Anti-Aliasing in Pixel-Based Animation

is a systematic study of optical correction via color and anti-aliasing. The investigation looks at anti-aliasing, the technique used to make jagged diagonal edges appear smoother, in relationship to the RGB color model of digital space. The films are simple animations created in After Effects that are then enlarged to After Effect’s maximum magnification of 6,400%. The high magnification on an animation of a small size allows us the see the subtle color changes created by anti-aliasing.

Pixels are optically corrected to appear smoother by setting pixels near the edge to intermediate colors. The color changes are so subtle that the human eye cannot detect the demarcation between the original color and the intermediate shades except through magnification. After the films are created in After Effects they are then recorded using QuickTime screen recording in order to preserve the anti-aliasing seen at the maximum magnification level. The videos are played in this website as one collective study. The eleven films that compose the study are programmatically randomized in the sequence and length. The videos can be played at ten different speeds and in any order, meaning that no two screenings of the film are alike.

The formulas used in this study start at the smallest visible pixel and go up to 50 × 50 pixels. There are three different types of videos: the static, the grow, and the overlay. Each considers their size in terms of the smallest possible on screen visibility. The static looks at squares from 10 × 10 pixels to 50 × 50 pixels. The grow looks at squares incrementally increasing in size by 0,1 × 0,1 pixels from a starting point of 0 × 0 pixels to 10 × 10 pixels. The overlay looks at the interaction of color via the overlaying of a smaller square inside of a larger square.

Formulas used
Software used