Bitmaps and render times

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Bitmaps and render times

Postby slowtiger » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:10 pm

I'm in the last days of a cutout animation project with sometimes hundreds of bitmaps in one scene and like to share some observations:

While it's OK to create bitmaps a little bit larger than needed, don't do them larger than twice as needed. Moho seems to render slower the more it must scale down each element. You might not notice with just a few bitmaps, but with more than 20 it's obvious.

If you need to create them large because you need a close-up somewhere, it's always worth it to do a smaller version as well, to use in particle animation or any other fashion where you have lots of small ones.

If they don't move in relation to each other, by all means create plates as bitmaps which already contain dozens or hundreds of copies. Moho handles these much faster than each object as a separate image.

Calculating transfer modes and transparencies slow Moho down as well, so if it's possible do this in the bitmaps as well.
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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby Greenlaw » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:49 pm

Good tips! Thanks for posting SlowTiger.

slowtiger wrote:While it's OK to create bitmaps a little bit larger than needed, don't do them larger than twice as needed. Moho seems to render slower the more it must scale down each element. You might not notice with just a few bitmaps, but with more than 20 it' obvious.


The following only applies to artists considering rendering for compositing:

If you're using the Extra Smooth option, Moho is internally rendering 2X res and then scaling down, so the render time can get quadrupled. And if there's a lot of detail, the anti-aliasing can take a very long time. To speed this up, I often render only the character passes from Moho using Layer Comps, and set up the final environment in a compositing program. This is faster for me because the character passes don't usually fill frame, and when changes are requested, it's typically going to be in the character animation, not the BG, and the CA is going to be faster to render out of Moho without the BG. Not a hard and fast rule but it usually works out that way for me.

Calculating transfer modes and transparencies slow Moho down as well, so if it's possible do this in the bitmaps as well.


Yes, Moho can get slow with that, so I usually do this and other image processes, and lighting effects in compositing too. To me, it's just faster and more interactive that way.

I know many artists here don't use a compositing program but reducing render times (more specifically, speeding up re-renders for animation changes) is why I always do, whether I'm working in 2D animation, 3D, or live action.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby slowtiger » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:13 pm

Ah, didn't know about that Extra Smooth (or have forgotten already). But I'll keep that switched on, the other stuff makes much more of a difference here.

What I do right now is to build and animate in v8 on one machine, and render on another (faster) one in v11.
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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby DK » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:15 am

I recently worked on a TV commercial where I built a product in Lightwave 3D and had it rotating 360 degrees as a cycle.
Image
The cycle consisted of an image sequence 200 frames x1920 x 1080. I then imported this image sequence into Moho for composition. I made another copy of the image sequence to stretch over the length of frames I had set.

Suddenly everything started to crash. Windows wanted to close programs due to memory etc etc.
Now I only have to load this scene into Moho and windows goes crazy. Admittedly there is also an audio track, photos and some vector animation and text in the Moho scene and it is asking a lot of my smaller laptop I was working on. That said when I started rendering the scene Moho would crash about 50 frames into the render. If I re started the render without shutting Moho down, Moho would render the entire scene but not write one single frame to the hard drive. I know it's really pushing the software to it's limits but there seems to be some underlying issues going on here with Moho as well. I had mentioned this before Mike left and there was some work done that tried to address a memory leak issue. I had not had this occur again since until last week where this large image sequence import seemingly has set things off again.

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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby Shelde » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:53 am

Generally or in your case slowtiger, why do you use Bitmap instead of PNG? The file size is horrendous on BMP compared to PNG and as afaik the quality is the same.

@DK:
Out of interest, why would you add in an image sequence and not the 3D Model or a fully rendered video of it (considering that you aimed to make the composition completly in Moho). I haven't worked with the 3D Model import of Moho yet, but that should be doable right?

Also why doubling the frames instead of looping them?


So far the Render Time for my projects were quite good on my old macbook (using PNGs for the backgrounds)
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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby Greenlaw » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:55 am

Are you rendering to frames or a movie file?

Just wondering because rendering to a movie file can get memory/processor intensive when you have a complicated scene setup, especially on a 'low-powered' computer. Instead, try rendering to PNG sequence instead. Unlike a movie file, which some programs need to hold all the rendered frames in memory before writing to, an image sequence will render/write one frame at a time so there's a lot less RAM overhead. This can leave your computer some breathing space to work on tougher tasks like animation and effects.

After the image sequence is rendered, you can compile the frames to a movie file in an editing program, or you can import the sequence to a new empty Moho project and then render the movie file.

I typically render to image sequence from any 2D or 3D animation program first, and then render/convert to a movie file (usually from a compositing program) for the editorial program. That's how I output my first two Moho shorts, Scareplane and Hearts Like Fists on a small laptop with only 4GB of RAM.

If you're crashing while rendering to frames, try breaking the output into separate frame ranges. Or use Layer Comps to break out passes. Rendering passes can simplify the task for Moho. You can assemble the passes in a compositing program, like Fusion for example, and output the movie from there.

Hope this is helpful.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:21 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby DK » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:11 am

Hi.
3D Model import into Moho is horrible. No control over surface textures, specularity or light etc. I could have looped the frames as you mentioned on second thought. I had no time and just copied the image sequence. I did turn the visibility off on each file as they crossed over though to try and save memory.

Rendering to png image sequences always as a rule and always composite final output in Vegas Pro for post and delivery to stations.
I ended up getting out of it by using frame ranges as you mentioned.

I make 3-4 TVC's per week and have to work as fast as possible. Sometimes I just don't have the time to play with Moho features due to time constraints.

Thanks heaps for the feedback! Very helpful.

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Re: Bitmaps and render times

Postby slowtiger » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:45 am

Shelde: When I said "bitmap" I was referring to pixel-based stuff, of course the file format is PNG (although this is a bit slower while saving).

DK: I don't use image sequences, instead I render to QT movies (with PNG codec) and import them, for easier handling. So far I never had any of those experiences you report, but I'm on a Mac. 200 frames in HDTV is just normal here, Moho only starts to get slow with more than about 5 HDTV videos at the same time. In that case I may render layer by layer (or layer comps) separately, if necessary.
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