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kirkeric
03-22-2007, 05:43 PM
Hello,

I am new to Lightwave 9.0, just got it. Among the many questions, how do I output my scene to an avi file that I can then use in something like Vegas or Avid movie maker?

I thank you ahead.

Eric

lardbros
03-22-2007, 05:50 PM
The manual goes into far more depth about this than i could, it would be the best place to start!! :thumbsup:

Matt
03-22-2007, 05:56 PM
Bring up the render options panel (under the 'Render' tab at the top of the screen) look for a tab in that window called 'Output'.

There you should see an check box called 'Save Animation', activate that. Then open the 'Type' popup to the right of that button and select .AVI. Modify any options of the AVI (compressor type etc.) by clicking on the button called 'Options'.

Select a save filename by clicking on the button 'Animation File' and locating where you want to save the animation file.

That's it.

However, it's ALWAYS best to save individual frames rather than a whole animation, because if something happened while rendering you could lose the whole animation by corrputing the file. Whereas frames are saved as it progresses through the render, so if the worst should happen, you at least have some frames saved.

Then you import those frames into a video editing package (or even LightWave) to build an animation later.

See the video in this thread to see how:

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56301

Regards
Matt

kirkeric
03-22-2007, 06:05 PM
Thanks to you and the guy above (regarding the manual). Naturally, the manual would be best however it didnt seem to apparent under render info on that.

Now, below. Your instructions sound straightforward, my only problem is I dont see an options panel as you describe. I'm sure once I find that, I'll be good. I selected the Render Tab and there are options on the left but no Output window.

Thanks,
Eric


Bring up the render options panel (under the 'Render' tab at the top of the screen) look for a tab in that window called 'Output'.

There you should see an check box called 'Save Animation', activate that. Then open the 'Type' popup to the right of that button and select .AVI. Modify any options of the AVI (compressor type etc.) by clicking on the button called 'Options'.

Select a save filename by clicking on the button 'Animation File' and locating where you want to save the animation file.

That's it.

However, it's ALWAYS best to save individual frames rather than a whole animation, because if something happened while rendering you could lose the whole animation by corrputing the file. Whereas frames are saved as it progresses through the render, so if the worst should happen, you at least have some frames saved.

Then you import those frames into a video editing package (or even LightWave) to build an animation later.

See the video in this thread to see how:

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56301

Regards
Matt

kirkeric
03-22-2007, 06:14 PM
Ok, I found it, under Render Globals tab (under options), then output.

Ok, that should get me started. The video looks like it will also be helpful though he describes it as if for those who dont have an external movie editor.

Does this basically save with a transparent background? For example, if I made some spaceship, I should be able to just overlay it onto any video track any where I like?

Thanks again.

Eric


Thanks to you and the guy above (regarding the manual). Naturally, the manual would be best however it didnt seem to apparent under render info on that.

Now, below. Your instructions sound straightforward, my only problem is I dont see an options panel as you describe. I'm sure once I find that, I'll be good. I selected the Render Tab and there are options on the left but no Output window.

Thanks,
Eric

lardbros
03-22-2007, 06:21 PM
Does this basically save with a transparent background? For example, if I made some spaceship, I should be able to just overlay it onto any video track any where I like?

Thanks again.

Eric

It will save with a transparent background if you use:

1: an image format that keeps the alpha channel embedded, like PNGs or TGA

2: If you save an alpha sequence out seperately and use that in your compositing/video editing application

kirkeric
03-22-2007, 06:30 PM
Ok. I'm sure those terms will become better understood in time. My guess is based on the grid look and all that it is probably defaulted to the transparent background.

I will look up the terms PNG, TGA, and alpha sequence - a little foreign to me at the moment. :)

Eric


It will save with a transparent background if you use:

1: an image format that keeps the alpha channel embedded, like PNGs or TGA

2: If you save an alpha sequence out seperately and use that in your compositing/video editing application

kirkeric
03-22-2007, 06:35 PM
Definitely a bad presumption on that transparent part. It made the background pure black in my first attempt. Dang.

