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Bringing 4K and HDR to Anime at Netflix with Sol Levante (netflixtechblog.com)
210 points by _zhqs on April 3, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 120 comments

Rather uniquely, the project's assets are released "for download and experimentation" "to help the industry better understand 4K HDR and immersive audio in anime". Although the article doesn't say, the assets are licensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 (By-Nc-Nd) [1]. I know of only a few [2] other [3] media projects that release their source material under such permissive licenses. Although I am not personally in the market for 4K HDR media, I am pleased that Netflix seems honestly interested in improving anime's production tools and workflows, and granted such permissive access to something they paid a lot of money for, and the artists put a lot of work into.

[1] http://download.opencontent.netflix.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Sol...

[2] Blender's "Open Movies" https://cloud.blender.org/open-projects

[3] David Revoy's "Pepper and Carrot" webcomic https://www.peppercarrot.com/

Wow, seems like Blenders Open Movies push is really affecting the industry to share more assets. Seems weird of Netflix not to publicize the choice of license more, they can rightfully brag about being some of the few to publishes source material like that.

Also found more material under the opencontent domain at Netflix, interesting stuff: http://download.opencontent.netflix.com/

Why publicize something that threatens your existence?

Kudos to Production IG for doing this, but I don’t think this is indicative of CC commercial art. It’s just too contradictory in the current world we live in.

I don't think it threatens their existence (but I'm not in that industry, so hard to speak for them).

But I can imagine that if people get more experience with how the industry works before they actually join, when they do join, it'll be easier for them to get started, compared to now where the disconnect between production school and actual production is very different.

Same reason studios are starting to adopt Blender, it's so much easier to get experience and knowledge with, because you don't need to go through expensive curses to learn it.

Of course, curses help speed up the education, but it's not longer a requirement, just a helping tool.

I don't think CC threatens the livelihood of creative industries, but Netflix isn't in a creative industry. I don't think Netflix, as a publisher, wants to promote free and open licensing. Their only product is licensed content. I suppose there could still be a market for a streaming service of free content, but it isn't as safe as the way things currently work.

Maybe the service Netflix is not in the creative industry, but the production company Netflix is absolutely in the creative industry, they produce their own original content and shows. Netflix is not only a content provider but producer as well.

This is standard Commoditize Your Complement https://www.gwern.net/Complement

Yep. Netflix's complement is "content that is only/best experienced on Netflix." If they develop consumer tastes, and reduce costs, for content that is 4K and more suitable to stream than to distribute on physical media, they develop an ecosystem that becomes a natural organic sales channel.

Of course, they don't want to commoditize competitors to their complement. They're not sponsoring projects that are useful to amateur YouTubers, for instance. But enabling anime producers to move towards digital workflows is right up their alley.

If I understand correctly though, after having watched it, this is a 3m "short film"? More of an experiment, with a lot of write-ups and making-of videos which are longer than the thing itself. Makes sense to publish it openly, it seems like the main goal of this project was to promote the tech and Netflix.

I've been using an LG OLED TV to grade HDR footage in Resolve (in ACES). They don't quite hit 1000 nits but not too far off, and the colour accuracy is excellent.

Will be interesting to see what the new microled displays will be like. With those in an iPad (hopefully end of the year) you could draw directly on a HDR display.

As an aside - I wish Procreate on iOS had full on animation capabilities. The current layer per frame animation is super basic. If it had a proper timeline, rigging, tweening, maybe even pose/face driven character animation from iOS camera.. it would be amazing.

Would also be great if iOS supported professional video codecs - I think iPads could be an all-in-one solution for many animators if the OS and software was better.

End of year iPAD is rumored to be miniLED, not microLED. Vastly different tech. miniLED is just FALD/adding a few LED grids behind your LCD. microLED (uLED) is where every pixel is an LED... so it's like a non-organic version of OLED.

Yes you're correct, miniled

Within Current MicroLED Roadmap, ( which is fairly optimistic ) the chances of microLED ever becomes as cost effective as OLED within this decade is practically zero.

