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The course covers Autodesk 3DS Max from the ground up, providing a thorough overview of this advanced 3D graphics and modeling package. Author Aaron F. Ross covers the 3ds Max interface and walks through common tasks such as modeling, texturing, lighting, animating, and rendering. The course is centered around real-world projects that provide designers practical examples to use with the lessons.
To save my rendered images to disk, I have to specify a file output, a location, and also an image file type. Right now I haven't done that, and if I click the Render button now, I'll actually get a warning message that says, You are rendering a sequence with no assigned file. Frames may be lost. Do you want to continue? Well actually it should say frames will be lost. It's not a question of if; it's absolute. If you render without specifying a file output, what will happen is 3ds Max will draw the images onto the screen, but then nothing will get saved on the disk.
No I don't want to continue. I'll bomb out of there. I'll scroll down in the Render Setup window and I'm looking for Render Output. And currently no file has been assigned. I'll click on the Files button here and here's where I get to define where I'm going to save to and in what format. You'll see that it has taken me directly to my current project, which is Exercise Files, and the renderoutput folder. I recommend that you create a subfolder within this.
It's a good idea to make a folder for each and every image sequence that you create. If you're doing a movie, you might have a project that has a 100 different shots in it, and if you dump those all into the same renderoutput folder, it's going to be very confusing, because you'll have thousands and thousands of files there. So I recommend that you create a subfolder and I'll call this logoAnimation. Then I'll double-click on that to go into that folder and now I need to give a file name, and I'll call this one logo, and I'll put an underscore after that.
Just for convenience sake. 3ds Max is going to append a number to the end of every frame and it's just a little bit easier to read if I put in an underscore. I'll also need to define a format. You'll see that there are a bunch of options here in the Save as type pulldown list. What's good here? Well I'll tell you what's not good, JPEG. You never want to render directly to a JPEG file unless it's just for preview purposes, like if you're doing dailies, something that's going to be reviewed, and you don't really care if it's in full production quality.
A JPEG file is always lossy-compressed, and it becomes a real problem if you take a JPEG file into a compositing program and then try to change its contrast or color or something like that. You always want to save your renders to an uncompressed or a losslessly compressed format. My favorite is actually PNG or Portable Network Graphics. Now I have not yet set the options for the PNG format. If I click the Save button, the Configuration dialog pops up.
I've already played around with this a little bit and so it's actually not at the default values. The default is in fact RGB 48 with an Alpha channel. A 48 bit file is a high-dynamic range image, and some programs won't be able to read that. I recommend that you choose RGB 24 bit. The Alpha channel is the transparency. If I was going to layer this with any other images, then I might need an Alpha channel to do that. But this one already has a background in it. I'll turn the Alpha channel off.
When I click OK, both of those dialogs close. If I need to go back in there and change those, I can click on the Files button again. And if I need to change my file format options, I can go here and click on Setup. Don't be dismayed or confused that it's grayed out. That's actually a minor bug in the program. It doesn't matter that it's grayed out. I can go ahead and click on that. I might need to do it more than once and then I can get back into that Configuration dialog. So I've set all of the options for my rendering.
I've got a file location, I've got a render size, and I've got a duration of 180 frames. It's a good idea to save your scene at this point, and I'll go ahead and click Render. 3ds Max draws the frames to the screen as we go. And that's very convenient, because we can see what's happening as it is rendering. It's also giving us some really helpful feedback here about how long it might take to render.
As we go forward, you'll see that each frame is taking longer to render because 3ds Max is calculating these Ray- traced reflections on the logo. In my test with this, it took about 20 minutes to render on my machine here at lynda.com, but this is a pretty fast machine, so your mileage may vary.
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