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Blender is a powerful open-source tool for 2D and 3D graphics, full-on animation, compositing, and post-production. It is used to create movies and special effects, even in HD. In Blender Essential Training, Roger Wickes offers new Blender users a thorough explanation of its interface, tools, and features. He also demonstrates practical techniques and shows how to access the online and openndash;content resources of this amazing tool. Specific 3D techniques covered include navigating in 3D space, using cameras and lights, and rendering. Roger demonstrates how to rig, animate, and composite a character over live action. Exercise files accompany the course.
When you are rendering out a long animation, you want to render to what's called an image sequence and that splits up the video into individual frames. That way if your computer crashes or half-way through the animation, you don't like what you are seeing, you can break it right there, change the animation and pick up rendering right there in the middle. If you render out to one contained file, let's say a QuickTime or an AVI file or FFmpeg file, you can't kind of cut into the middle of it or whatever and keep rendering.
So, sequence rendering is the solution. You want to render out to a static image format in a very high quality. There is a couple of very high qualities. The highest possible quality is MultiLayer, which is Blender's extension, and it's an open extension to the EXR format, which allows all of the different render passes to be saved as separate layers inside of one file. The other, next step down from that is the OpenEXR format, which allows you to save in 16 or 32-bit EXR format, which includes the Z channel and then we have PNG and Targa as the two most commonly used formats that support the Alpha channel and then of course, we have the lovely JPEG, which I wouldn't recommend using for final compositing because it does do quite a bit of compression and it reduces artifacts.
So PNG is what's called the lossless compression. It does compress the file a little bit, eliminates any wasted space and its good format for you to use. Enable RGBA and now what you want to do under the Output panel is bring this up a little bit by scrolling with the mouse wheel. What you need to do here is set in the name of a folder that contains the images that you want to render out to. In this case, I have called it just render and I have preceded it with a double-slash, so it's going to go into the folder where I have my blend file.
So, now when I click Anim, and let me interrupt this because I don't want to render out the Mask layer. It's not very visually interesting. Let me go over here to my render layers and why don't we select the Capitan render layer and we don't need to render out everything. So let me just render out from frames 10 through 58, the first two seconds. So, now when we click Anim, we are going to get the full frame rendering of the first 48 frames, as it goes through and does all its calculations, of what the image should look like in full resolution.
All right, so now that that's done rendering, now I can go over and look at these individual images. I'm going to bring up the image browser here and we are going to navigate to our exercise_files, which I have a link here on my Desktop to the exercise_files, down here under rendering and now we have this render folder here and when we dive into that render folder, we get actually those first couple of sequences when I started the test render and then we have all of our test renders as individual PNGs here.
Now, a full-length feature movie is over 9999 frames. By default, Blender will save the image file name as the frame number but we can change that, say, this is the Captain layer, but we change that and say this is the Captain layer, so I can say Captain - and then let's say 5, number signs, and press Enter. And now when do my render of let's say I'm just going to do frame 60. Now, when I do my animation of frame 60, and I'm going to go ahead and refresh this then.
So now, I have frame 60 down here at the bottom, as being saved as capt-00060, so you can go with prefixes, I believe you can also put suffixes, if you want and then the five digit sequence number, beginning with the frame number. Once you have your sequence rendered out then it's very easy to bring those into the sequencer to sequence them into your final movie and that's how you do frame rendering and frame sequence rendering in Blender.
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