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Output Panel

Mode: All Modes

Panel: Render Context → Render

Hotkey: F10

Render Output buttons.

This panel provides many options for rendering, increasing and optimizing your render and output speed, and the location for displaying and saving your render output. The options on this panel control where and how the results of a render are handled.

File Locations

At the top are three filespec fields:

  • Animation Output Directory and filename prefix (default: //tmp)
  • Background image (default: //backbuf)
  • FType image format descriptor file (default: //ftype)

By default, each frame of an animation is saved in the directory where the file was loaded from (the "//" part of the path specification) and given a filename that begins with "tmp". Change this or any field by ⇧ ShiftLMB Template-LMB.png clicking in the name field and entering a new name. If you use the // and do not save a new .blend file somewhere, Blender assumes the // to refer to the Blender install folder.

A background image, such as a studio curtain, a watermark, or any image may be used as a background. You usually want to set the window background to this picture, and when you render, use the background image in the render output.

Ftype uses an "Ftype" file, to indicate that this file serves as an example for the type of graphics format in which Blender must save images. This method allows you to process 'color map' formats. The color map data is read from the file and used to convert the available 24 or 32 bit graphics. If the option "RGBA" is specified, standard colour number '0' is used as the transparent colour. Blender reads and writes (Amiga) IFF, Targa, (SGI) Iris and CDinteractive (CDi) RLE colormap formats.

Directory Browser
Clicking the folder icon to the left of the field turns a Blender window pane into a File Browser window. Using this window is very handy for scrolling through your hard disk and selecting a file or directory.
PathSpecs
The path specification for the location can include a normal or mapped drive letter (e.g. "F:"), a breadcrumb notation (e.g. "./" and "../" and "//" (file location). Forward slashes (Unix-style) or backslashes (Windows-style) are acceptable on either platform. If omitted, the file is saved in the Blender Installation directory.



Output Formats

Mode: All Modes

Panel: Render Context → Format

Hotkey: F10

Description

The output format for either single image renders (RENDER F12 + F3 save image) or for Animations ANIM CtrlF12 is selected using the Format Panel. From here you can select many image or animation formats (Image and animations formats.).

There are many image formats out there for many different uses. A format stores an image in a lossless or lossy format; with lossy formats you suffer some image degredation but save disk space because the image is saved using fewer bytes. A lossless format preserves the image exactly, pixel for pixel. You can break formats down into static images and movie clips. Within either category there are standards (static formats and clip codecs) which may be proprietary standards (developed and controlled by one company), or open standards (which are community or consortium-controlled). Open standards generally outlive any one particular company and will always be royalty-free and freely obtained by the viewer. Proprietary formats may only work with a specific video card, or while the codec may be free, the viewer may cost.

Format Panel

Image Format options.

By default the dimensions SizeX and SizeY are 800×600 and can be changed as for any Num Button by shift-clicking into the field. These buttons control the overall size of the image. Just below are two more settings, AspX and AspY which control the packing of the pixels along the respective axis. Together, the four buttons below define the viewing size and aspect ratio of the image. Aspect is the ratio between the X and Y dimensions of the pixel of the image. By default it is 1:1 since computer screen pixels are square. If television shorts are being made, and since TV pixels are not square, you want to change this aspect ratio to match the destination video standard: PAL for Europe, and NTSC for the Americas.

Presets

To make life easier the rightmost block of buttons provide some common presets:

  • PAL - 720×576 pixels at 54:51 aspect ratio.
  • NTSC - 720×480 pixels at 10:11 aspect ratio.
  • Default - Same as PAL, but with full TV options, as explained in the following sections.
  • Preview - 640×512 at 1:1 aspect ratio. This setting automatically scales down the image by 50%, to effectively produce a 320×256 image.
  • PC - 640×480 at 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • PAL 16:9 - 720×576 at 64:45 aspect ratio, for 16:9 wide screen TV renderings.
  • PANO - Standard panoramic settings 576×176 at 115:100 aspect ratio. More about 'panoramic' renderings in the pertinent section.
  • FULL - 1280×1024 at 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • HD - Maximus Pixelus. With a 16:9 aspect ratio and checking in at a full 1920×1080 resolution for every frame, this is the ultimate format, with over 2 million pixels to compute for every frame. Bassam says to "Grab a cup of coffee while you wait, but the results are spectacular." You can also set format to 1280x720 30 fps to get HD 720p flavor. Check the Even Interlacing button for the "i" variety of 1080/720, thus giving support for all HighDef varieties.

These are just the presets; you can set any resolution you wish, subject to your PC's memory restrictions; see the Render page for ideas and techniques and tools for enabling huge render outputs.

Options

Image and animations formats.