As much as I love the idea of MicroLED and dislike OLED due to degrading quality over time, OLED continues to have both quality improvement and cost reduction roadmap within next 4-5 years. ( And takes another few years to filter down to mainstream )

So dont expect MicroLED to be with consumer any time soon, the cost / performance hurdle set out by OLED is quite amazing, and it might well be another case where better ( OLED ) is there energy of Best ( MicroLED )

Afaik the iPad pros from 2018+ are HDR, aren’t they?

I have one and it doesn't seem like it. The iPad's display is actually pretty bad compared to the iPhone, it just happens to be capable of a higher refresh rate (but still not in Safari, sadly).

They are, but mostly in supporting wide colour gamut than actually delivering more nits of brightness.

They'll naively play back HDR content (with tone mapping as they don't get that bright), but it won't be as flashy as a TV that has so much extra power to play with. From an actual picture quality perspective you still have more graduation in dynamic range to play with though.

They're still backlit LED LCD screens with relatively low brightness and no local dimming AFAIK. They're HDR in the same way lower-end LG TVs of the past few years have been HDR, I suppose.

Can you provide the exact model?

This is a technically interesting topic, but I hope it's not the main thrust of Netflix's attempts to provide better anime.

I know this is subjective, but my enjoyment level for a given anime is unrelated to it being in 720p vs. 4k. Death Note would have been just as amazing in the 1990's, because it's all about the story. One Punch Man is just as funny at 480p.

The only existing anime I can think of that might benefit is those with high-end 3D CG battles. For example, if someone did a really decent remake of Robotech, maybe 4k would add some visual realism to the space fights.

> The only existing anime I can think of that might benefit is those with high-end 3D CG battles.

I agree - for example stuff similar to Evangelion ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdU8dyjgXU0 ).

A lot of good anime are good because they don't put a lot of effort into cutting-edge graphics but on other elements (characters, story, animation, etc) => using 4k and/or HDR might just drive up the costs without providing a real benefit.

And on top of that, some of the technological "advancements" actually make things worse. Personally I loathe the trend towards 3D-rendered "anime", artificially stuttered to make it resemble a hand-drawn animation. The only time such techniques are appropriate is when showing something mechanized. Used on regular characters, it looks terrible. Knights of Sidonia was a great show, but it looked really bad. The visually-best recent animes are ones like Devilman Crybaby that really embrace the hand-drawn medium and run with it.

what about Spirited Away?

4K makes cheaply animated content look cheap. Sometimes that's ok, other times viewers want more.

Another example outside anime is Fantasia 2000 on Disney+. That kind of content requires high fidelity. Disney+ looks and sounds bad and it harms the content.

I think it's fantastic Netflix is doing what they can to make fidelity a competitive advantage for content creators, especially the ones that can't spend as much on it.

This sounds like it could be a great inspiration for AI-based projects.

I understand that for their flagship production, they want people to draw true 4k all digital. But for most projects, I'd wager that a good AI upscaling and cleanup can take a hand-drawn paper character to a usable 4K plate.

Similarly, I don't think the contractors doing in-between frames need to work in HDR. It should be good enough to upconvert their images from SDR to HDR based on the adjacent HDR keyframes.

As for the background images, I myself already felt frustrated a few times when trying to get my 12MP SDR vacation photos displaying nicely on a 4K HDR TV, so solving that problem might even have a consumer angle.

There is actually precedent for that. Waifu2x [1] is an image upscaler for anime-style art based on deep convolutional neural networks. As far as I know, it's mostly used by people who want to upscale fan art they found on the internet. It works pretty well, though, and it (or similar) could serve as a basis for the kind of workflow you're talking about.

[1] http://waifu2x.udp.jp/

Whenever I see that name, I immediately think “oh the poorly rebranded version of NNEDI3”.

I'd say it's well branded, for the target demographic of weebs. It's also a generally memorable name.

Weebs are not the only target demographic of scalers, though. They simply lifted the work of others to associate decent image scaling with anime fandom. Importantly though, scalers shouldn't need a brand since they are not a product. They are a tool that can be implemented, and to that end "neural net edge detection" is much more informative and less likely to turn off an audience than "waifu2x". waifu2x is a product name. All it tells me is something about the publisher and their target audience.

> All it tells me is something about the publisher and their target audience.

Yeah, that their demographic is weebs... I'm not sure what your point is, but mine is that waifu2x is effectively branded, not poorly branded.

