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Chapter 19. Rendering Basics > Rendering More Effectively

Rendering More Effectively

Here's a list of hints and tips that may help you to get the rendering that both you and your boss or client desire, hopefully under budget and on time:

  • Nothing beats raw speed. This may seem like an obvious point, but it needs to be stated nonetheless. Try to get access to the fastest machines available, and don't let yourself get too far behind the upgrade curve. Make sure that your machine has plenty of available RAM and swap space, and that it has been defragmented recently. Check for viruses and spy bots, and don't use other memory-hungry applications (like Photoshop) during your render. See if you can use other machines on the network after hours—even the receptionist's humble workstation can give its best for the cause!

  • Render lots of tests. The name of the game isn't how good a 3D artist you are, but how your work pushes the production forward. Spending lots of your expensive time doing the wrong thing well isn't helpful. Show your tests to any that will look at them, and keep communication lines open. This way, if the finger-pointing starts, you can make sure that the fault lies with the decision makers and doesn't undeservedly fall in your lap.

  • Render just the right length. As a corollary to the speed issue, rendering too much “padding” on either side of a shot can put you into overtime. These days, an FX shot of 3 seconds is considered glacially long. Rendering out a quickie test animatic, using stand-in geometry and sketches, can be utilized by the editor as a proof of concept. Animatics are also helpful in working out the timing and framing of a scene and should always be used on complicated shots. Better that the scene be cut before you put a lot of wasted work into it!

  • Render just the right detail. Objects in the distance don't need a high polygon face count to look good. Even if the model is “already done,” using highly optimized models will make your rendering fly. Likewise, making skillful use of Render To Texture can wipe out unneeded detail and time-expensive procedural textures. Heavily motion-blurred scenes with high-speed objects and cameras can really profit from this!

  • Render with changes in mind. Face it, no matter how good your work is, someone, probably with more importance than they deserve, will demand unreasonable changes. These usually happen right at the end in the least convenient manner possible. Having to rerender only a small piece rather than the entire thing can be the difference between going home to a nice dinner and sleeping under your desk!



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