Rendering - Antialiasing


I'm a new user to Hitfilm 3 Pro and loving it but I have a question about rendering with antialiasing.  I'm having issues rendering quality videos using 3D models. I understand low poly models and bad texture are a factor but the models I'm using seem to be fairly high quality

I've search the forums and the Interwebs but can't find much so I thought I'd post for assistance. I figured out that final render must be in antialiasing and that there are advanced settings under H.264 render that can be adjusted. I've set the render quality to Profile- high, Level 5.1 with a target bit rate of 30 and a and a max of 50 but I'm still getting antialiasing. Not really found of rending in H.264 as I prefer Pro Res 4444 but I have to dummy down Pro Res for Youtube anyway so I'll get by.

I wonder if lights on moving  objects along with a moving background has an effect on antialiasing?

I have two composite shots. The first one contains a background image, 4 sphere models for the Earth, 1 Earth, 2 Cloud Layers and a Halo layer and they are rotating. On top of that there are 2 Tie Fighters and a Lambda Shuttle all in a separate composite shot to control the lighting on the models without the first composite shot lights effecting them.

Here is a video example  if you don't mind taking a look -

Mac particulars:

3.2 GHz Intel Core i5
Ram  -16 GB
NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M 1024 MB

 Am I right with the render settings and composite shots construction? Any help would be appreciated.



  • In general you can adjust your anti aliasing settings in the Project Properties (not export settings). From there you can select from 1xMSAA to 32xMSAA.

    If you have access to other software, it might be better to output image sequences as PNG or Open EXR, then transcode the Image Sequence to ProRes if you want a high quality archive. 

    Hitfilm's render engine is very crisp. If you're models are in 2D mode, it can be helpful to add a blur to the model. Radius 1, iterations 1. That softens things a bit without killing a lot of detail. 

  • I do have access to both Motion 5 and Final Cut so exporting an image sequence is an option for sure.

    I looked into the Project properties and I only see 8 or 16 bit float and  4x MSAA and 8X MSAA. No options for anything else. I took a peek to make sure that Hitfilm is running 64bit, which it is. Interesting. I'll have to work on fleshing out why I don't have 32x MSAA.

    The models I used are unwrapped in the ship composite. I did add a light wrap and a slight blur once I brought it into the main composite shot which did take care of some of the aliasing though.

    Appreciate the direction and advice.


  • @GrayMotion what GPU are you using? I'm guessing maybe the levels of MSAA available might be limited by the GPU, it could have to do with the options the respective driver has available.

  • I think Robin is correct in that Hitfilm won't show the higher MSAA levels if Hitfilm doesn't think your GPU is up to snuff. . @Robin he's using a NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M 1024 MB which would have been a mid-level laptop GPU in 2013.

    Still, the 8xMSAA should be a bit of an improvement over 4xMSAA.

    @GrayMotion A little bit of critique about the shot itself: Right now the Imperial craft are moving straight towards the camera, yet are angled to face the right side of the screen. This is giving the impression that the ships are flying crookedly. If you add some translation to your planet layers and have the Earth moving toward the left side of the frame, this will give the impression that the camera itself is traveling towards the right side of the frame, which should fix the perceived motion skew.

    I'm assuming that you're going to cut to another shot as the shuttle passes the camera? Maybe a reversal of flying off into deep space? Otherwise, cameras passing through models rarely looks good.

    And here's a couple of tips about how Hitfilm deals with it's 3D space(s).

    Notice I said "3D space(s)." The parenthetical plural is deliberate. Hitfilm separates it's 3D spaces when it encounters a 2D Plane, Video, Picture or Grade Layer. What this means is, for example, you could, if you wanted, arrange your entire animation in a single Composite Shot. If you drop a grade layer above the planet layers and below the ship layers and have your planet lights BELOW the grade and your ship lights ABOVE the grade, then the ship lights will not affect the planet and vice-versa. Additionally, you could use the Grade Layer separating planet and ships as a light wrap for the ships. This is common across Hitfilm--where the aformentioned 2D layer types split the world into multiple 3D spaces. In this case the grade layer also breaks calculation of occlusion--anything below the Grade Layer is treated at a straight 2D layer in relation to the models above--because the Grade Layer itself starts as a "flattened" version of everything below it with effects added.

    It's a good thing to know.

    There are four exceptions to grade layers separating lights that I can think of, and all of them are Psuedo-3D effects: Atomic Particles, Parallax, Caustics and 3D Extrusion. All of these effects looks at ALL lights in a comp shot by default, ignoring 3D spaces separated by grade layers. However all of these effects allow you to specify only using certain lights in the scene, which allows you to separate out lights you don't want.

