we can get this.

    \\\///

    Still sharp.

    We'll scale to 50% - 4 pixels.

    \\//

    Still sharp.

    We'll scale to 25% - 2 pixels.

    \/

    Still sharp.

    Ok, let's scale to 60%... And now we have a problem. 60% of 8 is 4.8 pixels... You CANNOT render ". 8" of a pixel. Hitfilm is going to render 5 pixels... Of course half of 4.8 is 2.4. You CANNOT render ".4" of a pixel. Hitfilm has some choices to make. Hitfilm is going to attempt to blend/blur/anti-alias fractional pixels. We could end up with

    \\X//

    Or we could end up with

    \\X/X

    Either way we no longer have a sharp image because those "fractional" pixels got turned gray. There a scaling mode called "nearest neighbor" (Hitfilm doesn't use) which doesn't blend, it just uses the majority color. This gives us:

    \\///

    Which distorts the image - because now we have more white pixels.

    All of this is to demonstrate that for clean scaling you need to try to prepare your original image at a size that scales cleanly. Scaling down by HALVES (100, 50, 25, 12.5, 6.25, etc) will always give the cleanest result. Scaling by QUARTERS (100, 75, 50, etc) usually is pretty clean. Scaling by THIRDS (100, 66.6666667, 33.3333333) gives the worst results, and any other values will give mixed results.

    I don't know how much control you have over the size of your source image - depends on the formula editor - but trying to get your downscale ratio to 50% is your cleanest option.

    Note that typical blend-scaling works well for photographic images with lots of color variations. Simple, high contrast images, like black text on white, is going to be more prone to visible distortion. With, say, a photo of a face or landscape the "rounding" errors caused by non-half ratios gets lost in the small details. It's just your particular image is something that will tend to blur more.

    Also, and finally, Hitfilm globally anti aliases renders. The default is "4x MSSA" if you've turned this up to 8x or higher, don't do that. Go back to 4x MSSA.

  • TheBenNorris
    TheBenNorris Staff Administrator, Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,964 Staff

    @Triem23 for what it's worth, I understand how it all works I just tried to keep it simple for the user as I thought someone would come along and give the masterclass explanation, which you have!

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador

    @TheBenNorris one of my better explanations, too, even if I do say so myself. 😉

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks Triem23 and TheBenNorris for your answers,

    if I understood correctly you would create an image and scale it down to 50 %? Basically I just create the image from a screenshot in MS-PowerPoint such that I can increase or decrease the zoom level

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador

    Yup, that's the short of it! 👍

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Hi all,

    I just tried to insert the picture by scaling it to 50% (vetically and horizontally) and I have to say the picture still looks quite bad and the quality is quite low. To be totally honest, I do not see any change in quality compared to my former approach. Is there no way how I can get a decent quality picture when it is downscaled?


    What I do not understand is if I set a very low zoom in PowerPoint the picture still looks way better then when inserting it in HitfilmExpress. The quality of the picture in HitfilimExpress is so low that you can't really read the formulars and thus I can't use it in the animation.

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Any comments on my last comment? I'd highly appreciate every further comments from you.

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Does nobody have an idea how to do this or at least any advice? The suggested advice by Triem23 (scaling to 50 %) did not help at all (I tend to say that the quality of the imported figures using this approach seems to be even lower).

  • spyresca
    spyresca Website User Posts: 203 Enthusiast

    If you're using .png images, don't scale them within Hitfilm. Scale them from your graphics program and then use that scaled version in HF.

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks for your answer spyresca, I did what you told me but it did not change much. The image still looks quite bad and much worse than the original small image when not being used in Hitfilm Express. The images are extremely unsharp.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Moderator, Website User Posts: 5,020 Moderator

    @vanny_f Not sure is this might be the problem or not but have you checked your viewer settings located here:

    It's probably not relevant but the only Hail Mary I can think of.

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks tddavis for your answer,

    yes I checked that but this was not the problem.

    Maybe this is a general problem of Hitfilm-Express that the images, when they are small, look way worse then the original images (at the same size)? Has nobody encoutered this problem? How do you insert small images into you animations?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador

    To quote myself from my first comment, above:

    "Also, and finally, Hitfilm globally anti aliases renders. The default is "4x MSSA" if you've turned this up to 8x or higher, don't do that. Go back to 4x MSSA."

    This would be easy to miss because it was the last line of a really long discussion on scaling, but it is what's happening.

    Hitfilm globally anti-aliases renders. This cannot be turned off. This is probably what's softening your image, and there's nothing at the moment that can be done about that. If the quality of your output renders is still too soft, despite prooper downscaling ratios or bringing in the element at a size where it's no rescaled at all, then it's inherent in the Hitfilm anti-aliasing. For now you'll have to accept the output Hitfilm is giving or decide that at the moment Hitfilm isn't your best option and try other free NLEs like Resolve or Shotput

    Here's a good article on the best free video editors available.


    You should go Vote Up this Feature Request thread I just made. Disabling MSAA has come up before, but we really need to ask the devs in the Feature Request thread to implement the change. I kept forgetting to make the request.


  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks Triem 23 for your answer,

    basically I did not change the 4x MSSA so there is nothing I can do now and I have to accept it as I do not want to change the Editor at all (which would require a huge amount of time to get familiar with and I do not have this time as I am just doing the animations in my spare time).

    I upvoted your ENHANCEMENT.


    Thanks for your comments and effort. I really appreciate it.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador

    Try using Sharpening or Unsharp Mask. Both of these enhance the contrast of edges. Basically you want to sharpen them a little to counteract the anti aliasing.

    Do this on a Grade Layer above everything else

    On the Viewer's Options drop down menu under Paused Resolution settings go from Full to Antialiased. That will turn on the MSAA in the Viewer. I'm foolish and should have mentioned this earlier.

    Anyways, once you turn on the Antialiased view you can adjust the Sharpen or Unsharp Mask. You'll be able to improve the image some. 👍

    Aside from that, yes, you have to live with the Hitfilm render limits. 😏

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks Triem23 for your answer,

    you wrote:

    "Try using Sharpening or Unsharp Mask" --> where can I find them?

    "Do this on a Grade Layer above everything else" --> what does this mean and how can I do that?

    "On the Viewer's Options drop down menu under Paused Resolution settings go from Full to Antialiased. That will turn on the MSAA in the Viewer. I'm foolish and should have mentioned this earlier." --> did not change much

  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks Triem23 for your answer, any comment to my last comment? I'd highly appreciate every further comment from you.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,833 Ambassador

    Sharpen and Unsharp Mask are in the Effects Panel in the Sharpen category. Or, type "Sharp" into the search panel at the top of the Effects Panel.

    Grade Layers are created in Composite Shots by clicking the New Layer button above the Timeline and selecting Grade Layer.

    Grade Layers apply effects to all layers below themselves. Well, technically a Grade Layer renders all layers below itself then adds effects to itself.


  • vanny_f
    vanny_f Website User Posts: 54 Just Starting Out*

    Thanks for the comments Triem23,

    unfortunately they did not change much and the picture still looks like a low-quality picture. But I guess there is nothing more that I can do.

    Anyways, thanks a lot your answers and effort. I really appreicate it :-)