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What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 06 Jan 2018, 23:14
by Forrest Crocker
Hi folks, this is Forrest Crocker. Hope y'all had a great New Year and enjoyed the holiday season! My question should be simple and anyone can tell me what they prefer in their work. My question is what is the best or most preferred measurements for their project whether animation or illustration? The reason why I ask is that some of the little gif projects I've done for animation practice seem pixelated during inking. I'd like to know the best measurement before I start on any medium, large or massive projects very soon that way I don't have to start all over modifying everything after spending so much time on it (I'm sure many of y'all have been through that horrible mess one time or another). It could be I'm just used to inches on Photoshop instead of pixel or pixel ratio in modify projects but I am still a rookie with TvPaint. Another issue the illustrations I've done after inking and coloring in Tvpaint and transfer to Photoshop for final effects seem to lose their resolution, 72 and odd measurements after transfer, I can change it in Photoshop no problem but can that be changed in TvPaint during export?

If anyone doesn't mind I'd like to hear your thoughts on this and your preferred settings for big or small projects. This way I can build a list for myself and maybe provide it to any TvPaint user that has the same problem in the future. Thank you for reading, your time and have a good weekend. 8)

The specs:

• What is your OS and its version:
Mac 10.11.6 El Capitan

• What is your OS architecture (32 or 64 bit) + CPU type and amount of RAM:
2.5 GHz intel Core i5 4 GB Ram 1600 MHz DDR3

• What is your software version:
TvPaint Animation 11 Pro

• What is your software edition (Standard or Professional)

• For the Professional Edition : What is the architecture (32 or 64 bit) ?
64 bit

• What is your Wacom (or other brand) Tablet and drivers version ?
13 inch Cintiq

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 07 Jan 2018, 00:27
by Cardin Collins
- To get a better understanding of resolution and dpi, you should read through the following threads: ... on#p103218
They should clear up any misunderstanding you may have due to your experience with Photoshop.

- If your lines are appearing "pixelated", check to see if you have AAliasing checked. I do believe the Pen Brush is UNchecked by default when TVP is first installed.

- There are already a number of preset dimensions for standard outputs, ie HDTV, 4K, Illustration, and so on. When you ask for recommendations for project size it would help to provide more context because what constitutes big or small is relative to one's intended purpose. So if you're looking for a custom setting you should describe what you intend to do so that folks don't have to guess.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 11 Jan 2018, 05:08
by Forrest Crocker
-Thank you, I'll check out the links immediately.

-And yes, you're correct. The AAliasing was unchecked.

-Do you mean the templates under new project? I think what I was looking for was an average dimension so as to not cause dimension issues for when I upload projects to youtube or for view in a digital portfolio. Sometimes an upload wont work due to odd measurements. Also because I thought that I had the dimensions too small when I noticed the lines weren't appearing smooth, from my experience with Photoshop and Sketchbook Pro that was usually a sign of small measurement or low resolution.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 11 Jan 2018, 18:13
by Animark
Hello Forrest,

every project have it's own "best resolution" settings and I think it is difficult to give some concrete hints as long as I don't know what kind of project it is. However, maybe the followings helps.

I do mostly animation projects shown at filmfestivals and on the internet. My projects have a minimum size of 1920 x 1080 px. But depending on having camera movements and so on, it can be much bigger. It's also common to work in this context with 2K or 4K resolutions.

Last year I made a big illustration for a DIN A0 print and I worked on a size of more than 14.000 pixels for the long side of the format. There are a lot dpi calculaters out there on the internet where you can calculate pixel dimensions in relation to print sizes and quality.

In general I like to work in bigger dimensions when drawing and animating, because there is more freedom for little details and smoother strokes. If I need to have small file sizes in the end - for uploading and whatever - I render my bigger projects smaller during export. Under aspects of quality it's mostly better to have a bigger sized project and render it smaller than having a too small project to render bigger.

All the best!

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 11 Jan 2018, 20:05
by D.T. Nethery
The "best size" varies , depending on the intended output . Right now I'm working on an animation project that has a final output of 2K (2048 x 1536) but it is being animated at 4K (4096 x 3072) , which allows for the final images retaining a very sharp line quality after they are down-scaled from 4K to 2K .

