Question about resizing for a project!

Dear colleagues, hello everyone!
I have a question about resizing for a project!
For example, I have a project, I create it in 4K (3840x2160) format. I need to make a 1920x1080 version of this project, vertical and horizontal! How do you solve such problems? Do you manually resize or use some plugins or something else? For successful creating of resizing, what should I envisage, how this project should be created, if its going to be created manually?
Another question, if I want my project to have several versions in different sizes, from what size is it better to start making the project?

What is the best and more competent way to do this?
Thanks a lot in advance!

1 Like

After Effects is outstandingly bad for this specific problem. The resolution you create your project in is the one you commit to, basically.

You can put your 4K comp in a 1080p comp and render that, but rendertimes will be roughly the same as the 4K comp. Quality will be great, though.

You can also just render at half resolution, giving you around 4x speed in the render, quality is not the best and with some plugins look may differ drastically.

Last option, as you said it, is restructuring the whole project. Some scripts try to do this, but they fail at many things one way or the other: 3D space, parenting, plugins that use 3D space, certain other plugins etc etc. In a reasonably complex project, you will have to do it by hand with a lots of adjustment.

You can decide yourself if all this extra work is justified for giving your customer better render speeds or slightly better quality as opposed to solution 1 & 2.


For the Vertical 1080x1920 version, the 4K comp is actually fine. You can drop that in the vertical comp and have the sides simply cut off. Of course you may have to realign design elements which may be cut off now.

But this is (sometimes) easier to do than restructuring a 4K project to a 1080p project natively without just resizing at the end.

1 Like

Thank you very much for your interesting thoughts!
I see that many authors make projects in 4K, Full HD, and vertical sizes for example for IGTV. Therefore, I was puzzled by this question. It is not entirely clear in this case why they are doing possibly extra work …?

In my opinion, the first and second options have a significant drawback.
If the buyer has content only in 1080p resolution, then he will have to scale all his videos twice, which will negatively affect the quality.

To adapt manually, although the most labor-intensive option, is the most versatile and high-quality. It would be nice if this could be somehow automated. But alas :slight_smile:

1 Like

These Instagram stories are not so complex, it may not be as hard to restructure them.


I was curious about your point, and did some test. Let’s see if you can tell me which of these images has been scaled up and down again, and which one is not altered:


(I admit, this is not the default look. I will explain how I did that after you guessed which is which)

1 Like

@Creattive Yes, I agree, the differences are minimal. Interestingly, in theory, I thought that even if you use sharpness, you will see artifacts from resizing. :thinking: But in practice, everything looks good.
Well, as you can imagine, I assume that you used the sharpen effect. :slightly_smiling_face:

For scaling it’s worth trying the Recursive Scale Comp script (from aescripts). This allows you to resize a comp and all of its nested comps at once.

EDIT - Yes, as @Creattive mentions, it doesn’t work with 3D effects so well.

1 Like

All scripts may have problems with complex projects, 3D layers (several authors have already warned me about this) … I think the script can only partially help …

This is how the default scaling looked, so you were totally correct. it is clear to see that the left one is the scaled one:


Now, this is a high res image and with a video in motion, I think the problem is not as drastic, but you do have a point.

The trick is not using sharpening, but actually changing After Effects quality settings. When we use a simple 2x upscale and then 2x downscale, it is best to use the lowest quality rescaling method. That is a simple pixel upscale.
We can enable this with this box::


If we set this to the pixelated line shown in the screenshot on both the image as well as on the comp, that is shrunk down, we get the result from my first post.
When using this setting with a perfect 2x upscale/2x downscale, this should result in a near perfect result. However, using this setting with not so perfect numbers, like a 66% scale for example, the other two quality settings do give us much better results. This is why After Effects prefers the other quality settings.
Using “Best Settings” as render settings, After Effects does handle the scaling differently. I first thought it sets all layers back to the supposedly “better” scaling method that results in the blurred image of above, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. We need to set the Render Setting to “Current Settings” and set the Output comp manually to Full Resolution, to have a perfect result.

Here is a comparison of all the different layer quality settings, rendered with “Current Settings”


We can see, the default (lower left) performs worse here. The highest quality method does in fact do pretty good, but I think the upper right image is still the one closest to the original.

Now here is the same comp with the same layer settings, but rendered with the “Best Settings” preset:


We can see that my suspicion that After Effects just assigns every layer the same quality setting is clearly wrong, as we have different outcomes here for our different layer settings. So the render setting “Best” is doing something under the hood that cannot really be explained. I came across this with other projects in the past, that the rendered image/video did not look exactly like the preview in AE. To essentially get what you see in the preview window, you need to set it to Current Settings.


@Creattive Thanks for the clarification! I have been working at AE for many years and have never used this feature. :slightly_smiling_face: The result is very similar to sharpening. For the sake of curiosity, I threw in a sharpen effect, the result is similar.
You convinced me that you can resize a template without losing quality. This can save tons of time in future work. Thank you! :+1:

1 Like