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  How to export your animation to mp4

 v14 (2021) new! | PD Artist | PD Howler | what's new? | help 

This tutorial actually contains two parts:

Here we go:

How to Export your animation to Media format (mp4)

Ok, let's imagine you just finished rendering an animation in PuppyRay GPU, or any of the other tools and techniques, and you want to save it to mp4. Furthermore, you want to keep rendering. You want to add another animation that will continue from the last frame of this animation.

This tutorial shows the key points of exporting the animation to Media (mp4), and then a few things to do so you can keep rendering the next segment. In the end you'll have multiple segments of a long animation that you can easily stitch together in your video editing/production tool.

Ok, so here's a staring point, your first animation has finished rendering, and you have clicked 'Done' to exit PuppyRay.

Where do you go next? 

Esay. Frrom the Animation menu, select the Export media... option:

In the Save a media file... dialog, check/set the frame rate (FPS, frames per second). Probably already at the right level unless you changed it in previews in Howler.

Set Set the Target bitrate. The default is only 800000, less than a Megabit/sec. This is a little too low for larger frames. You'll probably want to increase it to 8-16 million (Megabit/sec). I usually go with 12. Might be an overkill for small frames, but it won't show as lossy. If you have full HD there, increase it to 16-20 perhaps. Experiment with various values for your case.

You can use the default filepath and name but be sure to save prior files and not to override/destroy them by this export using the same.

Best to use some unique index number and date info as part of the name, and/or to create a folder where you'll collect this and other animations to follow.

Notice: if you use the folder icon to navigate the path and location and set the name, you'll notice that it seems to be looking for .avi files. Ignore this, it shows mp4 files and you must have the .mp4 extension on your filename or it won't export as mp4.

Check your values and click the Save media... button

Notice that during the export, you'll see the increasing frame numbers in the top of the window. The export can take just a short amount of time or a lot of time depending on how fast your disk drive is, and how big the frames, and other factors. We strongly recommend using SSD drives for this.

After the export is done, you're not quite done yet. Be sure to test it: Show the saved video.

You should have a default application for viewing mp4 in your Windows OS, and that should be able to play your mp4 at this time. If you can't see it working, check if your video has odd dimensions, such as 767x567, you know, something that might be the result of having it copped manually and not verified the new dimensions. They must be even numbers, preferably multiples of 8 or 16 for best chances of working with most mp4 decoders.  (same holds true for AVI files where it depends a lot on the codec.)

That's it, your animation is saved to mp4.  You can now engage in the happy dance.        

( back to the top )

How to prepare for the next animation (so that it starts where the prior animation ended)

So, you just saved your first animation that was just created in PuppyRay, and you want to render another animation that will begin where this recent animation ended?  Easy.

If you still have the heightmap in stored location, click it, to replace the last frame of the animation with the heightmap. You could do this from the first frame position or any other, actually, but it's a good idea to position the animation to the last frame first.

So, go to the last frame in the scrubbar and replace the frame with the heightmap.

While you're still on the last frame, notice the frame number in the top of the window frame.

In this example: Frame #554 means I had 555 frames in all. They start at frame 0.

The next step is not always required, if you're not low on memory. If you want to be safer, free the current animation first.

Confirm that you want to free the animation. This will turn your document back to having just one frame, still showing the recently reloaded heightmap.

You could of course have done this in a different sequence. You could free the animation first, then load the heightmap again.

We're now ready to create a new animation from that heightmap image. in the main buffer.

Make it the same number of frames if you like, or whatever is needed. In our example, we had 555 frames in the prior animation, and we use the same again.

So, now we're back with an animation of all frames showing the same heightmap, thus ready for Puppyray rendering again.

The way we did it should still have the swap image contain the color map we used in the prior animation.

If instead you had a stored copy of the empty animation (showing all frames with the same heightmap), you could click that to replace the existing animation with it. That's a nice shortcut too but it clears the swap image. Be sure then to reload the colormap (texture map) into the swap image buffer).

Let's go back to the Filter:  Transform > Puppy Ray GPU

Don't touch anything!

 - before you do anything else, uncheck the Antialiasing option. You will want AA disabled while you do the next few steps, otherwise it will take a long time to render after each step.

Keep anti-aliasing DISABLED for now.

Move the time marker to the very last frame of the animation. That's the position that was used in rendering the last frame on your prior animation. We're going to choose that same position and delete all keyframes, then move to the first frame and save it as the new start frame.

After going to the last frame, Clear all key frames:

Confirm that you want to clear all keyframes.

Now that all keyframes have been cleared, and we're still showing the view from the last position, move to the first frame. It will show the same view.

And we're ready to save that first keyframe.  Create a key.

The first frame is now also our first keyframe, and it has the same position, orientation and other parameters such as fog distance or position of the Sun that we had on the last frame at the end of the prior animation.

You can now as usual move forward along the timeline and select the next position and angles and other parameters for the view, to eventually save it as  a new keyframe.

Repeat this again and again as you go through all your new keyframes as desired.

Perhaps it's only one keyframe at the start and a keyframe at the end?  You need 2 or more keyframes.

While you prepare the key frames, here are a few parameters you might want to change on occasion, in case you want to show something different too, in addition to flying through the landscape.

You might change the size of the Sun. That one is not keyframed though. It will be the same through all frames rendered.

Same for the height of the waves.

If the water seems too 'transparent' you could try increasing the Scattering and making it darker.

You might want to experiment with different bump maps too, or change the quality of the rendering.

When you're done with all, you'll be ready to re-enable anti-aliasing.

Enabling anti-aliasing.

Note: on occasion, this action may trigger a new immediate rendering, which will take a while depending on your set number of AA passes. Wait for it, if so, don't click anything else, don't move or drag the mouse in the view, just be patient.

After you have re-enabled antialiasing, click the Animate... button.

In the Render dialog, click the Render button (unless you first also want to make additional last-minute changes).

After the animation is done, you can still pre-view it in Puppy Ray GPU: play the animation.

If all is good, use the Done button to exit Puppy Ray. Don't click the [x] in the upper right window corner, as that would reset all parameters of the many settings in Puppy Ray.

And that's it. You now have created a 2nd animation, that follows the first. You can export that one too as mp4 Media file.

If you liked this tutorial, please post/mention it in your social media ;-)

Thanks for waffling and howling!

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