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Chapter 16. Output > Choosing Output Module Settings

Choosing Output Module Settings

The output module settings comprise the second step in the movie-making process. Once the frames are processed, these settings determine how they will be saved.

To choose an output module manually:

1.
In the render queue, click the underlined name of the output module (Figure 16.40).

Figure 16.40. In the render queue, click the underlined name of the output module.


An Output Module Settings dialog box appears (Figure 16.41).

Figure 16.41. An Output Module Settings dialog box appears.


2.
In the Output Module Settings dialog box, make a selection for each of the following options:

Format determines the file format of the output, and includes a variety of movie and still image sequence formats (Figure 16.42). Your particular project or equipment dictates your choice. However, QuickTime Movie or Video for Windows are common choices for motion files; TIFF or PICT sequences are commonly used still-image formats.

Figure 16.42. Choose the format of the saved file in the Format pull-down menu.


Import into project when done instructs After Effects to import the rendered composition back into the project (Figure 16.43). This is particularly useful when you are pre-rendering a composition for use in the project.

Figure 16.43. Check Import into project when done to import the rendered composition back into the project.


Format Options opens a dialog box that includes options associated with particular formats (Figure 16.44). For example, if you chose QuickTime Movie as the format, the Format Options button would open a Compression Settings dialog box for QuickTime movies. (See "Movie Files and Compression," later in this chapter.)

Figure 16.44. Click Format Options to open a dialog box containing format-specific settings.


Channels specifies the channels present in the output (Figure 16.45). Depending on the format, you can choose to export the RGB channels, the alpha channel, or RGB + Alpha. (See the sidebar, "Alpha Bits," in Chapter 2.)

Figure 16.45. Specify the channels present in the output in the Channels pull-down menu.


Depth specifies the color depth of the output. The available options depend on the format and channels you selected (Figure 16.46).

Figure 16.46. The options available in the Depth menu depend on the format and channels you selected.


Color specifies how color channels factor in the alpha channel, if one is present; it determines whether the output uses a straight alpha, or is premultiplied with black (Figure 16.47). (See the sidebar, "Alpha Bits," in Chapter 2.)

Figure 16.47. If you chose to output an alpha channel, use the Color pull-down menu to choose between straight alpha, or premultiplied with black.


Stretch allows you to specify the frame size of the output. Checking the Stretch option allows you select common frame sizes from a pull-down menu, or enter custom dimensions. You may also choose between a low- and high-quality resizing method in the Stretch Quality pull-down menu. Stretch resizes the image after it has been rendered (Figure 16.48).

Figure 16.48. Select stretch options to resize the image after it has been rendered.


Crop allows you to add, or more likely, remove pixels from the edges of the image frame. Cropping is useful to remove the black edges from video footage (Figure 16.49). It can also be used to reverse field dominance (see the sidebar, "Reversing Field Order," in Chapter 2.)

Figure 16.49. Select crop options to add or remove pixels from the edges of the frame.


Audio Output specifies the attributes of the audio track of the output, if any. Settings include sample rate, bit depth, and format (mono or stereo). (For more about audio, see sidebars in Chapter 8.) Note that the Format Options button remains grayed out and doesn't permit you to apply audio compression (Figure 16.50). To compress the audio, you can use an option available under the Export command, or compress the final movie using a program such as QuickTime Pro or Media Cleaner Pro.

Figure 16.50. Specify the sample rate, bit depth, and whether the audio track is stereo or mono.


3.
Click OK to close the Output Module dialog box and return to the Render Queue window.


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