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VQA Encoder v0.5 beta 2
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ugordan
Cyborg Engineer


Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 2:28 am    Post subject:   VQA Encoder v0.5 beta 2 Reply with quote

Finally, all three tools are united in one executable...

I've provided a user interface that should work, but probably has a few bugs.

You'll need ALLEG40.DLL and MSVCR71.DLL, these two were required by the previous versions so you can find them there. If it asks for something else, let me know...

EDIT: I'm providing the beta 2 version here, replacing the previous version.

I'm planning on kicking this version up to v1.0 when all the bugs are fixed as I can't think of anything else significant to implement...

As always, report any problems and bugs here.


dialog.png
 Description:
Screenshot of the VQA Enc frontend
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dialog.png



VQA Enc 0.5b2.rar
 Description:
VQA Enc v0.5 beta 2

Download
 Filename:  VQA Enc 0.5b2.rar
 Filesize:  152.46 KB
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Last edited by ugordan on Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice... are there any actual updates to the encoders as well?
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only some small updates to the old VQA encoder and UGM2VQA converter part. I noticed the latter could screw up the last few frames on occasion.

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... this is odd... I started it to encode a movie, and it simply doesn't do anything at all...

Also... I noticed the background color of the movie always turns out purple... this not only affects the fill color of movies smaller than 320x200, it also affects the filler lines in C&C95 streching. Needless to say, this looks pretty bad. an't you make sure the background color is ALWAYS black?
(The exact same problem existed in the CPS encoder from the old Mix Manager)


palette.png
 Description:
Fill color mess. Now, imagine this with a purple line every other line of pixels, and you got the C&C95 effect...
There's also some weird errros in the colors.
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palette.png



notworking.jpeg
 Description:
Been like this for 10 minutes now...
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notworking.jpeg



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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First of all, for C&C movies, set the Key value to 8, and Blocks to 2000 (or if 320x200 up to 3500).

That image you sent looks very much like the result of a true color image being mapped to a generic palette the graphics library I used creates in such cases. I can't say anymore without actually having a few input images you made. What format did you use? Did you read the readme for the 0.4 version, it also applies here, specifically the part about changing palettes.

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahh crap... I accidently saved the frames in hi-color PCX instead of the 256 color palette they had >_<

Right... I'll take a deeper look into it.

Though another weird error I noticed was the sound dropping away halfway through the movie... you got any idea what might cause that?
The wav file I used is 22050hz, 16 bit, mono.
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ugordan
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Joined: 04 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most probably an incorrect framerate. If the original video you extracted audio from was at say 30 fps and you set the VQA framerate to 15, obviously you have slowed down the video by a factor of 2 and it will naturally run out of sound data halfway through.
Setting the framerate in the encoder DOES NOT convert the frame rate, if you wish a target framerate of 15 fps, you need to drop frames in this case, this can be done with VirtualDub and RAD Video Tools.

It's a beginner's error, I already had this same discussion with TShpyer Very Happy

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christophski the great
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

where do i get MSVCR71.DLL?


error.jpg
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i also got an error
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error.jpg



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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, no... it actually only played half of the wav file I gave. I got the framerate correctly.
459 frames at 15 FPS, sound file was 30 seconds long.
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Last edited by Nyerguds on Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:11 am; edited 3 times in total

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can get MSVCR71.DLL at http://www.dll-files.com/dllindex/dll-files.shtml?msvcr71, though you obviously don't need it.

That error doesn't tell me much.
People, I need to know what formats you used, encoding settings and stuff like that. Saying it doesn't work doesn't help at all.

For chrissakes, don't make me ask for extended info!

As for this particular error, my guess would be on the avi file, which codec is it?

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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, I just made a guest post... Laughing

Nyerguds wrote:
No, no... it actually only played half of the wav file I gave. I got the framerate correctly.
459 frames at 15 FPS, sound file was 30 seconds long.


Hm... I'm puzzled then... Sound was mono, you say?

Do an experiment for me, upsample the sound to stereo and try again and tell me if it still cuts out early.

Anywayz, I'll have a look into it...

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nevermind... my audio editor apparently screwed up Confused

Sorry about that...
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phew!  Wink

So, everything checks out okay?

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CCHyper
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Joined: 07 Apr 2005

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well it worked for me fine again, no problems, its alot easyer to use then the cmd version (i like that tho, the fun on waiting to see if it came out right #Tongue) and i like it where it goes straght to VQA aswell. workss good. now we just wait for the AVI with direct sound input #Tongue, good work again

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is amazing. I managed to create a perfect RA1 format VQA of a RA1 movie that only existed for the PSX version Very Happy
http://web.syr.edu/~jjia/WWW/animation.htm
(first file, second row)

The biggest work was getting the frames from that movie...
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even getting the frames can be as simple as a couple of mouse clicks with RAD tools, especially since it remembers input settings, such as palette settings...  
Once you get into it, it can be done in a second Cool

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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyerguds wrote:
This is amazing. I managed to create a perfect RA1 format VQA of a RA1 movie that only existed for the PSX version Very Happy
http://web.syr.edu/~jjia/WWW/animation.htm
(first file, second row)

The biggest work was getting the frames from that movie...


