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Rendering An Animation

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This tutorial will teach you how to render a 3D animation.

Rendering

Normally when you render, you use the render view. This works fine in still images, but when rendering an animation, you have to be able to render multiple frames. The render view doesn't allow you to render multiple frames, therefore you'll use a batch render to render an animation.

Set-up

First you're going to have to open the render settings window and go to the rendering menu set. In the render settings window, set the name prefix to something relative to your scene.

Step one - Set your image format. You can render your animation directly to a .avi file (you can play it in the Windows movie player), or you can render your animation as an image sequence. This is most recommended because, if for some reason we need to cancel the batch render, you can pick up where you left off when you come back. You can't do this when you're rendering to a movie file (and this will happen). If this space is a problem, set your image format to .Jpeg. If it's not a problem, I recommend saving it as a .tif.

Step two - Set you frame/animation ext (this stands for 'extension'). If you're rendering to a .avi file, this is not important because it only generates one file. Here's how a frame extension works; let's say you're rendering a 5 - frame animation. When these files are written to your disk, it can't be all named untitled.XX. (XX means your file format, like .tif) They need to be named in sequence. So instead, set your frame extension to name_#.XX, so now your files will be named like this.

Untitled_1.XX
Untitled_2.XX
Untitled_3.XX
Untitled_4.XX
Untitled_5.XX


Maya won't let you render your animation until you set your frame extension. The most used frame extension is name#.XX. If you use this one, which is the one I recommend, your frames would look like this;

Untitled1.XX
Untitled2.XX
Untitled3.XX
Untitled4.XX
Untitled5.XX


Step three - Set your start and end frames. These attributes are pretty simple: the start frame is the first frame rendered. The batch render will render the frames until the end frame.

Step four - Set your image size. For this, it's best to use one of the presets. For most animations, use the preset PAL 768.

Since this is a basic tutorial, I won't cover the other attributes.

Now, onto batch rendering. Go to rendering>batch rendering. Click the square beside the text to open up the options. The number of processors to use: attribute is only used for if you have more than one core in your machine (Example; A dual core machine would have two). The main reason why you would only want to render an animation with less than all your cores is because you want to save the other ones for other functions on your computer (multitasking). If you check use all available processes, this will automatically use all the cores in the machine. If you intend to use this feature, avoid multitasking because of low system resources.

Where Does Your Animation Get Put?

Using the default project (a project has a list of directories where files should go and be sources), your animation would be put in on a Windows machine (C:\Documents and Settings\"Your_documents"\My Documents\maya\projects\default\images

Conclusion

This tutorial has covered the basic steps of batch rendering and animation.

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