“Effectively branded” would be branding for the audience that are ripe for using the tool: almost everyone who watches video and has a high resolution screen.

I'm pretty confident that nagadomi intends for waifu2x to be used for anime fanart (they say as much) and for that, it is effectively branded.

Just because something wasn't directed at a general audience doesn't mean it was poorly branded.

waifu2x is optimized for anime.

Because of its anime upscaling success, it gained a lot of awareness and is now used in more non-photorealistic images in general, with a very decent popularity.

It was used that way before it was named waifu2x. It’s just NNEDI3.

There is also Anime4K [1]. It doesn't use machine learning though.

[1]: https://github.com/bloc97/Anime4K

waifu2x is not suited for actual anime almost at all - its upscaling is primarily trained on sharp lineart, and lineart in actual anime is generally quite soft.

Anime4K has even less going for it than waifu2x does, it's pretty much just simple warpsharping with a fancy marketing name.

Neither of these are particularly interesting as far as upscaling / remastering goes, and I'm saying that as someone who has done SD to HD anime upscaling/remastering projects from SD masters myself. And while you can get results that look pretty solid for the most part, it is ultimately still going to look like an upscale when compared to native footage. Here's a comparison with two examples:


As you can see in the second example, the upscaled nature of the SD to HD conversion is especially clear in areas where the lineart has been very tightly packed originally.

waifu2x is quite reasonable for manga though; it's quite commonly sharp lineart. I ran it on some old poor-quality jpg scanslations I had, and the results were good.

Off-topic, but now I can't even read corporate blogs because Medium is forcing me to log in. Sigh.

Same! When did they start doing that? Time to add medium to my hosts file...

Yep. It's so very dumb that it now charges you to read content.

It's a great ploy, get authors (who probably don't realise there is now a content gate) to post on your site, then start to charge visitors.

Over a year maybe? It's been awhile. Not everyone sees the gate all the time.

I think if the author pays for Medium, it doesn't force you to log in. If they are on the free plan, then Medium wants you to pay instead.

I just stopped logging in (because it saves the "free articles read this month" between sessions in a way I can't clear) and instead delete local storage every so often. Seems to work but it's super annoying.

If you use Firefox, there's a temporary container extension. It's more powerful than private mode, because it looks like a regular session, so they can't detect it's in use. It just gets wiped at the end of the session.

In this case, that only happened to me if I dismissed the blue Medium banner at the bottom of the page (on mobile). Which in itself is a truly awful dark pattern. But if you don’t dismiss it and just scroll you can read the article.

Try turning off JavaScript.

Running NoScript, and had no problems reading without logging in

the thing I can't understand is, why do people continue to have their corporate blogs on medium - because that is where the readers are yes, but I think many people come in, get the news they have read too much the past month and then not read the blog. Does medium tell the corporate blog - you had 20,000 readers, or do they tell them you had 20,000 people who wanted to read but only 2000 got to because the rest had used up their free reads.

I bet it's the first one because if it were the second I would move off of medium.

Just block JS and cookies for Medium in your browser permissions.

How many of Netflix users can actually use 4k? I use firefox so I think 720 or 1080 is the max I can get .. nice

I think you'd be surprised.

From my perspective a large proportion of people in the UK have at least one 4K TV, (unfortunately) most of which are 'smart'. Carrying apps for Netflix, Prime, BBC etc.

Add to that that the majority of houses contain a current generation games console. From my perspective 4k in the UK has permeated most age groups and economic groups.

It is easy enough for most households to obtain speeds that can support 4K in the UK. The UK (as well as most of Europe I think) don't have data caps, means there is very little concern about streaming 4K.

I think the BBC did a really good job in the earlier days of 4K in releasing fantastic sports (Olympics & Football) and nature documentaries with David Attenborough.

However, I appreciate that this is a small section of the overall Netflix user-base and based on my somewhat bias viewpoint. I'm sure there are subsets of the UK that would disagree.

>From my perspective a large proportion of people in the UK have at least one 4K TV, (unfortunately) most of which are 'smart'. Carrying apps for Netflix, Prime, BBC etc.

Having a 4K TV with Netflix won't give you 4K Netflix. You need to actually pay extra for it, about a third more.

It also gives you 4 simultaneous users with the premium plan, which I would guess most families use simply based on that.

