I've Created a WC4 HD Video Pack

ODVS

Petty Officer
First of all, I am quite impressed with the HD Upscaling Project and the results are marvelous.
I read that the WC 3 CD Rom Material is too bad for upscaling, how about using the 3DO or Playstation Version of the vids?
Thanks, Triple-B :^)

Given that even the GOG version of WC3 runs in DosBox, I suspect getting any remastered video to run in-game would be... challenging to say the least. I'm certainly happy to turn my attention to this further down the line (even if just to have remastered copies available to watch here on the website), but I think WCP is going to take precedence over that at the moment given that, as Pedro said, it would complement the Prophecy Model Upgrade pack nicely :^)

Speaking of which... (further post to follow)
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Yeah, it's doable... but the conversion is a mess... It isn't progressive scan at all really. All the CG scenes are done with standard interlacing and the live action stuff is telecined, however Prophecy mixes these two things within the same VOB (VOBs allow for variable frame rates). IF you try to solve for the interlacing, the live action will look wierd, and if you try and solve for telecine then the CG is off. It took me a while to narrow down what the heck was going on.

The best solution I came up with is to run QTGMC and double the frame rate thus preserving motion and detail. You end up with a few repeated frames but you eliminate a lot of weird artifacts and combing left over from running a standard deinterlacer. You also fix the stuttering that happens because of dropped frames. THere's also a lot of gross artifacts in the way the colors are handled on titles. Some of the dot comb removal and other temporal cleaning deals with that a bit.
Here's some progress on the WCP HD remaster

It's a somewhat convoluted process, but I got some decent results by grabbing a sample file and:
  1. Running it through Adobe After Effects to remove interlacing, standardise frame rate and sharpen the image a little
  2. Run that cleaned up footage through the AI routines and upscaling to 4K (2160p)
  3. Taking that 4K upscale and using a bicubic sampler to downscale it to Full HD 1080p, using some further FFMPEG decomb and LapSharp sharpening filters
  4. Remux the results back with the 5.1 audio from the original VOB
That's a really arduous and mostly manual process, but it has some promising results. I'm afraid the WCP VOBs just aren't as high quality as the WC4 DVD VOBs (understandably, since it was never commercially released on DVD), so the WCP remaster quality is never going to be as high as the WC4 remaster. See the comparison video here, though - I think you'll agree it's an improvement and probably worth the time and effort.

There's still some flicker/jaggies around areas of high contrast (the screens behind the CAG, her medals, parts of her uniform against the dark background) but I think these will prove un-fixable for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I think this is a pretty good improvement.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Here's some progress on the WCP HD remaster

It's a somewhat convoluted process, but I got some decent results by grabbing a sample file and:
  1. Running it through Adobe After Effects to remove interlacing, standardise frame rate and sharpen the image a little
  2. Run that cleaned up footage through the AI routines and upscaling to 4K (2160p)
  3. Taking that 4K upscale and using a bicubic sampler to downscale it to Full HD 1080p, using some further FFMPEG decomb and LapSharp sharpening filters
  4. Remux the results back with the 5.1 audio from the original VOB
That's a really arduous and mostly manual process, but it has some promising results. I'm afraid the WCP VOBs just aren't as high quality as the WC4 DVD VOBs (understandably, since it was never commercially released on DVD), so the WCP remaster quality is never going to be as high as the WC4 remaster. See the comparison video here, though - I think you'll agree it's an improvement and probably worth the time and effort.

There's still some flicker/jaggies around areas of high contrast (the screens behind the CAG, her medals, parts of her uniform against the dark background) but I think these will prove un-fixable for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I think this is a pretty good improvement.
Oh, also, I edited together a remastered HD version of the intro video that won't have the "We create worlds" strapline cut off the bottom when viewed in 16:9 :^)
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Here's some progress on the WCP HD remaster

It's a somewhat convoluted process, but I got some decent results by grabbing a sample file and:
  1. Running it through Adobe After Effects to remove interlacing, standardise frame rate and sharpen the image a little
  2. Run that cleaned up footage through the AI routines and upscaling to 4K (2160p)
  3. Taking that 4K upscale and using a bicubic sampler to downscale it to Full HD 1080p, using some further FFMPEG decomb and LapSharp sharpening filters
  4. Remux the results back with the 5.1 audio from the original VOB
That's a really arduous and mostly manual process, but it has some promising results. I'm afraid the WCP VOBs just aren't as high quality as the WC4 DVD VOBs (understandably, since it was never commercially released on DVD), so the WCP remaster quality is never going to be as high as the WC4 remaster. See the comparison video here, though - I think you'll agree it's an improvement and probably worth the time and effort.

There's still some flicker/jaggies around areas of high contrast (the screens behind the CAG, her medals, parts of her uniform against the dark background) but I think these will prove un-fixable for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I think this is a pretty good improvement.
I highly recommend not deinterlacing in after effects and figuring out QTGMC scripting with avisynth. Get a clean deinterlaced/de-telecined copy first and then do your upscaling. QTGMC does some stabilization and other magic with a ton of settings that can be experimented with thatwith at least eliminate 99.9 percent of all those awful jaggies. The problem with the way you're doing it is that any of the automatic deinterlaces just don't account for the weird deinterlacing patterns. you end up with something like i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-p-p-p-i-i-p-p-p-i-i-p-p-p-i-i-i-i-i-i-i The automatic ones will strictly work on one or the other method - deinterlace vs telecine - and don't account for the changes. .. The results end up simply "OK" . SInce telecine has an odd/even pattern you end up with the code missing which frames need work. This leads to left over combed edges on people and smudged details. Frame order when deinterlacing is super important and the mix of the two methods in the VOBs screws around with it.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
That Dolby logo along with the Origin one afterwards are the absolute worst parts of the WC4 DVD videos. Everything after that seems to be regular NTSC interlaced progressive frames, which is is night and day easier to deal with than the WCP stuff.
Absolutely - the Prophecy remasters are going to be way more complicated to achieve than WC4
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
I want to stress that the work you are doing here is freaking awesome, dont burn yourself up. No one needs these things remastered tomorrow!
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
I didn't convert everything but here's the sample (the intro) i did to narrow down settings and workflow. :

