Rendering in Maya and converting to video
Chances are, rendering directly from Maya to a video file will not be successful. So instead, we'll render our scene to an image sequence from Maya, then create a video using Adobe Premiere Pro. This way, we can do things like add audio, change the framerate, and encode the final video for more reasonable file sizes.
The basic steps are as follows:
The actual steps are more involved and plenty of things can go wrong. I'd recommend reading through the instructions completely before attempting to follow along.
- Render the scene as an image sequence in Maya
- In Premiere, change the preferences to match the framerate used in Maya
- In Premiere, import the image sequence, add the generated clip to your timeline, then export the media to a video file.
Rendering as image sequence in Maya
Let's assume you have a scene in Maya that's ready to render. Here's a short list of things to check before rendering:
- What's my playback speed set to? You should set this at the beginning of your project so you can plan your keyframes with the playback speed in mind!
Open the Animation preferences:
and check the Playback speed listed under Settings/Time Slider/Playback:
You probably want to select Real-time [24 fps], but you may have specifically chosen something else for your project (likely 12, 30, or 60 fps). Double-check that you have the correct playback speed and remember the FPS for later.
- What's my project folder set to? This is specified in the Maya menus under File > Set Project... When you render, the results will be saved in the "images" subfolder of your project folder.
- Can I see my scene if I render a single frame? If not, check your camera, materials, and lights. To render the current frame on the Time Slider, change the Maya menus to Rendering, then select Render > Render current frame:
There's also a button shortcut:
Once you've checked these, you can customize the render settings for your scene.
Open the Render settings (either under Windows > Rendering Editors > Render Settings, or if the Rendering drop-down menu is selected, under Render > Render Settings). The default settings probably look like this:
Specify the following settings; anything else can be left as the default:
Now, render by going to Render > Batch Render. You will see progress messages underneath the Time Slider. You can confirm that rendering completed by opening up the Script Editor:
- Render Using: Maya Software. You can experiment with the other renderers if you're feeling brave and don't mind a bit of extra research!
- File Output > Image format: change to PNG (png)
- Frame/Animation ext: name.#.ext
- Frame padding: 4 is fine for 9999 frames or fewer, but increase this if you have more! (why do you have so many?!)
- Frame Range: change Start and End frame to the range that you want to render, otherwise it will only render the first 10 frames. Leave "By frame" at 1.0
- Renderable Camera (Optional): You may have a different camera that you wish to use. In this case, change it in the drop-down
- Image Size (Optional): The HD 540 preset will give you images at 960 by 540 dimensions, which results in a nice 16:9 video. For final versions, you may wish to increase this to HD 1080 for the full 1920 by 1080 size. Warning: increasing the image size increases render time!
Once you've confirmed that your image sequence has rendered, you can move on to Premiere!
Converting image sequence to video in Premiere
And that's it! Nice work.
- Open Premiere and create a new project.
Open the Preferences and select Media.
Look for the Indeterminate Media Timebase and change it to the one you used for playback speed in Maya. Click OK.
- Go to File > Import and navigate to the folder with your image sequence.
Select the first image in the sequence (name.0001.png for example) and check the box that says Image Sequence, then click Import:
- Drag the new clip onto Premiere's timeline and edit to your heart's content!
- To save the clip, go to File > Export > Media. Click Export at the bottom of the screen to begin the export immediately. I'll add details about the export format later, but the defaults should be fine for starting out.
Before turning in an assignment, please delete the image sequence inside the "images" folder inside your Maya project directory! Otherwise the submission file size will be enormous.