If they’re sharing logins, maybe. I bet most families that manage to stream four things at once almost never try to do so on a single service at the same time. Can’t you still get Disney+ for about the price of upgrading to 4K Netflix? Or some-ads Hulu.

Of course, that's the point of the account to share logins, you still get your own user with your own lists, recommendations and all that. Though, Spotify handles it nicer where you can add your own account to the family group plan.

Not often, but often enough to become a nuisance with 2 TVs or so, some tablet/laptop for school work/gaming/whatever and a mobile device per person.

Yeah, I think that's about right.

>a large proportion of people in the UK have at least one 4K TV

I don't own a 4k tv, so I was interested in the actual numbers:

"ownership of ultra-high definition (‘4K’) televisions has more than doubled in the past two years, from 17% in 2017 to 35% this year"


Article from Nov 2019

I had a hard time digging up any numbers on this. As far as I can tell, Netflix doesn't seem to offer a breakdown of their subscribers. In 2018, Parks Associates (a market research and consulting company) estimated that 30% of Netflix subscribers were on the "Premium" tier [1], which is the only tier that offers 4K. That percentage may have gone up (with increased prevalence of 4K media and viewing devices) or down (with rising prices) since then, but 30% certainly represents a respectable fraction of Netflix's subscriber base.

[1] https://www.parksassociates.com/blog/article/fov2018-pr23

>30% of Netflix subscribers were on the "Premium" tier [1], which is the only tier that offers 4K.

Here the best tier is actually called the "Family" tier. Seems to suggest that the real value proposition for the 33% price increase is not 4K over 1080p, but rather being able to watch four streams at a time instead of two.

Every medium to high end TV in best buyw as 4K in 2016. By 2017 it was hard to find 1080p TVs at best buy. Today I'm fairly certain my local one doesn't have any. Why are seemingly tech-enthusiast forums and subreddits more often than not resolution luddites? It's not just here, I've seen this in a lot of tech-related internet places and the trend baffles me.

That isn't the point the OP is trying to make; they're saying, correctly, that Netflix limits the resolution to 720p/1080p in browsers like Firefox.

It's not just 4K, it's Dolby Vision as well with the extended brightness and color gamut. Well worth the money, Netflix is by far the best looking service you can get on your television.

I watch it on my 65" 4k TV.

Seems to work pretty well.

(That's apparently the average size of new TVs https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/22/giant-70-inch-tv... )

Everyone who uses it on the app on their 4k TV.

Not all of them. You have to pay more money (currently $16 / month [1]), have sufficiently fast internet, and watch content that is actually available in 4K.

[1] https://www.netflix.com/signup/planform

Your internet doesn’t even need to be terribly fast. 25Mbps should do it:


I think most households are on that plan anyway in order to get more than two streams.

720 or 1080 is enough for me on my 2011 plasma TV, in fact I think it is perfect. I find the 4K image on modern LED screens (or whatever they are called nowadays) pretty cold, non-movie like.

That doesn't make any sense. Color accuracy has nothing to do with resolution.

That might very well be the case, but I can certainly see the difference between how a plasma TV displays colors (more movie-like) and the way LED screens do (less movie-like, a lot more difficult to suspend disbelief while watching it).

One of my close friends has one of these 4K TVs and watching "Friends" (the TV show) at his home was quite eerie, it felt like all the characters were part of our room, and not in a good way. Color- and resolution- imperfections make a movie, well, more movie-like, at least for us people who got to see movies displayed on screens not very much unlike what you could see in "Cinema Paradiso" [1]

[1] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095765/

I think you're noticing the "soap opera effect" which is caused by increasing the frame rate with motion interpolation. You can normally find a way to turn it off.


I've been told that more than once, but I don't think that avoids the "perfect colours" effect.

People in here seem not to understand that some of the colours not displaying perfectly or a colour "merging" into its neighbouring screen colour is a feature, not a bug. I do not want to see all the pixels and all the colours on the screen as they are, it's as simple as that.

Your 2011 plasma is far from color-perfect. It wasn't when it was new, and it's likely degraded in 9 years.