You were absolutely right, AD - I got some quite excellent results using your converted intro that you linked to. I put together one of my comparison videos, which you can view here.

I also tweaked the footage a bit. I added some more naturalistic motion blur to the CG sequences in places, and placed a 35mm film grain overlay over the live action footage. It gives the subconscious a little more granular detail to soak in as well as bringing back a bit of that WC4 cinematic "shot on 35mm film" grandeur. It's possible YouTube's compression will fuzz that out, though.
 

Pedro

Admiral
That's an amazing improvement; definitely better than I was seeing from the raw video.
wctoolbox is capable of extracting roomfiles now. Any interest in seeing what you can do with those?
There's a bunch of pre-extracted ones in the thread about it.
 

Panther1.0

Ensign
You were absolutely right, AD - I got some quite excellent results using your converted intro that you linked to. I put together one of my comparison videos, which you can view here.

I also tweaked the footage a bit. I added some more naturalistic motion blur to the CG sequences in places, and placed a 35mm film grain overlay over the live action footage. It gives the subconscious a little more granular detail to soak in as well as bringing back a bit of that WC4 cinematic "shot on 35mm film" grandeur. It's possible YouTube's compression will fuzz that out, though.
wao ! that's great, can you convert all the high res vob's like that ? is it then a simple matter of replacing the files to the new vob's in the movie folder in prophecy ?
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
You were absolutely right, AD - I got some quite excellent results using your converted intro that you linked to. I put together one of my comparison videos, which you can view here.

I also tweaked the footage a bit. I added some more naturalistic motion blur to the CG sequences in places, and placed a 35mm film grain overlay over the live action footage. It gives the subconscious a little more granular detail to soak in as well as bringing back a bit of that WC4 cinematic "shot on 35mm film" grandeur. It's possible YouTube's compression will fuzz that out, though.
Looking good. I don't know if it's your filters or my original conversion but I find there's a bit too much bluring on the skin details for my taste, but overall it's promising.


wao ! that's great, can you convert all the high res vob's like that ?
Theoretically, yes. Though it's been a while so I have to replicate the original deinterlacing process (which is currently acting up on my PC).
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
I like what I see. Very well done. When the WCP model rework is done and the videos too I think its time to pay WCP a visit again ^_^
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
That's an amazing improvement; definitely better than I was seeing from the raw video.
wctoolbox is capable of extracting roomfiles now. Any interest in seeing what you can do with those?
There's a bunch of pre-extracted ones in the thread about it.
Hi Pedro - happy to :^) Could you point me in the direction of a couple to test with?
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
wao ! that's great, can you convert all the high res vob's like that ? is it then a simple matter of replacing the files to the new vob's in the movie folder in prophecy ?
Hi Panther,

AD's helping me look into that on the Modding Discord - if at all possible, I'd like to replicate his work rather than have to ask him to do the same for every VOB in the game. It's a steep learning curve, though - what he figured out was really amazing work.
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
Looking good. I don't know if it's your filters or my original conversion but I find there's a bit too much bluring on the skin details for my taste, but overall it's promising.
Agreed, AD - I think this is mainly because your original conversion was already upscaled to 720p using a scalar/smoothing method, so I had to downscale it back to 360p (to try to get sharp edges), before upscaling to 2160p using AI, then downscaling again via scalar/bicubic to 1080p. We lost some fine detail to all that converting.

This is still a Work In Progress - once I manage to match your de-interlacing method (if I can!), I'm going to try to refine the scaling process so it doesn't go through so many conversions before final output.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Hi Pedro - any WC4 or WCP extracted rooms?
None pre-extracted, but try the wc3 tools here on the wc4 paks. I think the relevant formats might be the same
 

ODVS

Petty Officer
OK, now we're talking!

Thanks to AD for his pointers on getting the interlacing/telecine artefacts purged from the original VOBs :^)

Now I've managed to output a 29.97FPS render at the original SD resolution without all those jaggies in the way, the Deep Learning tech has a lot more to work with.

The CGI sequences are still kinda fuzzy (but they are from 1997 - you can only polish a turd so much), but the comparison shows how they're much clearer than in the source VOBs - and the live action sequences are looking much better. Once again, YouTube's choice of compression tech is masking some fine detail that's in my remastered files (skin texture in particular gets flattened on YouTube), but I think I've found the settings to get started on a full scale remaster 😄

I've done a load of research into AVISynth and FFmpeg and I've managed to write automation scripts that will apply the above settings to every WCP VOB in sequence, automatically (my workstation is crunching through them as I type). I'll then batch upscale that cleaned footage through the Deep Learning software (that's the bit that will take the most time - several days, at least), then use FFmpeg again to remux the remastered footage with the original Dolby 5.1 audio AC3 files, and we're done!
 
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