Could you post more things of the PSX version?
Myself I would like to see the briefings of Carville.
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christophski the great
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
You can get MSVCR71.DLL at http://www.dll-files.com/dllindex/dll-files.shtml?msvcr71, though you obviously don't need it.

That error doesn't tell me much.
People, I need to know what formats you used, encoding settings and stuff like that. Saying it doesn't work doesn't help at all.

For chrissakes, don't make me ask for extended info!

As for this particular error, my guess would be on the avi file, which codec is it?

i dont know anything at all about codecs!
all i know is that it's a avi file created by 3ds max. and it's 230 frames long.
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DeathRay2K
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can check what codec it is by right-clicking on the file, selecting properties, and clicking on summary. It will be listed as 'Video compression'
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="christophski the great"]
Anonymous wrote:
Ii dont know anything at all about codecs!
all i know is that it's a avi file created by 3ds max. and it's 230 frames long.


Then it's probably uncompressed avi, especially if it's a huge file. 3ds max doesn't specifically ask for a codec, IIRC.
It also appears to produce an alpha channel and that would be my guess for the reason it's not working - 3ds max is probably writing 32 bit RGBA data instead of 24 bit RGB, the latter appears to be the only uncompressed format that works...

Reencode the movie into xvid or divx, and try again.

Also, you're not telling me enough again... Is the movie within 640x400 resolution or is it perhaps much larger? Framerate? Rolling Eyes

On a side note, I think I've come across an internal limitation of C&C Gold. I encoded a small clip of 1500 frames and created a new palette every 16 frames and the VQA worked fine in the players. C&C Gold, however crashed seconds before the movie's end.
I did a little research and found out that the game supports a maximum number of 100 palettes in a single VQA. This most likely has to do with the fact the VQP is preloaded and they can get large, so they limited the amount of memory it can have. If your VQP turns out larger than 3.13 MB, you're in for trouble...

I don't think you'll ever use up all 100 palettes like I did, especially since it impacts the VQP size largely, but I figured a warning is in order...

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Siberian GRemlin
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice, but some bugs with progressbar in process...

Please add UGM file format support for input!
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What progress bar bugs?
The UGM input is actually a good idea, I'll do that...

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DeathRay2K
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the progressar is somewhat erratic. It goes forwards, but at the same time its constantly jumping forwards and backwards. Apart from that though, this is an amazingly excellent and easy to use program! Very Happy Thanks for putting all this work into it!
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's nothing erratic about the upper progressbar, it has to do with the fact that if the encoder finds so called empty cells on each pass (if you remember this from the first versions of the encoder), it has to do some steps all over again and that's why the progress jumps backward. I could've frozen it in the current position in that case, but this is a better indicator that something's actually happening, i.e. the app hasn't frozen or something...

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ugordan
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Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I've uploaded a new version, v0.5 beta 2, you can find it in the first post, I replaced the old one there.

New features are UGM input support as requested as well as AVI sound input. You might still encounter problems with some audio formats, I've had trouble with variable bitrate mp3 soundtracks, but the rest should work.
There's still the problem of not supporting all the uncompressed AVI video formats properly, but that's a known and old issue.

The encoder now automatically counts the number of frames in the input image sequence so you don't have to set it manually.

That's it for now, if there aren't any major problems, I'm planning on releasing this as version v1.0 of the encoder.

Report problems here or at my email, as usual.

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CCHyper
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Joined: 07 Apr 2005

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yay AVI sound input #Tongue i am going top have a test now.

EDIT: the AVI useing DivX worked fine and the sound came out good aswell. UGM input also worked fine for me.

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DeathRay2K
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, development on this went so fast!

One (And I think the only) advancement that I can think of would be the ability to, with an image sequence, set the correct framerate based on an input audio file. Wink Oh, and a help file with the contents of the readme file integrated into the program might be nice as well. Smile
But seriously, this is amazing work! And it encodes so fast! This is going to be extremely well-used by the time I'm done with my Xaeon Mod campaign. Very Happy
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CCHyper
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DeathRay2K wrote:
This is going to be extremely well-used by the time I'm done with my Xaeon Mod campaign. Very Happy


lol i have encoded about 15 VQAs and i am all useing them in TS, mainly replacement of mission movies and the title movies

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see the filesize of mods and mod-campaigns suddenly raising sky-high #Tongue
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CCHyper
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lol yes, i think people who do make movies, there best idea is to do a lite and full version.

