Join Dave Schultze for an in-depth discussion in this video Animating in a sequence of stills, part of Animation with Rhino and Bongo.
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- In this video, I finally explain why we want to work with a sequence of stills as opposed to just rendering a video. First, let's define the two terms. A video file, which I have here, playing in the media player by Windows, is a single computer file, which can include video and sometimes audio. Now, this may seem simpler to create but we want to avoid it due to the compression which is critical. Virtually, all of the video you see in your life is compressed, from YouTube web video to cable TV to DVDs and Blu-rays.
It's actually very rare to view uncompressed video because the files are just too huge and most computers cannot play it back smoothly. So we compress video for those two reasons. Gonna stop this. By comparison, I am looking at a sequence of stills, right now, in one of the project folders. So a sequence of stills is just that, anywhere from a few to thousands of individual files or frames, saved in a format like JPEG or PNG.
We can take a quick look just to see what's going on here. That is 240 frames which represents about eight seconds of video. Need to do the simple math, so 240 frames at 30 frames a second would give you eight seconds of video. We save these files individually to help us avoid compressing our video twice. What I mean by that is, if we created a video file first, then took it into an editing application and put some sound effects and titles, that final file would get compressed again with a serious loss of quality.
So the goal is we only export and compress once when we're finished editing. Otherwise, it's like making a copy of a copy, the quality will definitely suffer. Okay, let's talk about some of the great benefits of rendering to a sequence. If there's any problems, for example, the power goes out or there's an unexpected computer crash, you can restart the sequence at any single frame. You cannot do that with a video, you gotta start all over. Once you're in the editing application, like After Effects, you can grab any of the single frames, which are a nice rendering, and even pause at different places, very cleanly.
And, finally, you can make some alpha channels to composite out or change the backgrounds. It's very easy when dealing with stills, compared to video. Okay, there is one disadvantage to using the sequence and that is you need to bring it in to an external application to look at it or play it or edit it. One example of an external application is the Pdplayer, we've looked at a little bit before. Again, this is from Chaos Group, the guys who make V-Ray. This lets us look at the sequence of stills and play them smoothly and cleanly, in real time.
The disadvantage of this application is it only can do playbacks of one file or several layers but we cannot bring in additional content like titles or audio and the export options are limited. So this brings us to After Effects, my second external application, that I actually spend most of my time in. Go ahead and get this thing playing. So this is where we continue to do further editing and we'll be using After Effects for the rest of this chapter and course.
So I think you'll be very impressed with After Effects and all the things it can do in some of the upcoming videos. In this course, we are 100% focused on animating the way the pros do it, by generating a sequence of stills. This process may initially seem a little more complicated, but it's really more powerful and flexible and the only way to go.
First you'll learn how to do a simple product design "turntable" animation. Then you'll create a path-based "walk through" animation of an architectural design. After the animation work is done, Dave will demonstrate how to import the sequences into After Effects and edit them into a seamless video presentation with high-quality audio. The last few chapters focus on optimizing the final video for flawless playback on any computer or website and sharing and distributing your project.
- Installing and setting up Bongo
- Planning your workflow and storyboarding
- Creating the turntable animation
- Setting up a camera path
- Animating a sequence of stills
- Compositing in After Effects
- Exporting and sharing your animation