Introduction to rendering

Rendering is the final stage in the 3D computer graphics production process.

Though the wider context of rendering begins with shading and texturing objects and lighting your scene, the rendering process ends when surfaces, materials, lights, and motion are processed into a final image or image sequence.

Visualization vs. the final render

As you build your scenes (shade and texture objects, light scenes, position cameras, and so on), you’ll want to visualize your scene many times before you produce the final rendered image or image sequence. This process may involve (depending on your particular project) creating and setting up additional cameras.

Visualize a scene during early iterations to detect and correct image quality problems or to estimate and reduce the amount of time the final render takes before you spend time performing the final render.

When you are satisfied with the results of your scene during test renders, you can perform the final render.

You can visualize and final render a single frame, part of an animation (multiple frames), or an entire animation in Autodesk® Maya®.

The key to successful rendering

The key to rendering is finding a balance between the visual complexity required and the rendering speed that determines how many frames can be rendered in a given period of time.

Rendering involves a large number of complex calculations which can keep your computer busy for a long time. Rendering pulls data together from every sub-system within Maya and interprets its own data relevant to tessellation, texture mapping, shading, clipping, and lighting.

Producing rendered images always involves making choices that affect the quality (anti-aliasing and sampling) of the images, the speed with which the images are rendered, or both.

The highest quality images typically take the most time to render. The key to working efficiently is to produce good-enough quality images in as little time as possible in order to meet production deadlines. In other words, choose only the most economical values for options that let you produce images of acceptable quality for your particular project.