"Render, render, render, keep those movies renderin', renderhide!"
I've been spending the last few days rendering, in pieces for four or five hours at a time, turning off my computer so it cools down for an hour or so, rebooting and begining again. I got so bored last night that I made an image Xia (to your left - click it to enlarge). Visit the webpage for more information about this image. It's interesting, I feel so suppressed by long term projects that in the midst of them I have to create little projects to satisfy that creative sense of urgency.
I have finished all of the scenes of my project (as far as I know - this doesn't mean that changes won't be requested - or modifications required after viewing the completed render - I am expecting there will be). I hit the message boards upon realizing my completed scene was much too large to be able to render in its entirety (over 30 hours of rendering) and I subsequently learned that rendering as individual tga or png files is the preferred alternative. The golden rule is "never render to .mov or .avi" - unless of course it is a small sequence like the examples currently on my website. This is the first project I have completed that is several minutes long (equals 5395 frames).
Distraction notification - I just searched my email box for correspondence related to this project, trying to determine how long it took me to create these 3 minutes, it looks like I started in March. 5 months (but I'm not done yet). It looks so simple and quick when the movies are viewed...... but in the background the work is really, the polar opposite.
At any rate, rendering my scene in the tga or png format (I chose tga for the lossless quality) will save each frame individually, so that if I crash (and I often have from over working my system during renders - even for the smaller scenes), I will not lose the whole thing like I would if it was a .mov file, I will still have every frame up to the point of the crash. Indeed during my first run of rendering this scene, I did crash (around frame 7 hundred something), I spotted that good ole' "delayed write" error that I've become so familiar with. I shut down my system for a rest - rebooted and every frame previous was still in tact. I now know not to render the output size of this scene up to a length of 700 frames, but to stop at a lower number. I also did a test compilation of these files from Combustion in a 2D composition mode - the 7 hundred frames I tested rendered very quickly, so I know that when I am done rendering from Max that I have a solution for gluing these individual files together. I'm not there yet, but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel...