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Chapter 21. Compositing > Composition Strategies - Pg. 833

Compositing 833 Figure 21.19. A full Render Elements composite as seen in discreet combustion 3. As you might gather, rendering out every element is cumbersome. In the case of a long sequence, it's even more impractical. A good strategy would be to use an Element for a particular fix, and just render that channel. If you wanted to add a soft focus to the background, you would want a Z Depth element loaded with your main image file. An easy way to do this is to save your rendering as a series of numbered .rla or .rpf files. The parameters are accessed when you specify the format in the Render Output File dialog. Of particular note is the .rpf format, which allows you to save Velocity and Transparency information; you must use discreet combustion to be able to take advantage of these channels. Composition Strategies Even when high-end compositing hasn't been specified into the production pipeline, it can some- times be a real boon to the entire process. For simple scenes there isn't much benefit, but complex shots can make the following approach shine. The basic idea is simple: Render in layers according to the distance from the camera. The back- ground might be a layer. The midground, characters, and props could all have their own separate rendering file. Note that these groupings are different from the layers in 3ds max itself; however, layers can be a great organizational tool. So why do this? · Key decisions haven't been made--The director is waffling over whether the character should wear a hat or not. Should the jet fly overhead now, or a few scenes later? Rendering what you have right now gets you ahead of the foot-draggers in the production. · You don't particularly trust the decision that was made--The script calls for a minute-long pan over the battle scene. You know that this is a dumb idea and will be cut later. A fast rendering of a simplified version of the scene can be a shortcut around hours of wasted work.