Whatever the actual reason, my wife re-bought the DVD set of the Lord of the Rings trilogy after switching to the Blu Ray version, citing basically the same reason, and that was just DVD-resolution to 1080p. And she still goes to see them in the theater every so often when they show and thinks they look fine there. Go figure. Maybe some companies are messing with color grading and such in higher res versions, or otherwise applying some sort of filters? Like how The Matrix was made much greener after the first theatrical and first DVD release.

Mark your calendar for June 25th when the ultra 4K release comes out.

My guess is that the blu-ray release was just an early one that happened to be a poorly done transfer.

Googling around, it looks like only the extended-edition fellowship blu ray had some fairly severe color issues (much greener than every other release). That might have been part of what she picked up on.

The upgrade path from your plasma is an OLED TV, probably from LG.

And honestly it doesn’t sound like you’ve actually seen modern, not-cheap-Walmart expensive televisions these days. The color quality is incredible.

I’m not saying to run out and waste money on electronics, but there’s absolutely no way a 2011 plasma looks as good as a 4K OLED with all the modern processing technologies.

> The color quality is incredible.

I've mentioned it above, those perfect colours make a movie less movie-like for me, because said perfectness makes me harder to suspend disbelief while watching said movies, which are displayed with perfect colors. I don't dispute that today's screens display colors in a more truthful way compared to my 2011 plasma, but that doesn't help with movie watching.

This is a very old discussion among movie buffs, that's why a few movie directors that can afford if artistically and money-wise still insist on filming on 35mm (even though today's digital recording devices are a lot more closer to "reality" compared to 35mm film). It's not only because of "hipsterism" or whatever one might think to call it.

People who primarily use browsers to access Netflix will be a single digit percentage of the user base.

Firefox users will be substantially less than 1%.

This is 100% correct. Netflix is watched primarily on apps on ARM based devices like streaming boxes and smart TVs.

The tech enthusiasts that still think that Bob in accounting should use IRC instead of Slack don’t like that reality but it’s the truth.

Lots of people watch Netflix on their computers…

This is from 2018: https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/10381281/S...

I would guess computer is below 5% now. Firefox below 1% is probably correct.

> While “3D CG” anime is becoming more popular — shows like Saint Seiya and Ultraman that are generated entirely on computers by 3D artists — most anime titles are still hand drawn.

Why are these the only two options, anyway?

"2D CG" (i.e. creating libraries of 2D "paper doll" parts for each visible angle + keyframe, rigging them together using tools like Flash, and getting automatic tweening out) is apparently a relatively inexpensive process, used by shoestring-budget-per-title Western media companies like Hasbro Studios.

I think a 2DCG process may have been used a few times as a stylistic choice by Gainax (or they may have been fudging it using "2D-rotoscoped 3DCG"; not sure), but it doesn't seem like any studio has looked into it as a budget-saving technique.

Please make 4K the standard for all Youtube videos and all streaming! <3 Let's work on this together of putting quality first!

I think that's rather ambitious due to the file sizes. Plus most phones barely due 4k still.

It’s at least a nice option—I don’t own a single device that can play 4k video (and have it look any better than 1440p), but at least it’s available for people who have new televisions. YouTube downscales automatically for logical bandwidth usage.

Monitors too. There's a rise in 2k but still very few 4k monitors out there. Also even if phone's did 4k, is it really work on a 6" screen?

4k monitors have been $350 or less since 2015. I know because I got one then. There's far more 4k screens than 1440p (wrongly called 2k by some people).

I've given up on 4K and HDR with Netflix. It's just too much hassle trying to keep straight which platforms they support which features on in addition to making device purchasing choices that are least likely to fuck me when someone decides it doesn't support a fancy-enough DRM scheme or even isn't worth maintaining support for at all. Buy a streaming box, Netflix drops support. Buy a smart TV, Netflix drops support. I watch my background noise shows on Netflix but if there's a viewing experience I actually care about I download it.

Netflix has literally never dropped support of a 4K/HDR set-top box or television. Ever.

They will soon enough. I was unlucky enough to own both a Roku XD and a Vizio TV they dropped support for. Why should I have any faith at all they won't decide to sunset everything on the market today after 8K gets popular?

They'll drop devices eventually, but that's likely after a decade.

The manufacturer will drop security support a long, long time before Netflix will.

They dropped support for Vizio tvs that were only four years old.

