How this part came about:
Actually, I was trying to see what happens with a different type of video in Part II, but apparently I forgot to use the sharpen filter, hence that whole part which I already completed became totally useless. In order to not let it go to waste, I decided to make a Part Ia. Anyway the findings are interesting, because it contradicts with what you've seen in Part I. And seems to make all the parts flow together nicely (and would've if I'm not truthful about how part II came about).
Continuing from Part I...
So everything is all rosy huh? At least that's what I thought before deciding to use this restore on my favourite clips to see if I can get more quality and hence enjoyment out of them. Unfortunately...
Pics before words:
The upper pic is the original, the lower pic is the restored:
Before you ask anything, yes I used lossless compression on the output file. The edges are more jagged, and yet it appears softer with less details (and noise). Does this count as better quality? Different people will have different preferences, but I'm having mixed feelings about this. Because, when played back, the restored one does look slightly cleaner, but there's also slightly less details, plus the jaggedness of the edges is visible.
So what went wrong here? One thing for sure is that the effect of this filter is negligible if using a good source. (But "good" is debatable, and this isn't exactly the cleanest nor sharpest video of this era) And we all know using enhancements generally reduces the quality (even though it may look subjectively more pleasing), hence using a filter to correct a problem that isn't too bad will bring more quality drop than quality improvement. But still, there's the strange issue of more jagged edge together with softer lines that awaits to be explained, since jagged edge is usually the product of sharpening, while softer lines are the result of noise removal and resizing.
And secondly, one definitely cannot treat Anime like cartoons (at least, in general, and for both); the lines are too thin to be processed properly resulting in the jaggedness and softening, and there are too many (small) objects/effects that are of not too contrasting colors and without edges, which tend to get covered up by the restore filter. Basically, throw in anything with too much details and everything screws up. (back to above point regarding Anime vs cartoon "in general") That's why this thing is called Cartoon Restore filter.
This should explain why the lines became jagged and yet the picture feels soft. The edges of the lines were supposed to be the result of anti-aliasing and contains useful detail, yet the restore filter regarded them as noise and removed them, causing the jaggedness. The thinner lines are even regarded as noise, or because there is too much noise surrounding the thinner lines, hence they are removed or greatly reduced.
Further AAR (After-Action-Review), perhaps using Insane Artifect Reduction is too much, but on second thought the overall effect is still negligible. So another conclusion:
Verdict #2: The MSU Cartoon Restore filter is close-to-useless or useless or even counter-productive when used with a source that is too clean with too much details
So what if I apply to it the sharpen filter which will bring out all the edge noise?
Continued in the second part of Part II. :P
W A R N I N G !
W A R N I N G !
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