Keep in mind that all images generated in TVPaint are at 72 dpi (as are all computer images) . As has been mentioned numerous times on this forum, DPI only has reference to printing images , it has nothing to do with animation. For illustrations intended for printing , you should scale up the pixel dimensions to match the intended size you will print it . Here's how it is stated in the TVPaint FAQ -
DPI only matters when you're printing things out. DPI is used to indicate how dense the image resolution will be when you will print your illustration. The resolution is measured in Dots-Per-Inch, and the higher the DPI rating, the finer the detail the printer will attempt to print.

In animation, DPI resolution is usually irrelevant since you don't print animation. Worrying about DPI in an animation is like worrying about FPS (Frame per second) in an illustration.

Nevertheless, you can convert illustrations made in TVPaint Animation with most desktop publishing programs. You can also simply increase your project's resolution to match the required DPI.

For example:
A 8x10" project printed @ 72 DPI = 576 x 792 pixels
A 8x10" project printed @ 300 DPI = 2400 x 3300 pixels.
So in this case if you wanted to print your illustration to 8" x 10" , in TVPaint you should set the project pixel dimensions to 2400 x 3300 .
This pixel calculator tool can help you find the ideal size for illustration projects intended for printing: .


For television broadcast 1920 x 1080 (16:9/1.77:1 aspect ratio) is a fairly standard size for final output , but as Animark mentioned above, it's common to work over-scale . I would tend to usually work at 1.5x - to - 2x the intended output . So for 1920 x 1080 I might set my project size for 3840 x 2160 (which is 2x 1920 x 1080) . The Camera View would be set to 1920 x 1080 , so when the project is exported it will be at 1920 x 1080 , but because I'm working over-scale I can move around within that larger space and zoom-in slightly without degrading the line quality. However, if I have a scene that is planned to have a very long zoom-in range where the camera starts from a very wide view and then moves in to a very close view then I would set the project size for that shot at much higher dimensions, maybe 4x larger , so that would be 7680 x 4320 . That size would allow for a zoom-in range that is equivalent to a zoom-in from '12 Field' to '3 Field' in traditional animation . (referencing the traditional "12 Field graticule/field guide" ) , keeping the image sharp throughout the zoom range. It's pretty rare that you would need to zoom-in that tight (equivalent of '12 F' to '3F' ).
Zoom-Range_from 12F to 3F.jpg

The formula to keep in mind is that the final field of the zoom-in must equal the intended output size , so when it ends up at "3 Field" (the tightest fielding) the size must be 1920 x 1080 . Does that make sense ?

For a zoom-in that doesn't go in as tight , the original project size doesn't have to be as large. If the zoom-in range was equivalent of '12 Field' to '6 Field' then your original project size would only need to be 2x over-scale at 3840 x 2160.
Zoom-Range_from 12F to 6F.jpg
As long as you're not going any tighter than '6 Field' you can move the camera around within that space in a 3840 x 2160 project . However , for shots where the camera is locked off , then just work at the intended output size (1920 x 1080 or whatever your final output is going to be) . Even then I might tend to work at around 120% over-scale (2304 x 1296) as a rule , so in case I need to shift the artwork or re-field slightly tighter I have that leeway .

See the attached movies. The first one shows a zoom-in that goes from 7680 x 4320 (400% over scale) to 1920 x 1080 (100%) . The final movie was exported to Camera View of 1920 x 1080. Notice that in the first movie the image stays sharp for the entire range of the zoom-in.
(2.9 MiB) Downloaded 258 times
The second movie shows the same zoom-in , but the original project size is 1920 x 1080 zooming-in over the same range. Notice how by the time the camera gets to the tightest field the image has become blurry.
(2.14 MiB) Downloaded 244 times
That's the nature of working with pixels . You have to compensate for how much those pixels are going to be enlarged. In both cases the final output was the same: 1920 x 1080 , but in the first version because the original project size was 4x over-scale (7680 x 4320 ) and the camera ended up at 1920 x 1080 , the image stayed sharp .

