Batch rendering a sequence of animation frames

After you model, animate, and color your scene, you set several Render Settings options and then use the mental ray renderer to batch render part or all of the animation’s range of frames to files on disk. Each file represents a single frame (image) of the animation.

To set the Render Settings for batch rendering

  1. In the Render View window, select Options > Render Settings to display the Render Settings window.
  2. In the Render Settings window, select the Common tab.
  3. In the File Output section, set the following options:
    • File Name Prefix: Type the name Apple. This name will be the base of the filenames created by batch rendering.
    • Image Format: Select Maya IFF (.iff), Maya’s standard image file format. You can use the .iff format for any further work you need to do, including previewing and compositing the animation. If you require a different format, you can specify it instead of .iff in the Render Settings.
    • Frame/Animation ext: Select name.#.ext. This specifies that the filenames will have the format prefix.frameNumber.fileFormat. For example, batch rendering the entire 200-frame animation will create Apple.0001.iff, Apple.0002.iff, and so on through Apple.00200.iff.
    • Frame padding: Enter 4. This causes the frameNumber part of the filenames to be four digits prefixed with 0s. For example, the filenames will be Apple.0001.iff through Apple.0050.iff.

    The four-digit padded filename is compatible with many image playback programs, for example, Maya’s FCheck utility. Image playback programs let you view rendered animation sequences on your monitor at real-time speed.

  4. In the Frame Range section, set the following options:
    • Start frame: Enter 1, the first frame of the animation sequence to be batch rendered.
    • End frame: Enter 60, the last frame to be batch rendered. (Rendering all 200 frames may be time-consuming.)
  5. In the Renderable Cameras section, set the following option:
    • Renderable Camera: Select apple_camera from the drop-down list to indicate which camera view to render.
  6. In the Image Size section, select 640x480 from the Presets drop-down list.

    For the remaining options in the Render Settings window, you’ll use the default settings. Maya will render using the quality preset (Production) that you specified earlier in the lesson.

    After you set the Render Settings, the top portion of the Common tab shows the correct path and filenames for the files to be created during batch rendering. Check that this information is correct.

  7. Close the Render Settings window.

To batch render animation frames

  1. Save the scene.

    It’s a good practice to save the scene before batch rendering. This is useful if, after batch rendering, you need to change any display settings and render again. By saving the scene prior to batch rendering, you can examine the scene to learn which option settings were in effect at the time you batch rendered.

  2. From the Rendering menu set, select Render > Batch Render.

    The Batch Render Frame window appears.

    Batch rendering 60 frames of a simple scene takes a few minutes. A complex scene may take hours per frame, depending on the speed of your computer.

To check the status of the batch render

  1. While Maya is rendering, select Window > General Editors > Script Editor. Expand the size of the Script Editor window. The window shows a completion log for the frames being rendered.

    Maya puts the resulting files in a default images directory. The files have the following names:


    The images directory is located in the same path as the scenes directory. You can have Maya save to a different path by changing the project setting. See the Maya Help for further information on projects.

  2. Close the Script Editor when the following message appears:

    // Result: Rendering Completed. See mayaRenderLog.txt for information. //

    The mayaRenderLog.txt file contains rendering statistics for advanced users.