Tuesday, 12 January 2016

How Do You Make a Batch Render of Your Frames in Maya?

"Utah teapot" - Wikimedia
How do you make a Batch Render of your frames in Maya?  The Render Settings in Maya offer a confusing array of choices, and sometimes it can be hard to know which options to pick.

Don't forget that Google is always your friend when it comes to troubleshooting technical problems - someone out there will have the answer, if you can just ask the right question.

Below is a technical cheat sheet that should help you to create beautiful, final rendered images - and a movie file - without too many tears.

"Glasses 800 edit" by Gilles Tran. Wikimedia Commons
The purpose of this technical brief is to show you how to create a batch render of the textured, lit images in your Maya scene.

That is to say, you need to generate a series of rendered images which can be turned into a movie file, such as a QT, AVI or MP4.

There are two parts to this: Part one is to create a “batch” of rendered images. Part two is to turn these images into a movie file.

Part 1 - Making a Batch Render

1. Check your plugins to make sure you have Mental Ray installed. Go to Window/settings/prefs/plug in manager. Scroll down and make sure maya2mr.mll is loaded.
Mental Ray - free with Maya

2. Click on render preferences and check the settings. A window titled render settings should open up.

3. Under render settings, check the path (ie where the images will go) to make sure you have set your project correctly. Your rendered images should go into the images folder of the current project.

4. At the top of the common render settings tab, specify file name – eg Bouncing Ball. Under Color Management, make sure that "Apply Output Transform to Render" is ticked on. 

5. Under Frame/Animation.ext:, select name.#.ext

6. Under image format: select tiff

7. Check your start & end frames. These should be the exact frames you want to render.

8. Set Frame Padding to 4

9. Make sure you render from the correct camera. Under renderable camera: go to Shot_Cam.

10. Set your Image size to a 16:9 aspect ratio. We suggest HD720: 1280x720 pixels

11. Render using Mental Ray

12. Click on the Quality tab, set Quality Preset to: Production Quality.

13. Now...instead of the Animation menu (top left) switch to Render menu

14. Go to render/batch render/options. Use all available processors, hit batch render and close.

15. Maya will start rendering your frames. Monitor the results at the bottom of the screen. It will take a few minutes to render.

You you need some editing software, such as Premiere

Part 2 – create a movie file.

1. Now open up your editing software, using either Final Cut (for Mac) or Premiere (for a PC). There is a video here which shows you how: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLu483ylI2E&index=24&list=UUDDLjVzktmuBtZZo8w_B0RQ

2. You can also use Quick Time Pro (very simple software, costs just $30)

3. If you have Quick Time Pro, go to file/import to import the frames. In Final Cut, create a project, name it, and drop your rendered images into a bin,

4. In Premiere, create a project, name it, and go to file/import. Select the first rendered image and tick the box which says “image sequence”. Premiere will import your images. Drag the images into your timeline.

5. Check that the images are OK, and play sequentially with no errors.

6. File/export your images as a QT or AVI file.

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