- One application that I find extraordinarily helpful in my day-to-day motion graphics workflow is Adobe Media Encoder. This gives me the ability to take any one of my compositions out of my After Effects project, and render it using Media Encoder, which is a completely separate application, but it's beautifully integrated into After Effects. This also gives me the ability to continue working on another composition inside of After Effects. So, as long as your computer has a decent amount of RAM, this workflow should work really well for you.
Now to show you how this works, let's check out our project. I'm just going to press the space bar here to load up a preview. And you'll see ... Check it out. I've got my animated logo over some retimed footage that's stylized. We're good to go. So I'll just press the space bar to stop playback here, and to make sure I'm actually going to render this comp, I'll make sure that this individual timeline is selected, and go up on our composition and choose Add to Adobe Media Encoder Queue.
Now, if this is the first time you've launched this application, it's going to take a second to launch, and it may even take another second or so before it actually loads the file into the queue. If you have used Media Encoder before, you may or may not have a different file chosen for the individual compression. Media Encoder does a pretty good job of remembering the previous compression, and just loads that up the next time you set up a project to render. So, let's actually work from the left to right.
In the left side here, we have my queue. This is where I'll have a list of every composition I've loaded in to actually render. While I've only got one comp loaded in, I could jump back to After Effects and render any other comps, or load them up here to render. Once I've got a project in here, I can click on these downward-facing arrows to choose a different format in different presets for that format. If you want to see what those settings are, you can just click on the name of whatever the individual file is.
Just so we're all on the same page, I'm going to click on the preset pull-down for format and choose H.264. Now we'll go to the next preset. I'll click on this pull-down here, and as you can see, I've got tons of different compressions. So, gone are the days of trying to remember individual compressions based upon what website or device you're trying to view the video file on. As you can see, there are a ton to choose from. I want you to choose this Vimeo 720p HD file. Now, just to double-check what the render settings are going to be, I'll click on the name for my preset.
So when I click on that here, if I go over to the right, you can see under the video column I've got a bunch of different options. It's giving me the file size, frame rate. You can scroll down here. You can see the profile. And if I scroll down even farther, I can see that it's going to encode this variable bit rate, one pass. So that looks fine. If I go down to the bottom here, notice six megabytes is the estimated file size. Now, let's say I only wanted to render the first couple seconds of my project.
If we go to the lower-left corner over here, I can click on this right arrow and choose, say, the first three second of my project. Now, if I want to render any other section, of course, I could just grab this other side here, but let's make sure it's going to render from zero all the way to the end of our comp, which is 7:01. Now, I'll just click OK, cuz I like these settings. If we click on the output file here, we can rename the file that we're going to render. So I'll click on that pull-down, and here, notice it automatically tries to save it into a folder which is right next to your After Effects project.
So here, I'll just call this Approval, and we'll click save. So now, in order to render this, all I need to do is click play. But, just so you can see how the workflow goes, what if you want to actually render a different compression? Well, if you go the right-hand side of the interface, you can see I have a preset browser, and all the presets are organized according to groups. So here, I have a broadcast group, which is a high-quality compression, a different camera group. We have different devices.
So here, let's go to Devices, and I'll open up the Apple devices, and let's say I want to go ahead and render for Apple TV. So here, I'll choose the 1280x720 version. That's 23.976. I'll click on that, drag it and drop it not directly on the other preset, but just underneath, so when I let go you can see I've got a second one set up to load And notice it's smart. It figured out I called the first one Approval, maybe I want to call the next one Approval, and it just adds an underscore and a name.
Should you ever want to remove any of these, you can just click in the dark grey area right here, and that'll select that line, and then you can go up to the top of the queue here and remove that render. It's gonna ask you, "Are you sure?" And I'll say yeah. I've only got one thing set to render, so if I want to render it, all I need to do is come up to this green play button here in the top-right corner of my queue panel, and it'll go ahead and start the render. If we look down here at the bottom, you can see the progress in the encoding, and it'll give you a general estimate as to how long it's going to take.
The reason I say "general" is if there's a section of your composition where you've got a crazy number of effects, or crazy retiming filters, it may slow down its progress. So, it really doesn't know exactly what's going to happen in your comps, so it's giving you this estimate based on how fast the other frames rendered. So once it's done, it'll actually tell you Done. So, let's jump out to my exercise files, and if I go to my chapter seven folder, there's my media encoder folder, and sure enough, I've got my Approval.mp4.
If I double-click on the file, you can see it's automatically rendered my Approval compression in QuickTime Player, and it's playing back, and I know I could send this off. If I go ahead and close this, you'll notice it is 8.6 megs. So, most of the time I could email this, or I could just post it to the cloud. You could choose whatever you like for your final delivery method, but I hope you can see how valuable Media Encoder can be in your day-to-day workflow. You have the ability to just render things off in a separate app, as well as load up any kind of preset you could possibly think of.
- Building graphics such as lower thirds, logos, and credit rolls
- Repairing and retiming video
- Keying green-screen footage
- Animating a 3D logo
- Motion tracking
Your guide, Ian Robinson, wraps up the course with some project management techniques that will help you merge projects from multiple editors, and get you in the habit of archiving completed work.