'Display Resolution' Bug — Including 90-Second Video Demo
Just watch. It's fast.
1) New Comp (1000x1000)
2) New Layer (10x10)
3) Turn off the layer's anti-aliasing.
4) Scale the layer to 2500%.
5) Change display resolutions.
At full rez or half rez, it's fine — but at third or quarter, the layer's bounding box correctly remains unchanged while the layer itself is displayed (and rendered!) at completely the wrong size.
Thank you for filing this report, and the clear video demonstrating the problem.
This is not considered a bug. After Effects is functioning as designed and we plan to make no changes to this behavior.
You can get the result you want by enabling the Continuously Rasterize switch for the solid layer.
What’s causing the layer to become larger is the combination of draft rendering, the large scaling factor, and how that is applied to the sub-sampled composition resolution.
When you change the composition resolution to be below Full, that resolution is used throughout After Effects’ rendering pipeline, all the way back to how the source of each layer is rendered. For example, if your solid is 10×10 pixels and the resolution is set to Quarter, the solid will be rendered at 2.5 × 2.5 pixels.
Since you’ve set the solid’s quality to draft mode, those pixels can’t be antialiased, so After Effects is rounding up those values and rendering this solid as 3×3. Additionally, it is aligning those pixels to the pixel grid, which can cause a small position offset.
Next, you scaled up the layer to 2500%, meaning that the 3×3 pixel layer is now 75×75 pixels. That’s fed into the overall composition render, which when complete is scaled up for screen display by 4, for the quarter resolution. The resulting size of the solid is now 300×300.
This is of course, a discrepancy from full resolution, where the resulting solid size is 250×250.
The difference here, and what you need to keep in mind with the workflow you’ve described, is that the 2500% scale being applied is not being applied to the original pixels of the layer, but the original pixels plus the rounding factor that results from combining draft mode with lowering the composition resolution.
Enabling Continuously Rasterize for the solid avoids the issue because this causes After Effects to re-rasterize the solid layer at a later point in the render pipeline, resulting in a different set of pixel calculations.
In general, we don’t recommend combining draft mode and composition resolution values other than Full as a creative tool, because of these types of issues. They should only be used to help speed up the render. At best, you should make sure to only use resolution factors that result in whole pixel values.
Also, you may want to consider using shape layers instead of a solid in this case, as they vector to being with (solids are raster layers) and are always continuously rasterized.
I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate this reply: your explanation is clear (and profoundly helpful), your shape-layer workaround seems likely to work in my case, and your tone remains kind and patient throughout.
I've given *a lot* of feedback on *a lot* of software, and this is far-and-away the best response I've ever received.
Thanks so much for taking the time.