Using the Render Queue to batch render multiple files
Video: Using the Render Queue to batch render multiple filesWhen you're working as a motion graphics artist or even a visual effects artist, working efficiently is really important. There'll be many times in your projects where you'll have to render out multiple files or even multiple versions of the same file. That's where CINEMA 4D's Render Queue comes in. I've got four files open here and they're just simple animations. I've got a one and then if I go to the Window menu and switch to--here's a two, and I've got a three, and a four, and this is very typical of the kinds of things that you'll have to do in motion graphics.
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CINEMA 4D Essentials with Rob Garrott is a graduated introduction to this complex 3D modeling, rendering, and animation program, which breaks down into installments that can be completed within 2 hours. This installment covers the basics of rendering images and animation and compositing those elements and effects together into a single movie. Rob shows how to optimize your render settings and configure batch rendering for maximum efficiency. On the compositing side, he shows how to use the compositing tag and object buffers to create a flawless composite, and how to round-trip assets between CINEMA 4D and After Effects.
- How the CINEMA 4D render engine works
- Adjusting the render settings
- Rendering still images and animation
- Setting up multipass rendering
- Understanding the linear workflow
- Rendering and importing elements from After Effects
Using the Render Queue to batch render multiple files
When you're working as a motion graphics artist or even a visual effects artist, working efficiently is really important. There'll be many times in your projects where you'll have to render out multiple files or even multiple versions of the same file. That's where CINEMA 4D's Render Queue comes in. I've got four files open here and they're just simple animations. I've got a one and then if I go to the Window menu and switch to--here's a two, and I've got a three, and a four, and this is very typical of the kinds of things that you'll have to do in motion graphics.
A lot of times, for example, if you're working for a television station you'll have to do multiple versions, you know, Saturday Night, Coming Up Next, those kinds of versions really add up. If you can do an efficient rendering process you'll save yourself a lot of time. Let's go to the Render Queue and the way you get there is by going to the Render menu and then going to the Render Queue sub-menu. When I do that I get this Render Queue window. The Render Queue is an interface for managing your renders. It acts independently of the scenes that you have opened and it's really almost like a little mini program.
What I want to do is to load in the jobs that I want to render into this window and then I'll be able to manage both the render paths and the render process itself from this window. And before we start our Render Queue process I want to take a look at the render settings in these files. Let's close up the Render window and in Q4 here, let's go to the render settings, hit Command+B or Ctrl+B on the keyboard to bring up that window. I have two render settings in number four. I have a Still Image render setting and an Animation render setting and that's very important. We're going to use both of these in the Render Queue.
The Still Image is going to give you a 2000x1125 rendering of frame 20 of this animation. So if I go to 20 you see it's going to render this frame. The Animation render setting is going to render the entire animation 0 to 89 and it's going to do a 640x360 rendering. And it's going to save it out as a QuickTime movie. The file path that I have set here is different than what I'm going to be using for my final file path and that's on purpose. I want to show you how you can change that file path in the Render Queue.
So basically I have similar render settings in the other projects with the exception of the Still settings. Let's go to the Window menu and just check number two for example. Hit Command+B or Ctrl+B on the keyboard and you can see that they just have one render settings, so the only one that I have two render settings for is number four. So let's bring up the Render Queue again and go to the Render menu and go to Render Queue. And here in the Render Queue I'm going to go to File > Open, and I can navigate to my Exercise Files folder to the rendering, and there is my Queue 1, 2, 3, and 4. So let's grab Queue-1 and then let's add Open > Queue-2, let's go to File > Open > Queue-3 and the File > Open > Queue-4.
Now that I've got all four of these files open you can see that their status is red and it's got an error message. Now even if you're not seeing an error message on your side the most important thing to do before you start to render is to verify where the files are going. So we're going to go through each one of these files and tell it where to put the renders. And the error in most instances is that the files are going to overwrite something. Most likely it can't find the correct file path because this file path is from a different project entirely. So what I want to do for each of these is start off and change the file path.
So let's click on number one and I want to go to the Save Image dialog, and you notice I can also choose which camera I want to render from. I can also choose which render setting. Well this file only has one render setting so I'm going to go to the dialog here and change where I want it to save. So let's go to rendering, to C4D-Renders, and then I'm going to Save it, here loose in the folder. It's going to render a QuickTime movie so I'll just get one movie here in the folder. Let's hit Save, and so you can see now it's going to render that movie into that location.
And you notice that the status has changed. It no longer shows an error and it's gray. The gray means ready to go. Let's click on number two and do the same thing. Navigate the C4D-Renders and we'll do it loose in there, Save, and let's do the same thing on number three. Now for number four, number four has multiple render settings and so what I want to do is I want to set up a rendering for both the still image and the animation. So let's go to the still image and select that, and then tell it where to put it, and we'll put it loose in the folder, you can see its named 10-03-still.
Let's change that name from 10-03 and call it Four-still. And then we want to duplicate this. So if we duplicate this job we can simply hold down the Control key and drag a copy down. And this is the exact same project but now it's just copy. And so we can select that and change the render setting to Animation. And now, let's tell it where to put that animation. Let's call that, instead of 10-03-animation, let's call it Four-animation or anim for short. So now that I've set up all four of those renderings I'm ready to tell it to go ahead and render.
Now these projects don't need to be open in the background. I can actually close them all up. I'll go to the File menu and do Close All and now they're all closed up. I could even continue working during this process if I wanted to. But now I can go to the Job menu and tell it to Start Rendering. So what's going to happen is that CINEMA 4D is going to render these projects in the background, and in order to see the status of that project I have to click on it up here. Now you can see that there's the progress. I've got a progress bar and I can see which frame it's working on by looking in this little preview window.
So what the Render Queue is going to do is it's going to go through each of these one at a time. So when it finishes it's going to mark it green then uncheck it from the status column on the left. So when it hits Render Queue item number four that's just the still image, it's going to go by really quick. Now that the renderings are done, you can see that they've all been marked green and finished. If we've had any error messages at all we'd see that here. So the real purpose of the Render Queue is to allow you to be efficient. When you've got a whole bunch of renderings that you have to do being able to stack them up like this and start on rendering, and then walk away from your computer for a long time, it allows you to go do something else, or work in another application entirely, or even work in another C4D project, all while these renderings are going off in the background.
So let's go up to the Finder and see what happened. If we navigate out, let's check our C4D Renders folder and here in the rendering folder is each of the renderings that we set off. So there's One, and there's Two, and the Three, and there are each QuickTime movies and there's our Four-anime and then the Four-still frame 20. So you can see that our frame one went off without a hitch and each of them looks great. So just a recap, the whole purpose of the Render Queue is to allow you to be efficient. You can stack up a whole bunch of renders and then walk away from your computer knowing that they're going to go off without a hitch.
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