Remove banding in After Effects
a few possible solutions
By Rich Young | June 06, 2012
It's a bit of a mystery why there's still so much banding in TV & web graphics.
Maybe people can't preview in the appropriate color space or codec to see banding, which may be eliminated by adding the AE Noise filter (or Add Grain) at about 5% (maybe on an adjustment layer). The stuff on cable systems is subject to God knows what compression and recompression, so being conservative with gradients may be the better part of valor. If you're using the Ramp plug-in increasing Ramp Scatter may help. If the natural quadratic falloff of the Optical Flares has schmutz, Andrew Kramer says you can add contrast, to clip the subtle light falloff away from the center.
After Effects Help has an additional tip, which reinforces thinking about delivery codecs,
"Even if you're using 8-bpc footage and are creating movies in 8-bpc formats, you can obtain better results by having the project color depth set to 16 bpc or 32 bpc. Working in a higher bit depth provides higher precision for calculations and greatly reduces quantization artifacts, such as banding in gradients.
Note: Merely increasing the color depth within a project won't eliminate gradients if the output format has a low bit depth. To mitigate banding, After Effects introduces dithering of colors when the colors are converted to 8-bpc colors, including when rendering and exporting to an 8-bpc format. This dithering is not introduced for previews. To force dithering for previews, apply an 8-bpc effect that does nothing-such as the Arithmetic effect with the default values-to an adjustment layer."
For additional perspective and details on some codecs, see Color Bit Depth by JD Vandenberghe on PVC, and Adobe After Effects CS5: Colors, Channels, and Color Bit Depth from Todd Kopriva and Video2brain:
Several workarounds (creating gradients, TV vs. web) were discussed by Greyscale Gorilla in his 2009 survey; see How to Remove Banding Artifacts in After Effects:
Banding can be a problem for 3D scenes too. Advice in this area can be found in After Effects Natural Light Effects by Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer, which tackles "volumetric lighting effects, such as light rays and glows, [which] are susceptible to two common problems: They can look too synthetic, and they are prone to banding when compressed for DVDs and the web. ...Chris Meyer shows how to make light look more realistic by adding dust or swirling smoke, creating natural imperfections that help with compression. He demonstrates how to do this using stock footage of this natural phenomenon or the After Effects Fractal Noise and Turbulent Noise effects."
Even when the video is final, you may still be able to fix banding issues with a plug-in like Magic Bullet DeNoiser, AE Remove Grain, AE Channel Blur, or similar. Here's a tutorial on removing banding with Deband from GenArts Sapphire for After Effects:
Get articles like this in your inbox: Sign Up