CAP 202 - Computer Animation II

Lesson 21 - Rendering the Scene

Objectives:

This lesson provides more advice about rendering. Objectives important to this lesson:

  1. Saving renderings
  2. 3D effects
  3. Rendering tools
  4. Scene states
  5. Batch Render
Concepts:

This lesson begins by reminding us about the scanline renderer, telling us that the Material Editor uses it. It mentions the Mental Ray renderer, which we used in the last chapter, and tells us that we might install other renderers from third-party vendors as well.

The text reminds us that changing the renderer will change the options available on various panels, the render scene dialog panels among them. We will look at features on the Common panel, Common Parameters rollout.

We have seen the importance of the time output group. (It's not a rollout, because you can't expand or collapse it.) In the lessons on animation, you learned that you only get a Single frame rendered unless you select the Active Time Segment, a Range, or a specific list of Frames.

You have also used the Output Size selections to set the resolution for your render output.

Exercise Notes and Questions

Work through the exercises and turn in your answers to all questions below as part of the homework for this assignment.

Exercise 1: This is a short exercise. Open the indicated file.
In step 4, choose the Anamorphic output size that is not squeezed.
In step 6, choose Safe Frame as instructed.
Look at the three rectangles that show aspect-correct options for what the camera can capture in this scene.
Set the Time Output option to Single, and render the scene. Note how much better it looks than the scene itself.

Save Image buttonThe lesson continues, describing more features. You have used the Files button in the Render Output group to save your output as an AVI file. The text tells us that we could also have saved a single frame render with the Save Image button (it has a floppy disk on it). The text calls this the Save Bitmap button. This is a misnomer (bad name). The screen you get next lets you save the file in lots of formats, not just bitmap.

The lesson moves on to discuss the RAM Player, which loads frames into RAM and plays animations from there. This would be a useful option if you have lots of RAM, a fast processor, and no way to save a file. Be advised that the RAM Player loads slowly, so you should not do this if you are in a hurry.

Exercise 2: This exercise demonstrates the RAM Player without stressing your computer.
In step 1, you are told to reset 3DS Max. This will clear any RAM currently used by images in the program.
After warning us about the player, you are told to use it to load two .png files. Wahoo.
Since this does not really demonstrate anything, let's move on.

Exercise 3: Open the indicated file.
In step 2, you are told to choose three non-sequential files in the Select Objects list. Use Ctrl-click to do this.
In step 4, turn off Visible to Camera, as instructed.
Your render should look like the picture in the book. Note, as the text explains, the furniture still casts shadows and is reflected in the floor.
To correct that problem, you would also turn off Visible to Reflection/Refraction and Cast Shadows. The feature is on in the first picture below, and off in the second.

shadows
no shadows


Tired of rendering? The next feature promises to allow you to add effects to a scene without having to render it over and over to see the what happened.

Exercise 4: This is another exercise where we can cut to the chase. Follow the instructions to load and modify the file.
The magic happens in step 12. What happens is that you can change the parameters of an effect, and click the Update Effect button to change the image in the the render window without rendering again.

Exercise 5: This exercise has more value, especially if you are not sure how to modify a scene to best effect.
Question 1: Where is the Manage Scene States command?
Question 2: When saving a scene state, how many times will you click Save?
In step 14, the book is in a hurry. Do not close the Color Selector, click OK instead.
In step 21, practice changing from one scene state to another. This can save time in the future, switching from one version of a scene to another instead of loading new files.

Exercise 6: This exercise shows you the Batch Renderer. It is useful when your scene has several saved states, and you want to render two or more to files.
The steps in this series do not appear to have any problems. The most irritating part for me was having to drill all the way to the folder I wanted to save in both times I set the path for a render.