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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Let's look a little bit more closely at the Render Queue settings. I'm going to select this main composition here and hit Command+Shift+Question Mark or Command+Shift+Forward Slash, or Ctrl+Shift+Question Mark or Ctrl+Shift+Forward Slash add this to the Render Queue, basically. There are two main settings here. There is the Render Settings area and there is the Output Module area. There is also this Output To and basically what that does is if we click this here that allows us to determine where we're going to save this file and what we're going to call it. So, nothing out of the ordinary there.
Let's go ahead and first look at the Render Settings. I'm going to go ahead and click Best Settings. This hot text right here will allow us to open up the Render Settings and see the main settings for that here. We have Quality and you'll probably want to leave this at Best. If you take this down to Draft or Wireframe, you're going to have a lower quality result. Resolution, however, is not the same thing as Quality. When it refers to Resolution, it refers to the number of pixels. So, if we say Full, it'll be full. If we say Half, then it'll tell us here that the size of our original comp is 1920x1080.
But if we render the Resolution at Half, then the final output will be 960x540. You can even take this lower if you wanted to, and you can see the original size doesn't change. But the Size we're going to output to, 640x360, does change. For now, I'm just going to leave this set to Full. Now all these other settings are pretty self-explanatory. For example, Effects. We could use the Current Settings, or we could say all effects that are on the layers, even though they might be turned off like these Effects icons. We might have turned them off. We could choose here in the Render Queue to say All of them on or maybe you don't want to render with effects right now.
It'll take too long, so just render All off. So, a lot of these things are for time saving. Let's say you want to just do a test render and maybe you're testing the compression method, which we'll talk about in the next movie, or maybe you're testing something else about the footage. You just want to test the animation like how good the speed of the animation is. You don't care about all the other fluff that's on the video to make it look good. You can play with these settings for that. The reason why I open this dialog box the most is for this, the Time Span. We can choose to render the entire length of the composition or just the Work Area Only.
By default, the Time Span is set to Work Area Only. So, if you do have a shortened work area, be aware that it's only going to render what is in that work area and not the entire composition. This is, again, great for little test renders though. If you just have a sample of your footage, you want to test a compression method, you want to test the way particles look, or something else like that. You can render just a little snippet of it and just to get a sample of what the main project is going to look like. Here we could also set the field render if we want to and set interlaced footage, or if we want to change the frame rate, we can do that here.
I'm just going to go ahead and hit Cancel for now. Also, we could open up the Output Module. This is really where the rubber meets the road. If I click the word Lossless, this will open up the Output Module. This is where we choose a format and a compression method and we're going to talk about that in the next movie. But the one thing that I want to point in this dialog box now is very important, is Audio Output. By default, Audio Output is unchecked. So, if you get everything all perfect, and you're on a deadline, you're about to render it, there is nothing worse than spending hours waiting for something to render.
Then afterwards realizing that it did not render with audio and you've got to do it all over again. That is just agonizing. As you can probably tell from the tone of my voice, I have done that far too many times, but that happens. So, just go ahead and check Audio Output if you want there to be audio in your output, and you could change the sample rate, the bit-depth and whether it's Mono or Stereo here. Also, what type of format and compression you want for your audio here. I might also point out that as you become a more advanced user of After Effects, you might want to get into color management.
You'll find the tab for Color Management here next to the main options in the Output Module settings. So, now that we've talked about the basic settings of the Render Queue, let's dig in a little bit deeper into the Output Module in the next movie, where we're going to talk a little bit about video compression.
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