Help - rendered videos are noticeably worse quality than preview

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I cannot get Camtasia to output with the clean, crisp graphics that I have added to the project and can see in the preview. To illustrate my problem I've attached a side-by-side comparison of frame from the project (please click to view full size image)

The image you can see is made up of a high resolution PNG of the watch bezel, overlaid on a screenshot of a watch app, overlaid on a high res PNG of the watch itself with transparent background, overlaid on a blur annotation, overlaid on a video clip of a forest.

The preview looks great to me - crisp and sharp and perfectly acceptable. But in the render you'll see there is serious degradation, including hideous artefacting around the watch itself, and in particular above and in the numbers of the watch bezel you will notice interpolation where it seems Camtasia has downgraded the resolution of the image considerably.

The render in the screenshot was a 1080p MP4 set to 100% quality. I've tried every perceivable  combination of file type and quality option on both Mac and Windows and I just can't seem to get any better than this.

But surely this isn't the best that Camtasia can do? Because it's just totally unacceptable.

Help?!

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Steve Lawrence

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Posted 2 weeks ago

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Joe Morgan

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You forgot to attach image. Odds are your project settings don't match your video recording and output settings.Something along that line.

You want the project dimensions,   video dimensions and output settings/dimensions to all match. If they do, you shouldn't have any problems.

It's really that simple. 60% quality should get you some pretty good results.

Regards,Joe
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Joe Morgan

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What resolution are the png's??? Camtasia has issues with Resolutions above 4096 pixels. That comes to mind.
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Steve Lawrence

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Hi Joe, the watch PNG is 1458x2000 so less than 4096 by a long way. Why would it downgrade the quality like this?
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Steve Lawrence

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Also, the isn't any problem with captured video - I'm animating images. Yes, there's a video in the background but there's no issue with the quality of that. The quality issue comes in with Camtasia rendering the image assets I've added. 
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Joe Morgan

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It shouldn't  be happening. Is it a small file? Do you mind zipping and sharing the project so I can take a look at it. I don't know If I can solve it. But I'm willing to try.
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Joe Morgan

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How are the images animated?Rotating?growing shrinking?
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Joe Morgan

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I thought it might be the blur annotation. But I don't know how it's applied and to what exactly.

Heres an example for you.

I took a 2100 x 1400 Rolex and cut it out in Photoshop. Placed it in Camtasia at 1080 x 1920.  Placed a rotation animation on it. And rendered it at 60% quality.



Even under motion. Crystal clear image.



Then I tried a blur motion animation behind it. No issues.




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Steve Lawrence

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That looks far cleaner than anything I've managed to produce. I do notice you're on the latest version of Camtasia since you have the option of 60fps, whereas I'm on Camtasia 9 - do you think this has anything to do with it?

I've attached a project (link) which includes a 4-second snippet of the overall project, including the watch sequence. If you can get it to render as cleanly as yours, I'd love to know how!

Cheers!
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Steve Lawrence

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Actually... do you mind sharing the video file from your experiment (the one in the screenshot)?
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Jay Versluis

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I'm interested to see that - regardless of image dimensions and effects - Camtasia CAN indeed produce a good quality image, as seen in Steve's preview. What I can't understand is how it can render something well during preview and deliver an inferior result during the final render. I've not seen such artefacts myself yet, so thanks for the heads up - I'll watch out for them.
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Rick Stone

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My own guess here is that we will ultimately discover that the video seen after production was likely produced and is being presented at a different size.

While Joe said the settings should match, I've not noticed any screen shots, So just to cover all the bases, when in Camtasia, you click the Canvas Options and choose Project Settings... and note the canvas dimensions.



Then when producing, click the Size tab and ensure the exact same dimensions noted above are present.



Cheers... Rick :)
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Joe Morgan

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Nice effort guys.

Okay Steve Lawrence, It's your Png. It has to many white pixels around the outside edges. This was  causing the problem.

Here's an image of the video getting ready to be rendered at 60% quality with the doctored image after I sent it through Photoshop for repairs.


Here it is after rendering playing in media player.



So if you look at this original image.Exported from Camtasia.It encompassed by stray white pixels in several areas.


I used the pen tool to clean things up.



There no point in me sending you the updated project file when all you need is the png. So just right click this image and save it to your computer.If it doesn't work for some reason.I'll get it to you another way.



Just open the group without ungrouping it and select the Smartwatch.Right click and select update media. Select the new image.You will need to scale it to 61.9% seems to be the right amount.That's what I used anyway.

Regards,Joe
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Joe Morgan

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So Steve,
I placed the watch on the timeline and exported it from Camtasia. When I should have opened the original file in Photoshop instead. So that's why the image above is scaled differently.
My Photoshop pen tool tool skills are getting rusty and needing a workout anyway.So I decided to pour a tall cup of coffee and redo your full sized image.Here it is.

It came out cleaner with sharper edges because theres no re-scaling by Camtasia introduced into the export.

