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Answerman - What Is DNR/DVNR, And Why Do People Hate It?


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DerekL1963
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Joined: 14 Jan 2015
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:11 pm Reply with quote
I can grok... I fight this battle with HDR in photography all the time. It's so easy to produce overslid, oversaturated images (and many people do), that HDR has gotten a very bad rep. Many folks don't even realize what the tool can do if properly used because so few people know how to properly use it. The result is a vast prejudice against it.
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professorwho



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:47 pm Reply with quote
DNR is sin
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#884745
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:56 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
While pretty much nobody appreciates video noise (unless you're specifically going for an 80s VHS look), there is absolutely no consensus in how much film grain is appropriate to leave in. Purists often want to feel like they're getting as close to the original image as possible, and often that means "the more grain, the better!"


"Purists" are so peculiar. Such a peculiar phenomenon.

Purists want the original image - which would mean more grain, but... the original... would be the real life materials - the actor, the sets, the costumes, etc. - that the camera was filming, not the camera itself. And that has no grain at all.

They want the camera more than the subject... the medium more than the substance... hmm...

I find that curious.

(And you could say, the medium is the art, but that's... not true for every artist, and even when it is true to whatever extent, it's not true the same way for every artist. So if you went back and asked each director when they were filming what they'd think on the issue, they'd... it wouldn't even be on their radar.) (e.g. this other Answerman column from a while ago about what the "right" color is for an older film, and how such a thing used to be so out of their control before digital that the concept didn't exist...)
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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:03 pm Reply with quote
#884745 wrote:
Quote:
While pretty much nobody appreciates video noise (unless you're specifically going for an 80s VHS look), there is absolutely no consensus in how much film grain is appropriate to leave in. Purists often want to feel like they're getting as close to the original image as possible, and often that means "the more grain, the better!"


"Purists" are so peculiar. Such a peculiar phenomenon.

Purists want the original image - which would mean more grain, but... the original... would be the real life materials - the actor, the sets, the costumes, etc. - that the camera was filming, not the camera itself. And that has no grain at all.


That's a bit of an odd claim since "original" usually means "as originally broadcast" (or recorded, or whatever). I have literally never seen or heard of anyone using "original" in the sense of "the actual materials used to create the broadcast" (or recorded, or whatever).

So, a bit of a strawman there I think.
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Zhou-BR



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:27 pm Reply with quote
To me, it's not just a matter of purism: if you apply too much DNR to a show that was shot on film (especially 16mm), it ends up looking blurry as hell, which bothers me a lot more than abundant film grain. I know it's subjective, but I honestly don't get why so many people prefer smeary, "smooth" video to grainy video that retains as much detail from the film source as possible.

Last edited by Zhou-BR on Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nobahn
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:41 pm Reply with quote
I like original film grain for the same reason that that I (stronlgly) oppose colorized black-&-white films ─ aesthetics.
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Zalis116
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:54 pm Reply with quote
When it comes to remastering anime from the 80s/90s and before, the audience pretty much is the old-school/purist crowd that appreciates film grain and the overall look of shows from that era. Outside of shows in the Sailor Moon/DBZ/Bebop tier of popularity, I don't see the point in trying to cater to mainstream/modern viewers. Even if they DNR the image to hell and back, it won't change anything else that the mainstream/modern crowd finds objectionable, like the general cel aesthetic, comparatively muted color palettes, art styles, character designs, outdated hairstyles/fashions, the absence of modern communication technologies that would resolve many issues... oh, and being in 4:3, in most cases.

Reducing a bit of excessive grain is fine, as a compromise -- anime viewers often get too hung up on irrelevant visual details that're mainly noticeable in still image comparisons -- but trying to go for a pristine image on pre-2000s shows is a fool's errand that only alienates the actual audience for that content.
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Coup d'État



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:34 pm Reply with quote
My problem is that noise reduction leads to inevitable detail loss. The describtion sounds basically like a Gauß-filter, which we also call the blur filter. Of course, you can then sharpen the image again in another step, but each step is more detail reduction.
What worries me here are discrepancies between frames. What is caught in one frame may not result in the same transformation in the next.
I also felt like the results of the filters should always be checked by a human eye to make sure it worked as intended.
Otherwise, we get those weird Sailor Moon screenshots I'm sure everyone has seen.
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chronos02



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:03 pm Reply with quote
I'm gona bet on some people using super strong DNR and later applying ESRGAN and people not noticing the outrageousness of the deed.

On a more serious tone, I believe the old DNR filters will soon get scrapped in favor of all these new deep learning shaders like ESRGAN, which are able to accomplish marvelous things such as:



and

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Coup d'État



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:45 pm Reply with quote
This looks nice when done on a texture or a single frame, sure.
It also takes great "artistic freedom" in how it creates a basically new texture.
Anime doesn't come in textures, though, it's single frames. Those liberties would vary from frame to frame, the result would look very strange when you put them back together as a film.
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PurpleWarrior13



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:37 pm Reply with quote
Clean digipaint anime looks fine, but if it was shot on film, it needs to look like it. The more you smooth it away, the image gets further and further away from the original source as photographed. The DBZ sets sometimes look like glass paintings, and all detail goes away whenever the image shakes rapidly. Film grain also gives an image a warmth and atmosphere not seen otherwise. The Mardock Scramble trilogy even added it artificially, most likely to give the project a darker, more intense atmosphere.