I bought a nvdia shield a couple of years ago, it still works fine and still receive updates for it.

I bought one for plex, and it handles most codecs you can throw at it. Its almost like a mini HTPC! very happy with mine.

Download it from where?

Private filesharing sites. I don't see a moral problem with downloading content I already pay to access.

The whole proposition by Netflix is hilarious. "Hey, everyone's at home now, so enjoy your SD kthx".

If I pay for HD I expect HD, if I pay for 4k, I expect 4k. I should be able to play 4K on any device I like, even if it doesn't work properly (as I can do by downloading the MKV).

Dumb Rights Management is and has always been a failure. I expect this anime to be on torrent sites shortly. All digital media goes onto torrents, and there's very little evidence to suggest DRM 'works', it only frustrates legitimate paying consumers (and makes consumers like me put off entirely).

Maybe in some decade we'll get an actual competitor to that offered elsewhere. Mean while, I'll enjoy all the 4k/HD content I desire, without any hassle or throttling, and BS management decisions at the cost of my internet connection.

Now that's a good deal - how close can Netflix get, so far, not close enough.

Netflix hasn't lowered resolutions, they have only reduced the bitrates at the same resolution. I'm still getting my Netflix in 4K HDR, but at ~10Mbps instead of the usual ~16Mbps. You can see it a little, but it doesn't bother me (and I'm a quality nerd).

To me to reduced bitrate has made anything that moves look terrible, especially if there is a lot of movement on the screen

So, I just watched this (and you can too, it's like 3 minutes). My conclusion is that animation shouldn't happen at this high a resolution.

I mean, I watched on a Pixel 3a, so maybe I didn't get the 4k HDR goodness, but it just didn't seem to add to the experience. Didn't help that the animation was tweened art in several places. I mean, it was all this hype for what seemed to be particle effects.

Really, I think lively animation (like FLCL) or style (Cowboy Bebop or Tatami Galaxy) makes a show much better to look at and enjoyable to watch.

You watched it at one quarter of the resolution and on a tiny screen and conclude that "it just didn't seem to add to the experience"? That seems unconvincing...

There definitely are art styles that look great even at low resolution, e.g. games in cellshading look like zelda:windwaker aged really well. I am not really a fan of the art style used in sol levante, but for something like garden of words or other styles I think 4k HDR might be quite beneficial.

Seems a bit odd indeed. Here's some stuff that shows off 4k and hdr - and you test it on a screen without 4k and proper hdr? Well, no surprise you can't see any effect from 4k and hdr?

Granted the pixel reportedly has a good amoled screen - but I couldn't find any information on it handling hdr signals, beyond that it "boosts" the image (sounds much like the equivalent of audio compression/loudness for visuals).

At any rate, since people have a hard time telling the difference between full HD and 4k in blind tests, I doubt that this could be anything beyond a subtle effect anyway?

I have a 4k hdr TV here, so I'll have to try and see.

> I am not really a fan of the art style used in sol levante, but for something like garden of words or other styles I think 4k HDR might be quite beneficial.

I think the main point being made though is that style is far far more important that resolution. I would rather watch a good style at low resolution, than whatever this style was at 4K. Another way of looking at it is that 4K/HDR won't magically make your content look better if it has uninteresting style.

This is true in other mediums too. You can have a game with hyper realistic graphics like the newest CoD, but some indie game with gorgeous art direction will still look visually better.

Now, you could argue, why not both, great style and resolution! Well that could be, but from what I gathered from the blog, it seems like many of the artistic decisions were driven and constrained by their goal of having 4k/HDR content, so it seems like trying to achieve that has negatively impacted the art style. So yes, as it is, I'm happy sticking to non-4K anime.

This whole thing is also a big promotion for Netflix "technology", with behind-the-scene videos that are longer than the "movie" itself. So I'm not sure how much you can really derive from this whole thing.

>So, I just watched this (and you can too, it's like 3 minutes). My conclusion is that animation shouldn't happen at this high a resolution.

probably just depends on the type of anime you're into.

School drama and slice-of-life? Who cares about resolution past a certain point, I agree.

Mecha or technical sci-fi? I want to be able to count the bolts and read the warning labels.

