Which Render Settings?

With all of the many render settings, I get asked what is the best way to render in After Effects. Well there are many things to consider. Is the video being rendered over a network? If so each computer must pick one frame to render at a time and thus you cannot use a single file format like AVI or MOV. Instead image sequences like PNG or TIFF are ideal because of the uncompressed image data. For the average Joe F. Ex, the single file rendering is a great solution.

The render option I recommend is a QuickTime Movie. When you setup your output module, choose Quicktime for the format and then for the codec, here are the three I recommend. I rendered a minute of video with the 3 formats.

1. PhotoJPG (at 95% quality)

  • Smaller file size
  • Fast compression
  • Withstands several generations before losing apparent quality
  • 239 MBs for 1 minute video @ 864×480 29.97fps
  • 1 Minute render took 1:18

2. PNG

  • Medium-large file size
  • Very slow compression!
  • Uncompressed format, no re-render generation loss
  • 952 MBs for 1 minute video @ 864×480 29.97fps
  • 1 Minute render took 8:44

3. Animation

  • Huge file size
  • Fast compression (writing to disc can slow down the render)
  • Uncompressed format, no re-render generation loss
  • 1.9 GBs for 1 minute video @ 864×480 29.97fps
  • 1 Minute render took 1:35

So as you can see the Animation is great if you have the disc space but the JPG has great quality with very small file sizes, whereas the PNG has uncompressed quality with very slow compression.

For most things, PhotoJPG is a great choice, for those high quality clients, there is animation.

DO NOT:

  • Use delivery formats to render work files (such as H.264, sorenson, or any MPEGs)
  • Jump off of a moving train
  • Time travel without a good plan first

Delivery formats are for just that, DELIVERY. For example when the video is all done and you want to put it online, sorenson 3 is a great choice as is H.264. When you want to put the video on DVD there is MPEG2.

-Andrew
PS: Thanks for making this such a great blog. I am very proud to part of your VFX world.

POSTED:
12 years ago
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