Review – AfterCodecs Plugin for Adobe After Effects – Natively Export x265 & ProRes
AfterCodecs is a plugin for After Effects that connects to your render queue and allows direct rendering to compressed codecs without using media encoder. The plugin supports the following:
- ProRes : LT / Proxy / Normal / HQ and even 444 that supports Alpha Channel.
- x264 : best H264/AVC implementation, outperforming both Adobe Media Encoder and QuickTime H264.
- x265 : files are 30% lighter than x264 and it also supports 8K resolution.
- x264 RGB : same as x264 but avoids YUV colorspace, best for storing separate channels in one video (UV map, Alphas…) for power users only.
The installation is easy, simply drag the .aex file to your common MediaCore folder, and once you launch the plugin from within After Effects you will need to download a ffmpeg package (the encoder that the plugin passes through to) if you don’t already have once on the PC. If you do, you can point to wherever the existing installation lies.
To use, change the format in the output module to AfterCodecs, and you will be presented with a super simple export panel where you choose your format and the options associated with it.
Here is a quick look at the results I got. First I rendered from AfterCodecs and after completion, matched the bitrate within AME’s x265 options. Since AME does not use the Constant Rate Factor option I realize this isn’t truly apples to apples, but I wanted to compare picture quality for two videos at approximately the same bitrate, as bitrate is the main deciding factor in compression quality.
And a look at a 100% crops out of the compressed x265 1080p video. Not much difference between the two images, but suprisingly in this scenario, the detail in the neck handkerchief actually comes out better using Media Encoder, for what reason I am not sure.
AfterCodecs is a plugin that delivers on the promises. The render times are significantly faster, with x264 improvements of over 20% and above 32% for x265. The quality improvement claim will be case specific.
The price is $69, and as a result I think the purchase is worth it only if you find yourself exporting compressed video from After Effects often. I do not. 99% of the time we are exporting image sequences out of AE. But – if you’re going direct to a compressed codec and using AME – this is a must have.
Visit aescripts.com to check it out.