RudySchneider
03-22-2007, 06:37 PM
Aside from the manual, and the obvious experimenting you're doing --- which, by the way is a valid, albeit tedious, way to "learn" --- I highly recommend you try some of the tutorials, and consider purchasing some of the excellent publications (read one of Dan Ablan's Inside LightWave books).

lardbros
03-23-2007, 12:01 PM
Definitely a bad presumption on that transparent part. It made the background pure black in my first attempt. Dang.


The background may look black straight from the renderer in Lightwavebut save it out as a PNG file type and then load it into Photoshop or something, it will have a transparent background.

Exception
03-23-2007, 12:09 PM
You might want to catch up on the phenomenon of Alpha Channels in general. they're not a LW specific thing, and they're used throughout graphics programs. You'll have to use them if you want to do anything with transparent images.

kirkeric
03-23-2007, 01:06 PM
Is PNG a video file? Here is what I have. I use Vegas Movie Studio and I don;t believe it accepts a PNG file. So I had saved as an AVI, brought it into Vegas and it had black background.
Appreciate your help.
Eric


The background may look black straight from the renderer in Lightwavebut save it out as a PNG file type and then load it into Photoshop or something, it will have a transparent background.

Matt
03-23-2007, 01:12 PM
PNG is a Portable Network Graphics file, initially developed as a better alternative for the GIF file format (especially when the original developers of the GIF format wanted royalties for every instance of its use!)

If you want to load still images into Vegas, and retain the alpha channel, use the TARGA (.tga) file format.

kirkeric
03-23-2007, 01:22 PM
Ok, slowly working through this. :) I definitely do not want still. I just want to figure the proper way to save from LW9 to "a" video file that is usable by Vegas and has the transparent background.

My simplest example would be just some footage of my backyard up towards the sky and say I want to overlay a UFO. Naturally, I want just the UFO with nothing behind it.

Thanks again. All info is useful.

Eric


PNG is a Portable Network Graphics file, initially developed as a better alternative for the GIF file format (especially when the original developers of the GIF format wanted royalties for every instance of its use!)

If you want to load still images into Vegas, and retain the alpha channel, use the TARGA (.tga) file format.

Matt
03-23-2007, 01:51 PM
I don't think there is a video format that will do what you want. You'll need to build an anim from alpha channels and use that to knock out the areas on the main anim file.

Seriously, just use frames, soooooo much easier, they can be manipulated like a video file from within Vegas.

kirkeric
03-23-2007, 02:34 PM
Matt,

I see what you are saying at the end now. Of course stills in the form of frames would work fine. So, now back to that then. How do I best render frames and in what format so that I get use them in Vegas?

Thanks again.

Eric


I don't think there is a video format that will do what you want. You'll need to build an anim from alpha channels and use that to knock out the areas on the main anim file.

Seriously, just use frames, soooooo much easier, they can be manipulated like a video file from within Vegas.

lots
03-23-2007, 02:56 PM
Vegas supports importing image sequences as video. Simply select the first file in the sequence and check the box that says import as image sequence. I dont recall exactly which image formats it supports, but I recently used a TGA image sequence. Which can store the transparency channel (alpha).

Though honestly, the best way to do this is to render out the image sequence for the alpha channel (this is usually a black and white image used to mask visible and non visible areas below the image).

Mr Maze
03-23-2007, 03:35 PM
Also, when doing compositing, remember that even though you are using an alpha channel to mask out something such as a spaceship, the background color can have a huge effect on appearances (especially when raytraced reflections and transparency are turned on, and if they include the backdrop in calculations). You can change the background color from the Windows>Backdrop Options command.

lardbros
03-24-2007, 04:22 AM
Also, when doing compositing, remember that even though you are using an alpha channel to mask out something such as a spaceship, the background color can have a huge effect on appearances (especially when raytraced reflections and transparency are turned on, and if they include the backdrop in calculations). You can change the background color from the Windows>Backdrop Options command.

Yeah, good point! Would be better to render out the Alpha as frames aswell as the actual colour frames. The anti-aliased edges around your objects will be blended with the actual background colour you set in your lightwave scene. So bare that in mind when you choose a background image/colour for your rendering, as it helps enormously if it's similar or exactly the same.

Another way round that is to turn on the "Fader Alpha Mode" button when you save out the alpha channel. This causes the edges not to blend with the background and so the edges can be multiplied with the background in your compositing app. (If it's possible in your program?)