> Mecha or technical sci-fi? I want to be able to count the bolts and read the warning labels.

You want to pay and wait the extra time and money it costs to have someone adding those extra bolts and labels too? Because I expect most anime is drawn with a keen sense of what you only need to hint at and get away with it.

Have you seen the Eva remaster? It’s pretty good. Also, newer series like Haikyu!! Have issues on all streaming services. Just look at the lighter beige skin tones. They look blue in some areas due to the low quality, it’s just weird. So I’m all for hq anime.

It would be a crime to watch anything directed by Shinkai Makoto (Your Name, 5 Centimeters per Second, ...) in anything less than the best possible image quality possible. "Every frame a painting" indeed !

Unfortunately even though Your Name was released on Ultra BD in Japan, the original rendering was only 1080p.

To be honest I kinda miss the grainy look of traditional cel-animated anime.

I mean, it's not really fair to judge its worth if you're not viewing it on the medium it's intended for.

On the other hand, it is a good reminder that a lot of media actually is viewed on other devices than the one it was supposedly targeted at. Indeed netflix itself is largely a company doing just this: taking movies and displaying them on laptops and phones.

So is the idea that this anime is solely for those that own a 4K screen and pay extra for the 4k stream from Netflix? Or does the remark that many people will not benefit from the new capability at all carry some weight? Indeed those without 4K devices and accounts might get suffer as the aspects they can view has been made at lower quality as a cost saving.

I agree the clips they show are a bit awkward, but it might not be intrinsic to the resolution, but rather the sudden change in workflow disrupting the artists. Maybe they will adapt over time. Hopefully it's not a tradeoff where higher resolutions result in a more difficult animation workflow.

Half of Netflix's anime productions have been cell-shaded 3D animation and frankly they look like crap. Most western cartoons have managed to keep their 2D animation looking like 2D animation so idk if it's a matter of cost or if the creators actually prefer something that looks like it was animated in Borderlands.

Now if they would start simulcasting instead of their "clever" strategy of waiting until shows finish airing and then releasing them all at once, people might actually use this service...

Netflix has > 167,000,000 subscribers [0]

[0] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/21/business/media/netflix-q4...

I think you missed the point. This is specific to anime on netflix. It's difficult to find metrics on this for obvious reasons, but I'm pretty sure people still pirate shows that they're paying for on netflix because of the simulcast problem.

I prefer 4:3 grainy shit from the 90s to a slick cg any day.

Yes I can’t stand the 3D animated anime. In fact I wish it had a different name altogether. I was super disappointed when I saw the new Altered Carbon anime was 3D

It really depends on the quality in my opinion - the bottom line is you can't replace quality and effort when making animation. 2d or 3d can both be ugly or beautiful.

For example Aggretsuko is a 2d anime but the animation is so lifeless and boring (entire scenes are just walk cycles), whereas Beastars is 3d but at the same time very expressive and much more visually interesting, dynamic and experimental.

Personally I find bad 3-D more offputting than bad 2D.

Bad 2D fades to the background of my mind's eye, allowing me to focus on the story or characters, while bad 3D manages to capture and distract my attention.

There's a whole zoo of 3D styles. From the semi-realistic look complete with SSS-shaders for skin that more resembles videogame cutscenes than your average anime (kingsglaive movie[0]) over the plasticy half-way look that has realistic lighting on flat-colored materials and outlines (e.g. altered carbon or the blame movie[1]) to productions that more closely emulate the common manga/anime style, sometimes even mixing 2D and 3D the same scene[2]

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UblcNFVVHT8 [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwy806RC2-Q [2] https://youtu.be/N-VNG8vW5RA?t=116

Attack on Titan heavily uses CGI for action sequences and dynamic camera movement. It's a fairly common technique that often goes unnoticed, but it's done very frequently in this show due to the crazy ziplining.


I believe when people are talking about 3D anime they mostly refer to the characters being done in 3D or it dominating the show in some other way. Props, cars, indoor environments, mecha and so on have often been done in CG for quite some time now. Of course context matters, a mecha fan may care more whether they're CG or handdrawn. If anything AoT is a bad example here because it makes it obvious rather than going unnoticed.

How did you find Promare? There were a few shots that I found a little jarring but I thought they did a good job of liberally making the frames more sparse.

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