Producing an Animation (part 3)

 

We continued working on our idents in class today – I feel like it’s going a little better now that I’ve found workarounds for some of my previous issues. I still have some work to do with the ident’s final polishing, but I’ve moved on from the blocking to smoothing out the animation.

First and foremost, we learned about batch rendering, which is further beyond the quick playblasts we’ve been using previously. In my mind, it boils down to rending out each frame as a .png file, then importing them in sequence into Adobe Premiere so that we can edit the clip and export it for viewing. We’ve got a couple weeks left to work on the idents, but I thought I had enough animated to try my hand at doing a batch render, following Matt’s instructions on his slides.

I had already set up my infinite background, my lighting, and my camera, so I was set to start looking at my render settings. While the instructional slides were useful, Matt had also mentioned a couple of other things in class that we needed to pay attention to while prepping for a batch render. Checking to see that the still renders were what I wanted to see, I had to try a few different things to get the .png files looking semi-decent.

It may be a little difficult to see, but above are the settings I used to finally get something that looked a little like the still renders – I found that it doesn’t match the look exactly, so I’m a bit confused and may ask about this when I’m in class next. I initially hadn’t realised I had the “Alpha Channel (Mask)” ticked which was making the whole scene black despite the infinite white background (and it being mentioned in the slides to untick it…). I’d also forgot to change the Renderable Camera, which was the most important thing, but eventually I got there.

After that, actually making the batch render is as simple as pie. It’s so important to make sure your project settings are in place before doing this, otherwise who knows where your renders will end up – they should be in the image folder of your project file system.

batchrenderoptions

By changing the view settings to Rendering, then going to the Render menu and clicking the options square, a Batch Render Animation window pops up. The important thing to note is that you can’t do anything further with Maya while it’s doing the batch render, since it will mess up the software very quickly. It’s easy to forget this, because it doesn’t seem like Maya will lock up and prevent you from touching anything while it’s working, you just need to keep an eye on the info bar at the bottom of the screen for when it’s finished.

However long it took to render a still of the scene (mine was around 3 seconds), you can times that by the amount of frames you’re rendering (I have 192 frames in my scene at the moment), you’ll get an idea of how long it will take to do the batch render (so it would take about 10 minutes on my computer).

Finally, it was time to open up Adobe Premiere and start a new project. I just named mine SquidIdent for now. I then had to set up the sequence with the correct settings, as below:

sequencesettings

I could then import the .png files into the project. Premiere is actually smart enough to have an image sequence option, so I only needed to choose one of the files and it would know the rest were part of it as well.

identpremiereproject

The total length of the animation as it is right now is around 7 seconds, which is only because I’ve decided I may not include the last few seconds of the larger tentacle grabbing one of the letters from the name. Instead, I’m likely going to focus the rest of my time on getting the ink reveal in place and polishing up the movement of the squid. I realised now, having seen the batch render in full, that the squid’s tentacles go through the floor a little and cut out of view. I’d like to fix that and see if I can get him moving faster off the screen, showing his fear and need to flee from whatever has scared him.

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