Blender supports a wide mix of image formats. Some formats are produced by internal Blender code. Others (Tiff, for example) may require a dynamic load library (such as libtiff.dll) in your Blender installation folder. In alphabetical order they are (bold indicates a movie clip format):

  • AVI Raw - Audio-Video Interlaced (AVI) uncompressed frames.
  • AVI Jpeg - AVI but with Jpeg compression. Lossy, smaller files but not as small as you can get with a Codec compression algorithm. Jpeg compression is also the one used in the DV format used in the digitals camcorders.
  • AVI Codec - AVI codec compression. Available codecs are operating system dependant. When an AVI codec is initially chosen, the codec dialog is automatically launched. The codec can be changed directly using the Set Codec button which appears (AVI Codec settings.).
  • BMP Bit-Mapped Paint lossless format used by early paint programs.
  • Cineon - format produced by a Kodak Cineon camera and used in high-end graphics software and more directed toward digital film.
  • DPX - Digital Moving-Picture eXchange format; an open professional format (close to Cineon) that also contains metainformation about the picture; 16-bit uncompressed bitmap (huge file size). Used in preservation.
  • Frameserver - Blender puts out frames upon request as part of a render farm. The port number is specified in the OpenGL User Preferences panel.
  • HamX - Blender's own self-developed 8 bits RLE (Run Length Encoded bitmap) format; it creates extremely compact files that can be displayed quickly. To be used only for previsualization of animations (Play button).
  • Iris - the standard Silicon Graphics Inc (SGI) format used on those spanking Unix OS machines.
  • Jpeg - Joint Picture Expert Group (name of the consortium which defined it), an open format that supports very good compression with little loss of quality. Only saves RGB value. Re-saving images results in more and more compression and loss of quality.
  • MultiLayer - an OpenEXR format that supports storing multiple layers of images together in one file. Each layer stores a renderpass, such as shadow, specularity, color, etc. You can specify the encoding used to save the MulitLayer file using the codec selector (ZIP (lossless) is shown and used by default).
  • OpenEXR - an open and non-proprietary extended and highly dynamic range (HDR) image format, saving both Alpha and Z-depth buffer information.
  • Enable the Half button to use 16-bit format; otherwise 32-bit floating point precision color depth will be used
  • Enable the Zbuf button to save the Z-buffer (distance from camera) info
  • Choose a compression/decompression CODEC (ZIP by default) to save disk space.
  • Enable the RGBA button to save the Alpha channel.
  • Because OpenEXR is so new and previews are generally not supported by Operating Systems, enable Preview to save a JPG image along with the EXR image so you can quickly and easily see what the basic image looks like.
  • PNG - Portable Network Graphics, a standard meant to replace old GIF inasmuch as it is lossless, but supports full true colour images. Supports Alpha channel.
Enable the RGBA button to save the Alpha channel.
  • Radiance HDR - a High Dynamic Range image format that can store images with big changes in lighting and color.
  • TARGA and Targa raw - Truevision Advanced Raster Graphics Adapter is a simple raster graphics format established in 1984 and used by the original IBM PC's. Supports Alpha Channel.
Enable the RGBA button to save the Alpha channel.
  • TIFF - Often used for teletype and facsimile (FAX) images
  • QuickTime - Apple's Quicktime .mov file. The Quicktime codec dialog is displayed when this codec is installed and this format is initially chosen.
Reads GIF if QuickTime is Installed
Blender can read GIF files on Windows and Mac platforms with QuickTime installed. The GIF capabilities (as well as flattened PSD, flattened PDF on Mac, and others) come along with QuickTime.

Compression

Some formats can compress the image to use less disk space. This compression might be lossless (PNG, ...) or lossy (Jpeg, ...). Lossy formats don't store individual pixel information, thus reducing image quality. All the other formats are more or less equivalent, each having advantages and disadvantages. Make your compression selection using the button or field located beneath the format selector. For example, if Jpeg is selected, you can specify a compression level (Quality:90 by default). Higher quality takes more disk space, but results in a better looking picture with less compression encoding artifacts.

The default image type is Targa, but, since the image is stored in a buffer and then saved, it is possible to change the image file type after the rendering and before saving using this menu. (attention: this is only valid for static images, not when rendering animations!).

Channels

Blender renders color (RGB) images, but Black and White (BW) and color with Alpha Channel (RGBA) are also possible. Beware, unless the Extensions button of the Output pannel is set, Blender does not automatically add the extension to files, hence any .tga or .png extension must be explicitly written in the File Save window.

If the option "RGBA" is specified, standard colour number '0' is used as the transparent colour. The format MUST support an alpha channel as part of its specifcation; for example, if you choose a Jpeg format (whose specifcation does not support alpha transparency), clicking RGBA will not magically add an alpha channel; it will be saved as RGB only.

OpenEXR and Multilayer formats are the only formats that store Z-depth buffer information. Multilayer is the only format that stores Render Layer and Render Passes as channels that can then be composited in post-production.

Blender reads and writes (Amiga) IFF, Targa, (SGI) Iris and CDinteractive (CDi) RLE colormap formats. Specify the colormap file in the Output FType field.




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