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In 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training, author Aaron F. Ross demonstrates how to use this top-tier application for digital content creation, widely used in diverse industries such as architecture, industrial design, motion pictures, games and virtual worlds. This course covers modeling with polygons, curves, and subdivision surfaces, defining surface properties with materials and maps, setting up cameras and lights, animating objects, and final output rendering. Exercise files accompany the course.
So our rendering is complete, and I've got a sequence of images here in my renderoutput folder, and I've got 241 frames. As you can see, because it's a PNG, 24- bit Windows is able to build thumbnails. So I can check these out. I can even click on them and see, spot check to make sure that these are good, which they are. I am going to use QuickTime Pro to combine all these single images into a movie and compress it out to a nice lossy but good-looking format.
Then if I want, I can put that on the Web or e-mail it to someone or whatnot. So I am going to use QuickTime Pro to do that. Now I could use lots of programs to do that. Any video editing program or compositing program will have this capability, but this is just a very simple example of where I am just taking the images and stitching them together and exporting it out to a compressed format. So I'll use QuickTime Pro to do that, and you do have to have QuickTime Pro. The non-pro version or the free version doesn't have this functionality. I am going to go to the File menu and I'm going to Open Image Sequence, and I want to navigate to my image sequence, and that's actually on my desktop under Exercise Files > renderoutput > robot_ sequence, and I'll just choose the first frame, and I do need to tell QuickTime what my frame rate is, because since these are individual still frames, they don't have any implicit duration.
So I have to actually tell QuickTime what my frame rate is and either 29.97 or 30 will work fine. 3ds Max doesn't support 29.97 so the actual true frame rate of these is actually 30, so I'll do that and I'll click Open. QuickTime loads those images into memory. It'll take a moment to think about it, and now I've got a new window open. And kind of like the 3ds Max RAM Player, actually if I press Play here now I'm seeing a playback from memory.
Cool! So I am ready to export this, so I'll go to the File menu and what you don't want to do is save, ironically, because if you use the Save command here what you would end up doing is either you would create just an empty file that just had links back to the original PNGs, or you would create a mega mondo PNG file. Basically all those PNGs would then be encapsulated inside of QuickTime movie container. Neither one of those is a good result.
What I want to do actually here is export it to a completely different format. So I need to use the Export command and within QuickTime, actually I can define my file name and everything but first I want to check out the options for the export. So the default options are actually good, and I might just leave it alone. You'll see compression is H.264 and that's the current gold standard for video compression. In fact, Flash and Blu-Ray and a lot of other formats, even YouTube, uses H.264 because it's very efficient.
It'll compress this down to a very small size while preserving the image quality. But if I wanted to, I could go into the settings here and tweak this out and change it up. Maybe I'll increase the Quality up to Best. In this case, I don't want to restrict the Data Rate. If I was putting this on the Web, I might need to restrict the Data Rate to target a certain bandwidth for my users. But this is fine. I am going to leave this alone. Click back out here again and I am going to save it out to a movie file. I don't want to put it into the same folder as my PNGs because that's going to kind of pollute my assets.
So I am going to go up one step here, one level, and I'll just call this robotArm.mov. I click Save and QuickTime thinks about it for a second. It exports it out to a new file. When it's finished, I am going to want to open up my new file because what I'm seeing here in this window is not the output. This is still the input. It's the image sequence. So I want to close this window and I want to go to my output folder and there is my new file and I want to open that up.
You'll notice that it's only 2 megabytes. Double-click on that and play this back. You'll see there's a little bit of color sampling issue where it's looking kind of little bit blocky, and there is nothing I can do about that, but that's just the nature of H.264 and most video compressors are going to do that. So you can see there is a little bit of a loss in this process. By and large, H.264 is pretty good and it's only because I have this really extreme green color that it's obvious that I'm getting a little bit of artifacting.
So that's the process for rendering with the Default Scanline Renderer. You'll output an image sequence and then take it into some program, combine that to a movie, maybe edit it or composite it and finally, export it to whatever final output medium.
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