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Chapter 17. Output > Choosing Output-Module Settings

Choosing Output-Module Settings

Choosing output-module settings is the second step in the movie-making process. These settings determine how processed frames will be saved.

To choose an output module manually:

1.
In the render queue, click the underlined name of the output module (Figure 17.40).

Figure 17.40. In the render queue, click the underlined name of the output module.


An Output Module Settings dialog box appears (Figure 17.41).

Figure 17.41. 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 output's file format, and includes a variety of movie and still-image-sequence formats (Figure 17.42). Although your particular project and/or equipment will dictate your choice, QuickTime Movie and Video for Windows are common choices for motion files, and TIFF and PICT sequences are common choices for still-image formats.

Figure 17.42. 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 17.43). This is particularly useful when you're pre-rendering a composition for use in the project.

Figure 17.43. Check “Import into project when done” to import the rendered composition back into the project.


Embed determines whether After Effects embeds a project link into the output movie. When opening the output file in a program that supports project links—such as Adobe Premiere 6—you can use the Edit Original command to reopen the source project and make any necessary changes to it. Select Project Link from the pull-down menu to create a link between the output file and the source project. Select Project Link and Copy to embed both a link to the original project and a copy of the project into the output file. If the original project is not available when you use the Edit Original command, After Effects will allow you to open the embedded copy of the project (Figure 17.44).

Figure 17.44. Embed determines whether After Effects embeds a project link into the output movie.


Format Options opens a dialog box that includes options associated with particular formats (Figure 17.45). 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 17.45. Click Format Options to open a dialog box containing format-specific settings.


Channels specifies the channels present in the output (Figure 17.46). 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 17.46. 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 17.47).

Figure 17.47. 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), determining whether the output uses a straight alpha or is premultiplied with black (Figure 17.48). (See the sidebar “Alpha Bits,” in Chapter 2.)

Figure 17.48. If you chose to output an alpha channel, use the Color pull-down menu to choose between straight alpha or premultiplied with black.


Stretch lets you specify the frame size of your output. By checking this option, you can 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 17.49).

Figure 17.49. Select Stretch options to resize the image after it has been rendered.


Crop lets you add or, more likely, remove pixels from the edges of the image frame. Cropping is useful for removing black edges from video footage (Figure 17.50). You can also use this option to reverse field dominance (see the sidebar “Reversing Field Order,” in Chapter 2.)

Figure 17.50. Select Crop options to add or remove pixels from the edges of the frame.


Audio Output specifies the audio-track attributes (if any) of your output. Settings include sample rate, bit depth, and format (mono or stereo). (For more about audio, see the sidebars in Chapter 8.) Note that the Format Options button remains grayed out and doesn't permit you to apply audio compression (Figure 17.51). To compress the audio, you can use an option available under the Export command, or you can compress the final movie using a program such as QuickTime Pro or Media Cleaner Pro.

Figure 17.51. 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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