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Saberhawk
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or use XRMLS and its kickass compression ratios. #Tongue

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CCHyper
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

XRMLS? what is that?

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Saberhawk
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mod launcher with LZMA compression
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CCHyper
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i see, but i dont like mod launchers. and i have managed to find a good codec for converting AVI's and most of my movies come out under 9mb

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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TShyper wrote:
i see, but i dont like mod launchers. and i have managed to find a good codec for converting AVI's and most of my movies come out under 9mb


Hmm... By good codec you mean AVI codec or VQA encoding settings? I hope you understand the output VQA file size depends very little upon the input AVI size. If you set a bad codec for an AVI, you'll end up with a bad quality source for the encoder. You should always maximize the input quality of the AVI file, even if it means huge files and let VQA Enc and its options set the resulting file size.
The output VQA can only come close to the input AVI quality, if the input is crappy... well, you get the picture. Very Happy

This is similar to what I've seen some folks doing with mp3 files - recompressing them into a higher bitrate thinking it will produce a better quality file. It won't. Once you apply lossy compression to a file, information is irretrievably lost.

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CCHyper
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i was useing that DivX Codec, i had huge AVIs of 700mb, so i use DivX the make them to around about 9-12mb. but i thought the AVI size had to be small so that the VQA was not big Confused oh well. #Tongue

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ugordan
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only parameters that determine how large a VQA will be is the video resolution, framerate and blocks and key values.

The encoder needs raw frames anyway so it decompresses the AVI file and in the end the frame size is the same, whether you input the uncompressed AVI or compressed AVI, the only difference is in how the decompressed divx video quality will be. Feel free to use a higher quality divx/xvid, it won't hurt the encoder at all.

Another codec that I find very useful, it's lossless and can reduce the uncompressed size AVI to about 1/2 or 1/3 of the original size is the HuffYuv codec. With it you can cut down on the avi size and retain the same visual quality.
In the end, it doesn't actually matter all that much which codec you use because the VQA blockiness will overwhelm everything anyway...  Rolling Eyes

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm... this seriously isn't working at all...
I opened my task manager, and t even said it used 0% CPU... and the UGM file stayed just a couple of kb, without any further increase of filesize.

I was able to perfectly make the movie with the old method though.


One small detail bothers me though... when there's a palette switch within the sequence of 8 frames, some of the frames well be messed up because they got the wrong palette.

Can't you make a method in which you can make several UGM files for each part of the movie (with dfferent palettes), and then combine those to one VQA?


[--removed the image--]
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyerguds wrote:
hmm... this seriously isn't working at all...
I opened my task manager, and t even said it used 0% CPU... and the UGM file stayed just a couple of kb, without any further increase of filesize.

I was able to perfectly make the movie with the old method though.

One small detail bothers me though... when there's a palette switch within the sequence of 8 frames, some of the frames well be messed up because they got the wrong palette.

Can't you make a method in which you can make several UGM files for each part of the movie (with dfferent palettes), and then combine those to one VQA?


I noticed you use the old beta version, if you look at the first post, you'll find that I've uploaded the newer beta 2 version, which also remaps frames that have differing palettes (if they aren't on a 8 frame boundary) to the current palette. That fixes the issue a bit although visual outcome will vary with how much palettes differ.
I specifically noted, several times, that you should change palettes on an 8 frame (if KEY is 8, which it should be for C&C/RA1 movies) basis. That is: only changing palettes each 8,16,24,32,etc frames. If the palette is changed in the middle of a frame group, the encoder will do its best to remap the colors. Due to the nature of the VQAs it isn't possible for 8 frames to have each its own palette and making different UGM files for UGM parts won't do the trick. Even a couple of C&C movies show what happens when you change palette in the middle of a key sequence, IIRC the NOD movie with the cyberspace soldiers braking into the ion cannon system is one of those, you can at one point se the colors graying out momentarily. Also I believe AKIRA.VQA, ion cannon striking a nod base shows a similar thing.
Get the new version and see how it works out.

Also, a little friendly advice for posting dialog screenshots like this one. 150 kb JPEG for an image like that? Use PNG, man! Take a look at the size of the dialog screen I posted in the first post, less than 8 kb and it's LOSSLESS! Jpeg isn't cut out for images like this, even GIF would be a better option.
Indulge me, I'm still on 56k... Sad

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, not as if I could choose where a sudden colour change in the movie occured... one frame was dark, and the next a bright yellow flash occured, that faded to white Sad
I managed to fix it by removing a few frames from the fade-in at the beginning of the movie though.

I did download the new version... but it seems I stupidly forgot to unrar it #Mad


And, uhm... just a note there... PNG is loads heavier than jpg Confused
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyerguds wrote:
Well, not as if I could choose where a sudden colour change in the movie occured... one frame was dark, and the next a bright yellow flash occured, that faded to white Sad
I managed to fix it by removing a few frames from the fade-in at the beginning of the movie though.

