Rendering Animations in 3DS Max & Rhino

3DS Max Rendering Animations in 3DS Max

  • To fully understand the process of creating an animated video using 3DS Max, you must first understand the concept of video in general.
    • A video is individual frames (pictures) combined together and displayed one-by-one at a fast rate, thus creating the illusion of motion.
    • This motion video can be joined with audio for a multimedia (more than one media) experience.  For example, when you watch a movie in the theater, the movie is displayed by a slide reel rolling along at a certain speed. Additionally, an audio track is playing so that when someone speaks in the movie, you hear what is being said.
  • Creating your own "movie" or video.
    • Individual frames of your animation will be rendered by 3DS Max or Rhino and be placed on a digital "reel."
    • This "reel" is simply a directory of frames which will then be processed & compressed into a single video file.
    • You can then play it with any media player on your computer (i.e. Windows Media Player, VLC Player, QuickTime, RealPlayer, etc).

Digging a Little Deeper

  • Now that you understand what makes a video, let's go further...
  • When creating a video to be shown on a screen or projector, it takes 30 frames for each second of video.
    • For example, 10 seconds of video will require 300 individual images (10 seconds x 30 frames/sec = 300 frames).
    • Initially, these frames will be many separate bitmap (BMP) image files stored in a folder on the computer.
  • As we all know, everything on a computer uses a certain amount of disk space. Some file types are larger than others, too.
    • For example, a picture on your computer in JPEG format will usually take up much less space than a Tagged Image File (TIF) picture file because JPEG files are compressed before saving.
    • Also, because the JPEG file is compressed, a slight amount of quality is lost in the process, but this loss is usually not noticeable.
  • Likewise, video file formats can vary in size and quality.
    • Typically, the more a video file is compressed, the less amount of quality the video contains.
    • BUT, the file is smaller, too!! For this reason, we will select the proper codec (more on this next) & compression settings for the type of output quality & file size desired.
  • A codec is simply a special way of compressing audio & video.
    • There are many different codec's that can be used to compress your video file, but for your 3DS Max project, we will be using H.264DV and/or the DV Video Encoder codec.
    • With the right compression setting, this codec produces a final video (AVI, MP4, etc) file that is reasonably small with good quality.
  • Once your video is compressed and you are satisfied with the results, you can delete the original source frames (BMP files).
  • These files take up a LOT of space, and unless you need them to create another video, they are completely unnecessary.


Let's Get Started!

  • Hopefully by now you understand everything you've just read. If not, please go back and read it again. Understanding the general process of how video files work will help tremendously as you perform each step to follow.
  • To begin, you must first have your 3DS scene choreographed and ready to be rendered. If you have any final touches you wish to make such as changing a camera angle, now is the time to do it.
  • You have the choice of either rendering the entire animation from start to finish on a single computer or to render all the frames with the UTSOA Rendering Farm and process the video on your own.
    • Although the first option is easier, it takes a long time to complete.
    • Therefore, you will learn how to render the frames with 3DS and process them later: