Step 1. Bake your simulations

In Blender, there are multiple types of simulations. Make sure, that you bake every single one of them, which saves the simulation even if you open and close the project. This is not only a time-saver because you don’t have to run the simulation process again. It also doesn’t create the same result every time which would mean, that if you want to pause rendering and start it again it would create a glitch in the simulation.
To achieve this you just have to click on the Bake Button in each Cache Menu.

Step 2. Activate the Denoiser

In Blender Version, 2.81 Blender got the first AI Denoiser which really delivers remarkable results. You can read more about it in this article.

Since Version 2.82 There is another AI Denoiser by Nvidia which was developed for real-time Ray-Tracing on Nvidia’s RTX GPUs. But even if it is now possible, to use it without an RTX GPU it is much slower than using the IOID in the Compositor which means if you don’t own an RTX GPU you should do it how I described it here.

If you use a Denoiser you can use fewer samples because you don’t have to worry about noise.  Which can lower your Export times dramatically.

Step 3. Check everything

Watch if everything you want to render is enabled in the Outline Tab, check if the resolutions you set are correct, and make a Test render, to make sure, you don’t forget anything.

Step 4. set your Output settings

Select the folder in which you want to save the Images to.

The standard Image format for VFX Image sequences is OpenEXR. The reason is, that this format supports 32 Bit depth and  a lot of multiple channels which can be useful for compositing, but that’s another topic.

In Color, you should pick RGBA. That includes the Alpha Channel if you have transparent parts in your Image.

When it comes to color depth, you can choose between float (half) (16bit) or float (full) (32bit). The difference is 32bit Images contain more information which enables you, to do more in post-processing. The downside is, that the files are roughly 2 times bigger. For most of the project, 16bit will be more than enough.

As in every Image format there are also algorithms, to compress the Image and make it smaller while maintaining as much quality as possible, probably the best for CG is Pxr24 (lossy). Which was developed by Pixar specifically for CGI.

Step 5. Start the rendering process

Before you star rendering don’t forget to save, because starting the rendering process is one of the moments in which it is possible, that Blender crashes. You can start the rendering process either by clicking on Render Animation which you can find under Render or by pressing CTRL + F12 on Windows.

Step 6. Import the Image sequence in After Effects

After creating a new project in After Effects, click on File>Import>File… or press CTRL + I.