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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

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.

Additional thoughts

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.