People that want everything smooth, sharp, and clean have no concept of how grain and focus can be used artistically. Some films (and anime too) intentionally choose a softer focus to compliment the atmosphere. Sometimes thick grain and a soft focus can be used to give an image a dreamlike or nostalgic quality. Sometimes it’s not just about what the camera captured. Post production is one of the biggest parts of filmmaking for a reason.
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chronos02



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:38 pm Reply with quote
Coup d'État wrote:
This looks nice when done on a texture or a single frame, sure.
It also takes great "artistic freedom" in how it creates a basically new texture.
Anime doesn't come in textures, though, it's single frames. Those liberties would vary from frame to frame, the result would look very strange when you put them back together as a film.


You're pretty much saying developers wouldn't take that into account lol. It'd obviously take a new development branch to tackle that, taking into account previous frames in order to generate something pleasent and realistic in terms of animation. Also, ESRGAN does a MUCH better job when the images are of higher resolutions, so I blieve it'd make a decent job even without having to make a branch of the project, given that most content is at least 360p, whereas most of the textures it has worked on in those examples don't even reach 64x64p.
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EricJ2



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:40 pm Reply with quote
Zhou-BR wrote:
To me, it's not just a matter of purism: if you apply to much DNR to a show that was shot on film (especially 16mm), it ends up looking blurry as hell, which bothers me a lot more than abundant film grain. I know it's subjective, but I honestly don't get why so many people prefer smeary, "smooth" video to grainy video that retains as much detail from the film source as possible.


No one who was ever around in the 90's to have SEEN a DVNR, quote-fingers, "remastering" by the early struggling US anime companies--who were the first ones trying to get a handle on This New DVD Thing long before the major studios even bothered--has ever thought it was "Fan purism". You just had to have seen the traffic accidents with your own eyes.
Before film-preservation for DVD became a thing, the first struggling DVD companies had to hash out their own trial-and-error definitions of what it meant for a title to "Look better on DVD!", and the errors were errors indeed.

Coup d'État wrote:
My problem is that noise reduction leads to inevitable detail loss. The describtion sounds basically like a Gauß-filter, which we also call the blur filter. Of course, you can then sharpen the image again in another step, but each step is more detail reduction.
What worries me here are discrepancies between frames. What is caught in one frame may not result in the same transformation in the next.
Otherwise, we get those weird Sailor Moon screenshots I'm sure everyone has seen.


I haven't (links?), but I've seen enough "Mouthless characters", blurred motion, color pumped up to Six Degrees of Orange, edges so artificially sharpened they could cut a 2 x 4, and overlapping "Ghost" images during dynamic-motion scenes to know a 90's small-company DVNR from a hundred yards on a clear day.

If the earlier post about CPM's A-Ko and AnimEigo's early UY volumes didn't get through, I repeat:
These "remasterings" were Evidence For the Prosecution that will curl your hair Shocked ...With Japanese sources, we may yet have a chance to save UY, but considering that we have now officially lost any hope of seeing a proper Discotek of "Project A-Ko" pushes DVNR from "Historical footnote" all the way into "Tragic atrocity of early animation history".
And, has been said about many historical atrocities...NEVER. AGAIN.
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ranran-001



Joined: 25 Oct 2018
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:02 pm Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:
I'm gona bet on some people using super strong DNR and later applying ESRGAN and people not noticing the outrageousness of the deed.

On a more serious tone, I believe the old DNR filters will soon get scrapped in favor of all these new deep learning shaders like ESRGAN, which are able to accomplish marvelous things such as:



and



Those are examples of filters that are used for upscaling an image, not DNR.
DNR filters remove random variations in pixel colors. Upscaling, is about adding in pixels that were not in the original image.
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configspace



Joined: 16 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2019 5:07 pm Reply with quote
DerekL1963 wrote:
#884745 wrote:
Quote:
While pretty much nobody appreciates video noise (unless you're specifically going for an 80s VHS look), there is absolutely no consensus in how much film grain is appropriate to leave in. Purists often want to feel like they're getting as close to the original image as possible, and often that means "the more grain, the better!"


"Purists" are so peculiar. Such a peculiar phenomenon.

Purists want the original image - which would mean more grain, but... the original... would be the real life materials - the actor, the sets, the costumes, etc. - that the camera was filming, not the camera itself. And that has no grain at all.


That's a bit of an odd claim since "original" usually means "as originally broadcast" (or recorded, or whatever). I have literally never seen or heard of anyone using "original" in the sense of "the actual materials used to create the broadcast" (or recorded, or whatever).

So, a bit of a strawman there I think.

I see and agree with his point, because the original here is really the source -- the animation cells themselves, not the film. The cells for the characters, foreground objects for the most part, have no grain. If you theoretically reassembled the foreground cells on original backgrounds for animation and rescanned them now in digital format, rather than refilming on old analog XX-mm camera film, you'd have zero grain. It will come out clean, stable, bright solid grain-free cel shades -- just like the cels if you've ever seen or held any, appear in front of your eyes and the artists' eyes. And hand-painted backgrounds will retain their texture without any film noise artifacts.

Clear evidence for the original aesthetic for an anime's work being non-grainy non-dull are the production artbooks containing the original key frames, concept illustrations and production art work, basically prior to filming. The print artwork is cleeeean, yet sharp, shiny and bright.

The only reason why I'm against DNR of old film scans is just due to the results simply almost always being worst with the removal and smothering of detail. However I am for judicious use of DNR with it comes to VHS, poor betamax masters, etc.
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