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Batch rendering a turnable animation

From: Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya

Video: Batch rendering a turnable animation

One presentation render is great, but to really show off your work you'll want people to see it from all angles. A turntable is an effective way to get this done. We'll be using simple keyframe animation to turn the model around. I want the turntable animation to take place over 300 frames. The exact number isn't all that important, but 300 frames is about a good amount of time to make the turntable turnaround. So let's go down here and double- click and put 300 into this box. This changes the playback range to 300 frames.

Batch rendering a turnable animation

One presentation render is great, but to really show off your work you'll want people to see it from all angles. A turntable is an effective way to get this done. We'll be using simple keyframe animation to turn the model around. I want the turntable animation to take place over 300 frames. The exact number isn't all that important, but 300 frames is about a good amount of time to make the turntable turnaround. So let's go down here and double- click and put 300 into this box. This changes the playback range to 300 frames.

So right now we're on the very first frame, which is good, and let's click on the ground. Everything is parented to the ground, so all we need to do is rotate the ground and everything else will rotate along with it. Now let's go to the Channel box, so we can see the translation options. Now we want to rotate this in the Y- axis, so I'm going to hold down the right mouse button and go up to Key Selected. Notice that this turns red that means that there is currently a keyframe on this frame and over here there's a red tick, which means that there's a keyframe here as well, and we just need to go to the last frame and we need to change the rotation value to 360 degree.

Now I want to put a keyframe here as well, so hold down the right mouse button on Rotate Y and go up to Key Selected. All right, let's deselect the ground and see if this worked, go ahead and hit Play here. Looks good, let's just bring this back to the first frame. There are a few more things to setup. Let's go to the Viewport menu and go down to Camera Settings and click Resolution Gate, Camera Settings and Resolution Gate.

This helps you to see exactly what will be rendered. Now let's scrub through the animation. This helps you to make sure that during the turntable, everything stays in frame for the whole cycle. Now it looks like right about here the tip of the tail just touches the top of that, and that's kind of awkward, so I want to zoom the camera out just a little bit so that that doesn't happen. All right, that's looking better. Now notice when you click Play, it goes kind of fast.

That's because it's not playing back in real-time. So I'm actually going to right-click on the Play button, go to Playback Speed and go to Real-time, now let's see what happens. Okay that's a much more natural speed. We're going to be rendering out a sequence of images for the animation with each frame in a separate numbered file, so let's go to our Render Settings to set that up. In the Common tab, let's give the renders a name.

So under File Output, I'm just going to click in this box and call it turntable. It could be called anything really. And the Image format, I want to change this to PNG, I like PNG because it has lossless compression and it also gives you transparency. Now let's click on Frame/Animation extension. This is basically where you can pick from a series of options that combines the name with the frame number, and it really doesn't matter exactly which one you choose here.

I kind of like this one because you get the name, which will be turntable, then underscore and then the number of the frame. It's just easy to keep track of this way. And then I like to change Frame padding to three. Now watch what happens up here when I change Frame padding. This makes it so the frames will be in order, if you look at them in your Windows Explorer or in your Mac Finder. Okay, further down let's look at Frame Range. We want to render the entire turntable, so we want to start at frame 1, which is good, and let's end at frame 299.

Now we're not going to render all the way to 300, because after the 360 degree of rotation, the last frame is the same as the first. Okay, all the other settings should be good. I just want to look at one other thing. Up here at the path, this is where the renders are going to be placed. You want to keep note of where this folder is, so that you can go find your renders when they're done. This path will probably look different on your computer than it will on mine; unless your name is also Ryan Kittleson, then it might be the same.

We're ready to close out of Render Settings. We need to switch from the Polygon menu set to the Rendering menu set, and let's go up to Render menu and go down to Batch Render. Now notice down here it says that it's rendering with mental ray. Batch Renders actually start a separate program that runs in the background to render the sequence. If you want it at this point, you can even shut down Maya, while mental ray renders to save memory. As it renders, you'll get a status update of the progress of each frame, you could also go look in the folder where it is saving the images in order to make sure that everything looks good.