EDIT
-----
Sorry, the mode above has been updated in version 9.2. It is now called "Alpha Format" and you can choose from "Premultiply" (Blend with your background plate) or "Unpremultiplied" (Which doesn't blend your edges with the background)

Probably too much info there for someone getting into this stuff, but maybe come back and read it all again when you've been messing around for a few months!? :D

righteous
03-24-2007, 04:23 PM
I'm pretty sure if you render it out as a .MOV file and just use a backdrop colour within lightwave, then it will be transparent.

Works for me, I do it all the time, just take it straight into premier.

kirkeric
03-24-2007, 08:13 PM
Thanks to you and all above. Wow, lots to learn. I am curious about the backdrop color, seems in the grid when you build it that no background would be transparent. Wouldnt adding a background color hurt the process? I will try the .mov file.

Now, another simple problem (to you). Ive been watching the tutorials and one of the basic ones shows modeling a box (cube) and when the guy does it, he draws the box and i watch exactly and follow along, yet mine doesn't seem to be a cube. I can't grab it and spin it around like the tutorial does.

I seem to recall doing it before though so not sure if I somehow got 3d turned off?

Appreciate some help.

Eric


I'm pretty sure if you render it out as a .MOV file and just use a backdrop colour within lightwave, then it will be transparent.

Works for me, I do it all the time, just take it straight into premier.

kirkeric
03-26-2007, 06:08 PM
Hello,

I'm back for another question. I'm moving right along here in getting to understand LW. Can you tell me where I go to find the options to save as an alpha channel such as PNG and TGA?

I've saved as a .mov and .avi but not transparent background there.

Thanks,
Eric


It will save with a transparent background if you use:

1: an image format that keeps the alpha channel embedded, like PNGs or TGA

2: If you save an alpha sequence out seperately and use that in your compositing/video editing application

kirkeric
03-26-2007, 06:16 PM
Just to add, Ive save as PNG and TGA and the images turn all white, with black background.
Appreciate help.


Hello,

I'm back for another question. I'm moving right along here in getting to understand LW. Can you tell me where I go to find the options to save as an alpha channel such as PNG and TGA?

I've saved as a .mov and .avi but not transparent background there.

Thanks,
Eric

Exception
03-26-2007, 09:53 PM
Examples might help.
Image formats which have the number '32' behind them save an alpha channel, formats which have '24' behind them do not. Do not rely on animation formats (Avi mov etc) to save alpha information.
Get in the habit of ALWAYS rendering to frames. If the render crashes, or you need to redo just some frames, you will be saved a lot of render time. Same when you pick the wrong codec. Always render to frames.

kirkeric
03-27-2007, 05:23 AM
Hey thanks. Good info. Now, as mentioned above, I tried saving as PNG32 and here is what I got. First, I used "render scene" and it rendered into a whole bunch of frames, 1 for each number along that timeline (0 - 61 in this case). I presume that is what you mean by render frames? I noticed if I chose "render frame", it seem to do exactly that, ONE frame. :)

Now, the problem I received is that when rendering to PNG 32, one it didn't have a trans background and 2, it made all my objects just white. My trial was just a simple ball, square, and a cone that I made spin around. Those shapes turned just white and lost all detail.

The closest I have come at all was to save to a .mov or .avi and "black screen" basically in order to make back transparent. Not a good plan however since it also makes the objects semi transparent as well.

So in summary, still having an issue in rendering so that I see the objects as there were designed and with a transparent background.

I'm using Sony Vegas Movie Studio which recognizes the PNG and TGA so it doesn't appear a compatibility issue. Appears more that maybe I have some output/render setting incorrect.

Appreciate your help again.

Eric

PS: I agree with your thoughts on rendering an individual frame. I think I figured that out on accident since the rendering frame happened so quickly, I was like "huh", and then realized, ah, it is just doing the one frame. Makes perfect sense.



Examples might help.
Image formats which have the number '32' behind them save an alpha channel, formats which have '24' behind them do not. Do not rely on animation formats (Avi mov etc) to save alpha information.
Get in the habit of ALWAYS rendering to frames. If the render crashes, or you need to redo just some frames, you will be saved a lot of render time. Same when you pick the wrong codec. Always render to frames.