That was a good looking animation you put together.Nice work.
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Joe Morgan

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I used 60% Quality and NTSC Color Mode. I thought the rendered quality was sufficient.
This is using the new image.


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Steve Lawrence

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Hi Joe

Wow, you really went the extra mile here... thank you so much for your time and effort.

It's still strange to me that the artefacting thanks to the white pixels was so much worse in the render than the preview, and I still do see the interpolation when the watch is in motion, but it's much more acceptable now.

Thanks for the kind words about the project, too :-)

Have a great day

Steve
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Joe Morgan

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You’re a skilled video editor with an eye for detail. Your small project reflects that. For that reason I'm more than glad to help. If you’re going to do a lot of work like this. Camtasia is not the best option. It’s simplistic yes, but it’s not that great at animation. As you have just experienced.

As an example, here’s a rough “Not exact” rendering ran through Premier Pro. You may want to click the Vimeo link to view at full resolution. Theres no artifacts that I detected.


Hit Film Express is a Free Program that I’m pretty sure has all the tools you need to create your animations. They sell filter packages to enhance the program separately. I’ve used the hit film express program I just don’t remember exactly all the features that come with it for free.

 https://fxhome.com/express

the full-featured program is about 400 bucks. I would probably lean towards Sony Vegas if I was going to spend that kind of money. There are other programs out there as well.

I’ve been a Premier Pro user for years and that’s my preferred choice. However, at 20 bucks a month subscription rate. And you never own the program outright. It’s not a very attractive option for many people.

I’m not suggesting you abandon Camtasia. I just think you could enhance your video work if you pick up a program to handle your heavy lifting with stuff like this. Because I don’t think you’re going to be satisfied with the artifacts that you’re seeing in your watch.

As I was writing this it hit me the Premier Pro would have no problem whatsoever with the original image. Yes the white pixels would be there. But they would be intermittently lighting up and going dark. So I went ahead and I replaced the new image I created for your use with the original one. And went ahead and rendered it for your viewing as well. As you can see in the video below. They don’t really create a problem. They don’t even stand out all that much less you look for them.



Anyway, good luck with your projects.

(Edited)
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Steve Lawrence

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Thanks, Joe. Seeing how it looks when rendered via Premier Pro was super interesting - those are the sort of results I was hoping for from Camtasia but I guess my expectations might have been out of line with reality. Again I appreciate the time you took to do that.

Hot Film Express looks great - I've just downloaded it and will have a play around. It looks impressive for free software, even some of the packs look reasonably priced.

Thanks again for your help!

Steve
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JMichaelTX

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Thanks to Steve for identifying an issue, and Joe for solving it.
Could one of you guys please provide a succinct summary for the rest of us on the issue, and how to fix it in Camtasia?

Seems like a great potential article for the TechSmith KB.

Thanks.
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Steve Lawrence

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I was seeing artefacts (distortion) around the edges of an image that I had applied animations to in Camtasia. Joe took a look at the image and found  extraneous white pixels around the edges of the image which - while being mostly unnoticeable in the preview - appeared exaggerated in the final render.

Joes kindly cleaned up the edges of the image in Photoshop and re-rendered the animation and it looked much better.
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Joe Morgan

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I think you're going to want to look at this Steve. Vegas Pro 15 for $22 dollars. It's the previous version. But it's all there, a $600.00 no screwing around editor from Humble Bundle.Legit Activation Key.https://feedback.techsmith.com/techsmith/topics/vegas-pro-15-for-only-22-get-it-while-you-can-great-...

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Joe Morgan

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Okay,

while this was a problem with a Camtasia production issue. It was rooted in a PNG image. I suspect that the watch in this image was photographed with a white background. Then extracted from the white background onto a transparent one. Whoever did the extraction, managed to leave between one and two white pixels “in general” surrounding the watch.

These white pixels contrasted with the image. During the rendering process they flashed and danced around the watch. So in a way, it’s largely a image editing error. I’ve created a short video so you can see the error for yourselves.



removing the white pixels alleviated the bulk of the rendering issues.

 If you look at the watchband in the far right enlarged image in the video. Just below it you will see the curvature of the watch. In the platinum area or whatever metal that is. You don’t get a nice steady PNG image as the watch as it is moving. You have a wavy water like motion so to speak. With pixels flowing all over the place. Primarily close to the watchband. That’s a Camtasia rendering issue. This is not uncommon with these type of renders in Camtasia. At least that’s been my experience. What Camtasia does best is record your screen and do basic animations.

But this one still boils down to, had the image been properly extracted or photographed or whatever happened here to begin with. For the most part, the animation may have been good enough to live with as is?

So in summary, with it being primarily an image problem. And one that most people are not going to run into. I don't think it necessarily falls into the category of TechSmith support articles. No it shouldn't happen, and it shouldn't be an issue. As my video demonstrates it doesn't happen in Premier Pro. I think the likelihood that many people are going to run into this is slim. Then, you need a photo editor to correct the problem. So it's another step removed from being something you correct using Camtasia.
Anyway, I think I'm comfortable leaving it at that.
Regards, Joe

Regards Joe