And, uhm... just a note there... PNG is loads heavier than jpg Confused

Sudden color change is one thing, sudden PALETTE change is a whole different thing. Do not confuse the two. There is nothing preventing you from changing colors sudenly from frame to frame, as long as the individual colors belong to the same palette (at least on an 8 frame boundary).
You can choose when new palettes are calculated with Bink Video Tools and convert your input AVI into proper image sequences.

Oh, and, what exactly do you mean with PNG a lot "heavier" than JPG? Did you even bother to compare the file sizes of the two formats and their quality? Granted, JPEG is much better suited for natural looking images and smooth color gradients, but Windows dialogs sure don't belong into such a category.

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well yeah... the fact here was that the sudden color change made me decide to change the palette there. But anyway.. as said, it's all OK now.

And png images usually have about 150% or more of the filesize of a jpg with the same dimensions.
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ugordan
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nyerguds wrote:

And png images usually have about 150% or more of the filesize of a jpg with the same dimensions.


It all depends on the content you're encoding. If it's photorealistic renderings or natural images, of course JPEG is better suited for the task. I am simply stating that when posting Windows screenshots like that, you'll get a MUCH smaller size and better quality with PNG than JPEG. Compare your 160 kb screenshot to my 7.7 kb screenshot (granted yours is twice the horizontal size, but nonetheless) and you get the picture. In the end JPEG blurred out the text if you look a bit closely.
Different formats exist for different tasks and it's key to pick the one that suits best for the purpose.

But enough of that OT stuff...

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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right... this thing is really awesome. Right now I'm involved in a small project to convert all new movies of the PSX version of RA1 ('Retaliation') to VQA format.

There's briefings for CS and AM missions, and movies of the AM units. Really amazing Smile
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Nyerguds
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm... ok, time to post a REAL problem...

I got a 'buffer overrun' error popping up while encoding a C&C1 type movie. It happened at the end of the creation of its first codebook.

Since then, the error keeps popping up, even with sets of frames I had successfully encoded before...

I've even rebooted my PC, and the error STILL appears Sad

Can anyone please tell me how to fix this? I can't encode C&C1/RA1 movies anymore Sad

The problem does not appear when encoding TS movies though.


buffer.png
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ugordan
Cyborg Engineer


Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm... Did you do any updates to the system, newer versions of the required DLLs?
Did you try re-downloading the whole encoder?

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Nyerguds
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Joined: 24 May 2004
Location: Flanders (Be) Posts:300000001

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2005 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't done any updates afaik.
I tried re-downloading the encoder, but even the old command line version gives the same error Sad

[edit]
oh wait... Dawn of War contains MSVCR71.DLL... maybe that could be the problem? Confused

[edit again]
I re-downloaded msvcr71.dll from the url in the readme, but the error still pops up Sad

[edit yet again]
The 2 DLL's are the same version. I compared them with a file comparison tool, and there's no difference... so it's not the DLL's

Meh. I've been considering reinstalling my XP anyway. If after the reinstall, I get the same error trying to convert that same set of frames that started this mess, I'll just throw them out the window, reinstall XP again and work on other vids.
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Nyerguds
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Joined: 24 May 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems that reinstalling some codecs mysteriously fixed it.

Anyway... is there a way to simply implement a VQA as frames input? I mean, just making it so that you select a VQA, and a WAV file, and merge the 2 together to a new VQA? That would be really handy, since I'm uncensoring the german movies, and basically it's nothing more than pasting the (edited) german sound stream on the English movie.

Isn't that the same as doing it from ugm files, or am I mistaken?

[edit]
Also, could you make a function to only write a VQP for an existing
VQA movie? (like, if you enable AVI sound when selecting a VQA as
input)
I found a bunch of C&C movies (from the Sega saturn version, and a
very old & awesome C&C1 preview movie) which don't have VQP's. Up
until now I made these VQP's by reconverting the VQA, but that seems
like a lot of trouble...
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micky-p
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Joined: 27 May 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I attempt to convert my AVI movie I get the result you see in the third pic, the first pic is what it should look like and the 2nd is what the settings I used are.
Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?
I did convert the video into 15 fps


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ugordan
Cyborg Engineer


Joined: 04 Jul 2005
Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

micky-p wrote:
When I attempt to convert my AVI movie I get the result you see in the third pic, the first pic is what it should look like and the 2nd is what the settings I used are.
Any ideas on what I'm doing wrong?
I did convert the video into 15 fps

Hm... What player are you using to view the result? Is that an ingame screenshot (if so, what game) and if it's from one of the players, which one?
Is the source avi file small enough you could upload it somewhere for me to take a crack at?

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