  • edited September 2015

    Ok then. Upon further inspection it  does appears I have a mid grade Notebook card in my desktop! Interesting. I guess I'll be upgrading the video card before I attempt 'quality' 3D rendering. I have a Cuda driver installed but according to all documents the compute ability should be 2.0 or above for anything above 8xMSAA. I saw a post here regarding equipment type for Hitfilm so I'll be visiting that here shortly.

    @Triem23 - I thank you very much for the explanation of  how Hitfilm handles 2D and 3D  space(s), layers and planes and how they interact.  I was hesitant to share knowing the quality and over all shot was well below the level of this community. It appears I have much to learn. A bit different from Motion 5 to be sure.

    As for the critique about the shot - absolutely horrible in my opinion. The sideways perception most likely occurred when I manipulated the World Transforms to move side ways as opposed to moving into the models(s) transforms and setting them on a throw trajectory (of sorts) to the right. I do plan to redo the shot and get it 'right' but  will have to be patient with myself until I have my training wheels off.

    In one short post a learnt more than I could in 3 months as to the what, why and how of Hitfilm. Thanks much to you both for chiming in.


  • GrayMotion CUDA isn't going to be important for Hitfilm, as Hitfilm's render engine is based on standard OpenGL, but a GPU upgrade a never hurts. That said, I think CUDA might help your Final Cut run more quickly. I'm not sure about Motion as I've never used it.

    Never apologize for putting up a rough shot based on "quality." I throw up my roughs and experiments here all the time to get feedback and advice from other users. This is truly one of the most helpful forums I've ever been on and we do a good job of helping each other out around here. Then we all learn and we all get better together!

    I think when you rework the shot it might be easier to keep motion straight by combining everything into a single composite. In editing and animation there's no single "correct" way to approach organization, so experience and experimentation will reveal what's the best way to work for you. That said, for this type of space shot, the way I would approach this would be to drop my base planet layer and spaceships into a single composite shot. Since the shuttle and TIE's are in formation, I would create a 3D point and parent all three ships to that. Then I only have to mess around with a single point to animate all three ships. I'd get my basic motion and camera angles down until I'm happy with it, and then I'd start moving to lights and clouds and glows and all the fiddly bits.

    Now, there are times when you're going to want to split elements off to other composite shots either to proxy to speed things up or because I want to isolate effects, but I tend to split things off later in the process--after basic animation, but before details. So, if you still wanted your models in a different composite, I'd right click the models,  select convert to Composite Shot, then copy my main camera into the sub-comp. In the case of the Star Wars shot here, I'd probably go ahead and finish off my planet layers and proxy that so it's ready to go, then I'd return to my ships and see if I wanted to change motion (Like if I want one of those TIE's to peel off on it's own as they approach camera, or something.) But that's only how my brain would organize this particular type of shot

    Another quick example--I'm currently doing a Doctor Who shot with some Daleks in a Camera Projected environment--I built my projection, set up my camera and did the basic animation of the Daleks in a single comp, but, after that, I split the projection and 3D models into seperate comps. I even made a completely separate comp with my Daleks just to do the cast shadows. At the moment I'm making adjustments to the projection setup itself (and a massive particle sim for weapons and explosions), but the Daleks and their cast shadows are proxied, so, once I've made changes to the projection setup and I want to see how it all comes together, I can turn on my proxies and Hitfilm won't need to re-render those elements. I'd actually neglected the proxy function in Hitfilm until about a month ago, and now that I'm finally using them I'm wondering why I dumb enough to wait so long!

    A great reference tool is this thread: where Hitfilm's Simon Jones put together a nice "master list" of tutorials from FxHome and certain tutorials from Hitfilm users. He's got this organized by topic, and the last update was August 21, so I think it's up to date. And, of course there's Hitfilm's official Youtube page: . Subscribe and see the newest tutorials as they go live.

    A lot of the tutorials on these lists go back to Hitfilms 1 and 2, but the techniques still apply in Hitfilm 3. The only real "gotcha" in the older tutorials is that Hitfilm 1 handled particle sim textures in a different way, so, if you see an old particle tutorial where, when selecting a particle texture a file browser box opens--well, that's Hitfilm 1. However, there's a specific tutorial "Introducing the new HF2 texture system," which covers how particle textures work in HF2 and 3.

    Ok, that's a lot to chew on. I'll let you get back to it. Hope this helps, and remember to post the reworked shot when you're happy with it!

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator
    edited September 2015

    There's also which organises the tutorials into a slightly more useful workflow - especially the getting started stuff for beginners.

    Regarding anti-aliasing, it does indeed depend on your GPU and your driver. For example, Macs are limited by the Apple-dictated drivers, so even if you have a kick-ass GPU in your Mac you won't be able to access the same AA options as a Windows user with the same GPU.

    32xMSAA massively impacts on render times, as you'd expect, but produced VERY slick results.

