Aegisub & Other Tools

Tools

The first thing you'll need to do is make sure your tools are in order. Typesetters will need more tools than most other roles in fansubbing and they need to be configured properly.

Here is a list of tools you will want to download:

  • Aegisub
    • It is highly recommended to use line0's builds which include Dependency Control and several critical fixes to Aegisub that have not been merged into the official application.
  • A font manager
    • Not all font managers are equal. Choose the one that works the best for you. Some important features might include:
      • Performance with large font libraries.
      • Add fonts from folders, not just installed fonts.
      • Activate fonts for use without installing.
      • Organize fonts in a meaningful way.
      • Works on your OS.
    • Free Options
    • Paid (Note: can be found free on certain websites)
  • Software for motion-tracking
    • Option 1: Mocha Pro standalone app
      • Look for it on certain websites.
      • On Windows, Mocha requires Quicktime to be installed. More information can be found here.
    • Option 2: Blender1
      • Requires a plug-in that will be discussed in a later section.
  • x264 binary2
    • Download the latest binary for your platform.
    • For example: x264-r2935-545de2f.exe for win64 not x264-10b-r2851-ba24899.exe
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
    • Look for it on certain websites.
    • Alternatively, free software like Gimp and Inkscape may be used in some circumstances.

Configuring Aegisub

NOTE: the following assumes you have installed the recommended build mentioned above.

For now, just change your settings to reflect the following. If you've made any changes previously for another fansub role, be careful not to overwrite those. When in doubt, ask someone with Aegisub experience. Settings can be accessed via View > Options or with the hotkey Alt + O.

Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 preferences 1
Image 3.1.1 - Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 preferences 1
Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 preferences 2
Image 3.1.2 - Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 preferences 2
Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 preferences 3
Image 3.1.3 - Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 preferences 3

Under File > Properties, there is an additional option for the YCbCr Matrix of the script. This option will set the color space of the script, and you will most likely be working with TV.709, or BT.709. If you are subtitling with a video present (using Video > Open Video...), this option as well as the script resolution will automatically be set to match the video source.

Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 script properties 1
Image 3.1.4 - Aegisub 8975-master-8d77da3 script properties 1

For most cases with modern fansubbing, the BT.709 color space will be used as opposed to the legacy BT.601 color space. If you want a more in-depth explanation of color matrices and how these two are different, visit Maxime Lebled's blog, but the gist of it is this: BT.601 is for Standard Definition video and BT.709 is for High Definition video3.

Manually setting the script to BT.601 could irreversibly ruin the colors of any typesetting, dialogue, or kfx already in the script. Even worse, some video renderers will read this setting from the muxed subtitles and render the video to match it.

If you are working on a DVD or something in Standard Definition, you can change this to BT.601 manually in File > Script Properties. However, not all Standard Definition video will be BT.601, so when in doubt, ask the encoder or check the source's MediaInfo if they are not available.

The "Subtitles Provider"

The recommended build of Aegisub comes pre-equipped with libass, so no manual settings change is needed. The following is a brief history of subtitle renderers.

Just a few years ago, there was a pretty clear consensus on which subtitle renderer to use for anime and softsubs. These days, not so much. It used to be that VSFilter was the only supported renderer by most fansub groups. VSFilter, being the first of its kind, is considered the original subtitle renderer. However, it was eventually replaced with xy-VSFilter, and then later replaced with xySubFilter because VSFilter and xy-vsfilter were not performing as well with the resource requirements of newer subtitles. However, VSFilter, and its derivatives xy-vsfilter and xySubFilter, only support Windows operating systems. They have often been used in codec packs4 for players we don't recommend, such as MPC-HC.

By 2015, however, xySubFilter development had come to a halt and since then, libass has made many improvements both in speed and compatibility with advanced subtitling in part due to contributions from members of the fansub community. At the end of the day, which renderer you choose is up to you, but we recommend libass. It is maintained, cross-platform, able to handle most typesetting, and has been integrated into many commercial and open-source software products. Libass is used in the cross-platform player mpv, that we recommend for all anime-viewing purposes.

Hotkeys

As you develop your skills more and begin to integrate automation scripts into your workflow, you will probably want to consider adding hotkeys to cut down on time navigating menus. These can be accessed via Interface > Hotkeys in Aegisub's Options menu. We'll let you decide on those yourself, however, and move on for now.


1. Most if not all fansubbers use Mocha for motion-tracking, but the author of the motion-tracking page prefers the free software Blender, which may be easier for some to acquire.
2. 32-bit builds on Windows may be more stable.
3. For further reading on this, visit the Wikipedia pages forStandard Definition video, High Definition video, and the BT.601 and BT.709 color spaces.
4. With the development of mpv, codec packs and player add-ons are no longer required.

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