Zoom-Range_from 12F to 3F.jpg


For theatrical exhibition 2K has been standard (although 4K is on the ascendancy , and some advocating for 8K , although for theater showings it is questionable whether anything is really gained by going over 4K . In many ways 4K or over is detrimental for drawn animation, because it shows flaws that are not visible at 2K . But that's a whole other topic ... )
For 16:9/1.77:1 aspect ratio at 2K the output size would be 2048 x 1152 . For 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio it would be similar : 2048 x 1107.

For the animated feature film 'Song of the Sea' (made with TVPaint) the files I've seen show that for scenes with a locked-off camera they worked at a size of 2304 x 1296 , with the actual Camera parameters set to 2048 x 1152 (16:9/1.77:1) . I think the extra size of 2304 x 1296 was simply to allow for some border area around the main image , to allow for minor adjustments to the compositions . For scenes with camera movement that involved zooming-in closer they would have worked at correspondingly higher dimensions in the original file size , although the camera parameters would have been at 2048 x 1152 , so the final scenes are all output to 2048 x 1152 at 16:9/1.77:1 aspect ratio. I saw this film in a theater on a very large screen and it looked gorgeous. Actually, it's very interesting to note that a film like 'Song of the Sea' doesn't have a lot of complicated camera movement. The camera is more often locked off for most scenes and something interesting happens within the scene , that is to say, the animation creates the interest , not the camera movement . Some filmmakers lack confidence and are constantly keeping their camera in motion (and for certain types of action sequences this is appropriate) but camera movement (especially inherently artificial movement like zoom-ins or zoom-outs) is too easily over-used in place of having something interesting happen in the animation . But again, that's another topic ...

I hope this gives you some clarity on the size to use for your projects.


Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 14 Jan 2018, 05:40
by Forrest Crocker
Thank you Animark and D.T.Nethery! This actually explains a lot more than I expected. Thank you for the tips, links, and examples here. Need to do some practice work with all this but I think I have my questions answered.

Thanks for replying and good luck with your projects.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 09 Mar 2018, 20:57
by toonybrain
This was a very helpful thread. I appreciate the visuals, DT Netherly. Thank you. Very helpful.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 09:04
by Catriona
This is a really helpful thread as I am just embarking on my first TVPaint project, for the BBC. The last project I did was over 10 years ago, using Painter, when delivery was still on tape. The spec they need is AS-11 UK Dpp HD so that's apparently 1080i/25. Based on D.T.Nethery's great advice I'll do it at twice that in Project with Camera (and for any extreme zooms I'll create a new project with larger dimensions). But I remember always being very confused about square and rectangular pixels and here it is again. Do I check square pixels or PAL? I'm working on a Mac. Also, for the "i" bit I understand that should be interlaced rather than progressive, so should I check "lower first" under Field?

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 09:12
by Animark
Hello Catriona,

i would animate in TVPaint with 25fps, squarepixels and progressive. In the end I would export with the BBC-TV specs (Non square pixels and interlaced). Ask your customer for the exctly settings: Pixel aspect ratio and upper or lower fields. But as longs as I did this years ago, let's wait what others will say.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 09:14
by slowtiger
Square pixels, which is "Pixel Ratio: 1.0". Everything HD is that.

Also consider whether you deliver the final broadcast tape (with sound) = unlikely, or just animation which will go into some video editor.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 09:24
by Catriona
Yes, it'll go to an editor who will package it up appropriately. So there's really no harm doing it progressive at this stage, it can be changed later? When I tried to set up the project with lower field, TVPaint more or less asked me if I was mad.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 09:33
by Animark
Yes, you can change the aspect ratio and the fields when exporting. Most important thing is to stay with the correct framerate from the beginning. Changing framerates when exporting can make some trouble.

Re: What is the best size for projects?

Posted: 23 Apr 2018, 10:27
by Catriona
thanks. on that subject, I have it set at 25fps, but I'm sure I saw somewhere that there was a way to set it on twos, so that my instances will automatically be 2 frames long?