    Oh, and a quick note about the shot itself: I'd suggest removing the planet's rotation. On a shot like this you'd never see the planet actually rotating, unless the planet has a day-night-cycle of about 5 minutes. Note how in Star Wars planet's are always entirely static (partly because they're matte paintings, but also because that's more realistic).

  • edited September 2015

    Absolute ton to chew on is right! Since I'm new to HF I can tell I really need to put on my learning cap. Although there are a lot of similarities between Motion and HF, there are also many, many difference.

    @Triem23 - You're professionalism really shines. For one I like they way your head thinks about a scene.  I must confess I have been sneak peeking your work on your Youtube channel for months now and I can tell I will learn much from just watching. First on my list though will be to develop an easy work flow!

    I have noted  the 'master list' you referenced and it is definetly the place I need to start, along with the tutorials page Simon pointed out. I did subscribed to the Hitfilm channel several months ago which is actually what pushed me into purchasing the Pro version of HF.

    As for the proxies I did discover them - only thing  I see I have to do is make sure to turn them off! I must have rebuilt a scene 5 times before I figured out the proxy had a hold of the ram which made for choppy playback. Doh!

    @SimonKJones - It is very hard to swallow that a PC will outperform my Mac when it comes to a GPU! I was so looking forward to those "slick results" you speak of. None the less I do appreciate all the work the Hitfilm team is doing to create such a fine platform. I'd only wished I'd have found HF a few years back.

    I took both your advices and reworked the shot, straighten out the sideways flight path and the 5 minutes day-night cycle. I've been watching enough ISS Live that I should have know that. I'm like a kid (at 54) in a candy store at times when it comes to digital creation. Just too many cool things you can do. The last time I "really" did any digital work was back in the late 90's when I had Amiga 4000's, Video Toaster and Lightwave. I was going hard to recreate my own Babylon 5. Never happened.

    Anywho... I still have a bunch of aliasing especially front edges. A lot had to do with the globe halo, cloud deck and just too many lights. Just too bright behind and on the models. I'll probably have to step back a bit until I figure out the full capabilities and power of HF.

    Thanks for the time folks.

  • One thing about lights in Hitfilm, and this goes for material settings as well, is they do tend to be very bright. I have found in Hitfilm I get better results if the sum of all light intensities adds up to no more than 100. So, if I have four lights, key, fill, rim, ambient, my ambient might be 5, rim at 10, fill at 20, then my key is 65. A little thought makes this obvious enough I am annoyed it took me 18 months to realize it! But, of course sum light intensities greater than 100 cause overexposure! 

    Another good thing to look at it material properties for a model's diffuse and specular color. In general a white diffuse color should be taken to a mid grey (128,128,128) and spec color to a light grey (say, 200,200,200 or maybe 210). This leaves highlight headroom for flares,suns,engines, lasers, etc. 200 to 210 is my default because of having to conform to NTSC range for years (NTSC topping out at luma 235), but fibd that's still a good value for full-RGB as well. It's just a bit more highlight clipping headroom, which is good. On a similar note, I also tend to use NTSC black (16,16,16) for shadow colors and even as a background plane for space shots. This gives shadow headroom during grading/contrast so I don't clip shadows too much to 0,0,0.

    Third thing is model material "Shininess." usually I crank this up to at least 5. Lower than that and spec highlights tend to take over. 25-50 seem to be good ranges for metals. 

    My next advice is don't spend too much time thinking workflow. Current software is flexible enough there's usually several ways to do something. So think about workflow in terms of the shot you're about to do. Because a good flow for shot  A might be a bad approach for shot B. 

    Proxies shouldn't be eating RAM, but as they are lossless video the compression rate probably isn't more than 2 or 3:1. That's a hefty load on a drive data path. 

    I am tagging @Andy001z and @Aladdin4d because someone posted in the last week where to go to update GPU drivers for Mac, and I think it was one of them. 

    Otherwise, thanks for the kind words. I just try to help where I can. As said above this is a very helpful forum, and I try to glance at every post on here because I never know when someone else will casually drop a great hint! Same with tutorials. When I watched Inscape Digital's Camera Projection tutorial he had one good hint that wasn't in Simon Jones's Camera Projection tutorial! And an NxVisualStudio tutorial on Doctor Who Time Tunnels had the missing piece for my own attempts to replicate a slitscan effect. ( @SimonKJones Tony's Vortex and Slitscan tutorials really should be featured on the Movie Wall and added to your master list. Lots of great ideas in those... And the upcoming Slitscan part III tutorial will have some specific examples of specific shots to cap off the basic texture/emitter setups of the first parts... I may be biased on that particular upcoming tutorial, since I did 12 minutes of it. 

  • Updated GPU drivers for a Mac must have been @Andy001z because as far as I know all driver updates come from Apple these days. I did post about upgrading the GPU of an iMac not too long ago but that was a special case because that guy had the last model iMac that you could upgrade the GPU

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