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Old 29th July 2012, 13:28   #1  |  Link
rhlee
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Proposal to improve ASS readability

Hi,

I'm amature s/w dev mucking about with a/v projects.

I would like to add an appendix to the ASS "spec", and interested to know what you guys thought about it. I know messing with standards that have been used for a long time is a bad idea, but it really addresses an issue that has been bugging me (and probably other people) for a while.

It's basically light/white text on light backgrounds, espicially with light text borders. The light borders thing seems to be more popular nowadays. An example is this:

http://i.imgur.com/o21Gx.png

It might look OK on a HDTV, but I've only got SD, so this is barely readable.

Now you can set BorderStyle=3 to give an opaque background. There are two problems with this. Firstly, this is an opaque background, which looks horrible. Secondly, the colour of the background is the same as the border, so you end up with a garish magenta background. I know you could just set the border color to black, but the border colors tend to be colour-coded to the repective speakers.

I propose adding another field. Something along the lines of "BackgroundColor", a AABBGGRR field. This would add the ability to add an unobtrusive transparent (most likely medium gray) background to the subtitles. This would not require any change to existing ass files. However players like mplayer2 that have the ability to override/append ASS styles. So this field would essentially behave like a flag on supporting players.

Please let me know what you think.

(If I get good feedback, I plan to consult with the libass maintainers and if they agree, take a shot at implmenting it myself.)


Richard
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Old 29th July 2012, 17:21   #2  |  Link
TheSkiller
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I agree with you, the existing "opaque box" option is so ugly it's useless – and it doesn't even scale properly with the text if you use horizontal and/or vertical text stretching (needed for anamorphic videos).

The only way, so far, to make such text more readable is making the outline thicker. I have quite a good amount of experience with DVD Subtitles and I dare to say, for good readability in all cases, the outline should have about the same thickness as the actual letters, maybe only very slightly less. And of course, a pink outline with a white letter is a mediocre choice.

I don't know how hard it would be to implement a proper nice box for subtitles but I'd reckon, it should be doable without touching the existing specs but rather just extending them.

Last edited by TheSkiller; 30th July 2012 at 13:21.
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Old 29th July 2012, 17:32   #3  |  Link
Keiyakusha
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better just add black shadow to the style since here shadow is very weak or none. It is better than any kind of boxes since it follows the shape of the letters. it took me around 2 mins to make such adjustment in 24 scripts. Nothing fancy, pure copypaste mostly. (did this on purpose to see how hard it is). BTW for me it is fine as it is, I don't see why you can't read it and why it is bad in SD but good in HD. Learn how to configure things in a way that subs will look the same for any resolution content.
noone will do anything with spec, don't waste your time. however messing with spec is not needed for that. what you ask is a hack since it doesn't needs to be defined in script but set by user on playback. if you really want so see some feature, your best way is to use MPC-HC's internal subtitle renderer and of course create patch yourself that will add such functionality.

Last edited by Keiyakusha; 29th July 2012 at 17:45.
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Old 30th July 2012, 23:49   #4  |  Link
rhlee
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Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated.

It turns out you can have a transparent text background. Funnily enough the transparent background is rendered by draw_opaque_box() .
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Old 31st July 2012, 08:25   #5  |  Link
TheSkiller
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Can you explain?
How to use it in ASS subtitle scripts?
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Old 1st August 2012, 00:52   #6  |  Link
rhlee
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Just set the border style to 3.

There is a dark line between the two lines as there is overlap and there is a barely noticable jitter on the top and bottom edges. The jitter is because the background is not one big rectangle, it's made of rectangles placed behind each glyph.

http://i.imgur.com/yVLMP.jpg

Also there is no text border as it is mutually exclusive with the background.
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Old 1st August 2012, 12:22   #7  |  Link
TheSkiller
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Oh, that's exactly what I meant with "opaque box" (that's what it's called within Aegisub) and it not being of any use as it doesn't scale properly with the text...
Also it's not really a rectangular box around the whole block of subtitle text, but rather a box around each line with just the length of the line, which looks ugly if there are two lines with very different lengths.
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