When you are satisfied with an animation, you’ll need to render it at final quality. Most users create RAM Previews at a lower quality to save time. The final rendering process usually takes longer due to the improvements in output quality. The process of rendering can be time-consuming depending on the complexity of effects chosen as well as the speed of the machine. As such, rendering is often run as an unsupervised task.
The Render Queue
The primary way of rendering and exporting motion content from After Effects is to use the Render Queue panel. The key advantage of using the Render Queue is that you can add multiple files into it for processing. Additionally, you can render a file once but encode, compress, and output multiple versions.
- Choose Composition add to Render Queue.
- The active composition is added to the panel for processing.
The Render Settings specify the quality that After Effects uses when processing the animation file. Click the small triangles to access several different Render Settings templates. You can also click the underlined text for a template name to customize the settings. For now, use the default value of Best Settings.
The Output Module determines which type of file is written to disk. After Effects offers multiple output modules to choose from. Simply click the small triangle next to Output Module to access the Presets lists. These modules can be further customized by clicking the underlined text. You’ll explore creating custom output modules in upcoming chapters. For now, choose Lossless.
Setting a Destination
The final step to setting up a render is to target a destination drive. This is where you want the files to render to. Rendering out a Lossless file creates a big file on your hard drive. But this file can always be recompressed to other specific formats as needed using the Adobe Media Encoder (more on this in Chapter 12, “Professional Encoding of Flash Video”).
- Click the text Not yet specified to target a location for the file. For this example, be sure you have at least 1 GB of free disk space. (Alternately, click the triangle next to the Output To heading and choose a preset naming convention.)
- In the Navigation dialog, enter a name in the Save As field.
- Specify a location for output and click Save.
- Choose File > Save to capture the current state of your project.
- With your mouse pointer over the Render Queue, press the Accent Grave key (`) to maximize the panel. Hiding the Composition panel can speed up the final render because the computer screen doesn’t need to load and refresh the processed frames for viewing.
- Click Render.