Quick Tip: What is Rendering?

By | July 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm | No comments | Multimedia in Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

At Rapid Eye, we produce a lot of high-end, complex 2D and 3D animations. Whether its a response for why the project is taking so long or a line item on the invoice, a common question we get is, “so what is rendering?”

To “render” literally means to draw. With relation to computer graphics, rendering is the process by which the computer analyzes all the input variables such as animation, lighting, and color in order output a final image. In the case of a 3D application like Maya or 3ds Max, an artist builds a model, adds textures, sets parameters for lighting, and animates elements within that scene. The final step is to essentially export or render the scene into a series of images.

An animation is made up of frames. A frame is a single still image. The number of frames in a second of animation varies but is most commonly 24 or 30 frames per second. This means that in order to display a full second of animation, the computer must render 24 or 30 frames. When these frames are played in succession, they create the effect of animation.

Rendering is an art in itself. An artist may spend many hours setting up parameters and direction for how the computer will create each output image. The results can be dramatically different, based solely on the render parameters. An artist may also take steps to reduce the total render time, usually by turning off unnecessary settings or calculations, or by reducing the quality of the rendered image. The goal is to find a balance between render efficiency and output quality.

Depending on the complexity of the scene, a render might take 10 seconds or 10 hours per frame! So for complex projects there is often a fee charged (whether built into the quote or a direct line item on the invoice) for long renders. This charge covers the cost of electricity, the inability to use the workstation for anything else during a render, and the time needed for a technician to manage the render. This is typically charged per machine or per processing core per hour. Studios will either render using internal workstations or outsource rendering to cloud rendering services. The cost can often range from $3-$7 per hour.

At Rapid Eye, we will typically render a test frame from a given project. This will allow us to estimate the total time and cost needed to fully render the animation.

The R.E.D. Team



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