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render efficiency with moving camera

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Bill Nelson
render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 16, 2010 at 2:53:10 am

Seem to have painted myself into a corner... perhaps more clever minds can get me out! I've working on a fairly complex 3D spot (see the culprit at http://nelsonmedia.com just click on the 'play' triangle there in the black field on the index page)

If you review the spot, you'll see a phone number and contact info that moves around along with the camera, elegantly reflecting and shadowing in the environment. My client has me create tens of spots with unique phone numbers for these campaigns. In past projects, I've been able to 'bake' my content and throw down the phone numbers. Rendering was pretty zippy. That was my genius plan this time, but my tricky contact-info-moving-with-the-camera idea is now causing me grief, as the camera cannot be used after the 'baked' section is dropped back in.

I'm attaching a snapshot of the timeline in question.


Any ideas? I really need to save some rendering time with this, as I'm using floating point, reflections, shadows, kitchen sink, etc. I sure appreciate any ideas!





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Bill Nelson
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 16, 2010 at 5:40:51 pm

...just counted the spot total - I need to create 60 of these by Thursday! I love the work, don't get me wrong. Just think there's a better way to do it than I'm about to do!



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Bill Nelson
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 16, 2010 at 9:01:36 pm

'bump'
(I know, it's the weekend on a holiday weekend...)



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Jim Johnson
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 17, 2010 at 4:19:17 am

Howdy,

Looking at the output, it doesn't appear that any of the other scene elements move in front of the text objects, so you can just do a series of separate passes for the text and comp them together in FCP (or Motion). It also helps that the text is white, so you can even do a simple comp using a blend mode (such as Add or Screen) and not worry about alpha.

Render out a version without the contact info, with all the quality bells and whistles on, then save off a copy of the project. In the copy, disable everything but the contact data and the object you're using as your reflective floor. Try dropping some of the more expensive render options, such as float and shadows, if you can get away with it. This leaves you with the identical camera move, but you don't have to render any of the other objects. Do render passes with each of your contact text versions. Finally, slap each text pass over the clean background and you have your finished spot.

If the render time for the complete scene wasn't too long, then I'd suggest doing a little scripting (i.e. text find and replace) on your project file, which could easily generate 65 Motion projects, each with its appropriate contact info, ready to be batched through Compressor. In your case, however, your scene is too expensive to render so redundantly, so you need to do some baking.



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Mark Spencer
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 17, 2010 at 4:26:54 am

Great suggestions, and along the lines of scripting, there's a product that does that for you called AutoMotion - feed it a Motion project and a databased of text and it spits out a Motion project for each text instance:

http://www.digital-heaven.co.uk/automotion

A little pricey but if it saves you a day of work it pays for itself - it can also update all your Motion projects embedded in FCP if you want to make a change.

--
Mark Spencer
Freelance Producer/Editor/Motion Graphics Artist
Apple-certified Master Trainer
Author, Motion 4 from Peachpit Press
http://www.applemotion.net


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Adam Wilder
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 18, 2010 at 6:53:57 am

First, nice piece of work. Here are a few things I would suggest, please forgive if you've already tried some of these.

Shadows
Turn of shadow casting for items that don't need to cast shadows (like the ground).
If you can get away with it, use the Uniform Shadows when possible.

Depth of Field
Go with the Gaussian Blur over the defocus
When the first cards move to the background, trim any layers that you can. If you're still rendering all your text but it's getting blurred beyond recognition, why do it. You could also try to switch to baked versions of the cards once they move to the back.

As the others have stated, bake everything you can. I'd start with the timelines below the video clips. Good luck.



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Bill Nelson
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 18, 2010 at 4:41:19 pm

You all rock for responding to my posts first-light in the morning. I'm working on plugging your suggestions into my workflow. I'm familiar with the FCP AutoMotion, but didn't know they had a version specifically for Motion. Going to have to look at that seriously. Also need to poke around with your scripting suggestions. I already use some watch folders to catch my Motion timeline renders and convert them to MPEG in Episode, which exports to my FTP watch folder, which fires the completed spots off to the DG FastChannel DropBox.

I LOVE the 21st century!



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Bill Nelson
Re: render efficiency with moving camera
on Jan 18, 2010 at 7:19:26 pm

I've found that by the time I render out each template blank, then the phone numbers, and the comped spot combining the two, I'd be back at around 20-min./spot, which is where I am at the top of this thread...

I did learn MUCH about capabilities and limitations in this exercise. I also poked around with the recursive number, finding that I needed it set to 2 bounces to allow the effects desired.

Thanks again for your collective wisdom!



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