Best Video Codec for Line Animation

By Xah Lee. Date:

In around 1995, i worked with QuickTime animation. The movies i need to generate are illustration for math. See examples here: Hypotrochoid .

Line-drawing video in Animation codec: [../SpecialPlaneCurves_dir/Hypotrochoid_dir/]

They are line animations. The codec i've found best is Animation code and Graphics codec. Both are lossless. They are part of QuickTime.

Here is a description:

Here is what Wikipedia Animation codec say:

The Animation codec is a fast[citation needed] and lossless (if encoded at 100% quality) Quicktime video codec created by Apple Computer to enable playback of RGB video in real time without expensive hardware. It supports color depths from 1 to 32 bits, and is one of the few video codecs that supports an alpha channel. The Animation codec uses run-length encoding for compression, and as such works well for traditional 2-D animation where there are large areas of constant color, or have little change of pixels frame to frame (like screencast). For complex 3D rendered scenes or digitized film of real-world footage, it barely compresses at all and can also add visible noise at lower than 100% quality levels. It is also known by the acronym qtrle in ffmpeg, and its fourCC is ‘rle ‘. It was also declared the “winner” of a recent screencast codec shootout[1]. It is available in the FFMpeg codec suite.

They are still supported in QuickTime player, but now QuickTime X does not seem to support saving movies using these codecs.

What is my best options for resaving these type of animation with today's video tech?

Best Codec for Line Animation and Screencast

This person did a detailed comparison of ~30 codecs, each with high/mid/low compression settings.

He starts with a 426.6 MiB uncompressed video file of a computer screen recording.

For Best Video Quality

For best video quality, the best 3 are:

… All three of these look about the same. So Animation 16-bit high wins.

Considering Video Quality over Size


The next four, in continued declining order of quality, are:

If you absolutely must serve up a small file, then H.264 medium is the way to go.

Note: H.264 at High didn't make any difference in video quality.

See also: .