If there was a problem, you could cancel the Batch Render by going up to the Render menu and clicking Cancel Batch Render, then you can fix whatever the problem was and try again. Depending on how faster your computer is rendering all these frames could take a few hours to a few days. I usually start Batch Renders at the end of the day before I go to bed. Nothing like waking up to the smell of fresh renders in the morning. In the next movie we'll be picking it up with all the renders ready to work within Photoshop. Turntable animations are a great way to present your work.

The 360 degree view, lets people see exactly what you've been working on. It is good to show turntables to clients, coworkers, and supervisors; so that they can all bask in the glory of your hard work or terror to shreds, one of the two.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya
 
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  1. 2m 34s
    1. Introduction
      59s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      34s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 10m 45s
    1. Installing custom brushes
      3m 54s
    2. Preparing GoZ
      5m 6s
    3. Optimizing tablet settings
      1m 45s
  3. 8m 36s
    1. Brainstorming
      2m 47s
    2. Refining a concept
      3m 22s
    3. Gathering reference images
      2m 27s
  4. 42m 12s
    1. Starting with ZSpheres
      6m 45s
    2. Posing the ZSpheres
      3m 39s
    3. Sculpting the basic forms
      5m 34s
    4. Using DynaMesh
      3m 8s
    5. Sculpting muscles and mid-size shapes
      6m 20s
    6. Defining joints
      3m 42s
    7. Sculpting bony plates
      5m 0s
    8. Sculpting leathery skin
      8m 4s
  5. 22m 8s
    1. Using GoZ between ZBrush and Maya
      2m 15s
    2. Making an eyeball
      3m 45s
    3. Creating tail spikes
      2m 44s
    4. Modeling a tooth
      4m 27s
    5. Duplicating the teeth
      4m 8s
    6. Finishing the teeth
      4m 49s
  6. 51m 27s
    1. Drawing guidelines for retopology
      4m 56s
    2. Fleshing out the retopology guides
      4m 29s
    3. Creating new topology
      5m 32s
    4. Generating the new mesh
      4m 58s
    5. Cleaning up the mesh in Maya
      5m 5s
    6. Modeling the tail in Maya
      4m 5s
    7. Modeling the claws
      6m 4s
    8. Preparing to project detail
      6m 5s
    9. Projecting detail to new topology
      4m 46s
    10. Cleaning up projection problems
      5m 27s
  7. 21m 0s
    1. Cutting UV seams
      5m 55s
    2. Prepping UV shells for UV Master
      4m 38s
    3. Using UV Master to unfold UVs
      4m 17s
    4. Arranging UVs in Maya
      6m 10s
  8. 13m 25s
    1. Creating a pedestal with Spotlight
      4m 53s
    2. Decimating the geometry
      4m 53s
    3. Finishing the pedestal
      3m 39s
  9. 38m 21s
    1. Setting up the scene for rendering
      5m 14s
    2. Making a key light
      6m 7s
    3. Making a soft sky light
      3m 0s
    4. Making a rim light
      4m 53s
    5. Setting up a simple SSS skin shader
      5m 21s
    6. Adjusting the skin shader
      7m 2s
    7. Adding ambient occlusion to the shaders
      6m 44s
  10. 55m 37s
    1. Polypainting colors in ZBrush
      8m 1s
    2. Extracting texture maps
      6m 54s
    3. Organizing the maps into Photoshop layers
      8m 9s
    4. Compositing the color maps in Photoshop
      4m 33s
    5. Compositing the specular maps in Photoshop
      7m 20s
    6. Importing the maps into Maya
      5m 7s
    7. Connecting the maps to the shaders
      5m 13s
    8. Setting up remap value nodes
      5m 51s
    9. Editing remap value nodes
      4m 29s
  11. 26m 32s
    1. Designing the pose
      4m 35s
    2. Linking subtools to the main body
      4m 12s
    3. Posing with transpose tools
      6m 4s
    4. Polishing the pose
      2m 4s
    5. Finishing touches in ZBrush
      4m 50s
    6. Finishing touches in Maya
      4m 47s
  12. 18m 7s
    1. Fine-tuning lights and render settings
      7m 0s
    2. Batch rendering a turnable animation
      5m 48s
    3. Polishing the renders in Photoshop
      5m 19s
  13. 52s
    1. What's next?
      52s

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