Export animations in Blender

Edited 11th December 2020

I think, exporting a video out of Blender can be a bit confusing for beginners. It also took me a while to come to this workflow I am currently using so perhaps not only beginners but also more advanced users can learn from this.

I am rendering in single frames and in a linear format. Because I want to be able to pause the rendering process and be as flexible as possible with my rendering when it comes to post-processing.

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 timesaver cause you don’t have to run the simulation process again. it also gives you the same result every time.
To achieve this you just have to click on the Bake Button in each Cache Menue.

Screenshot of Blender baking Cache

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.

Comparison of a denoised by Intel Open Image Denoise and a image without denoiser

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 I 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.

Screenshot of Blender Denoiser options

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

Create a folder where you want to have your files exported in cause you will have a single Image for every Frame.
And Chose OpenEXR as File Format. That will not give us the Highest Image Quality. It is also a linear Format without any Colorspace, Which gives you the most possibilities when it comes to choosing the colorspace and post-processing without losing any quality.

Screenshot of Blender render Output settings

Step 5. Start the rendering process

Before you start the rendering process don’t forget to save. Also, don’t worry if you open up one of the Images it will look a bit weird which is caused by your OS don’t know what it is and how to work with it.

Screenshot of Blender clicking on Render Animation

Step 6. Import the Images in Davinci

Davinci Resolve is the standard Hollywood color grading software. but it is also possible to edit with Davinci and the standard version is completely free and doesn’t have any limitations at the basic functions. It is also possible, to edit inside of Blender currently this is not recommendable.
To import the images just create a new project and click on File> Import File> Import Media, then navigate to the Folder, where you exported the Images in and select all of them.
And then just drag the footage on the timeline.

The images don’t contain any Information about the Framerate which is the reason you have to set the Framerate manually if it is not 24. You can do that by right-clicking on the Footage and then click on Clip Attributes and change the Framerate.

Step 7. Change the Colorspace

A Benefit of exporting everything in a linear colorspace is, that you can switch the colorspace after the rendering process. A reason for this could be more realism from the filmic colorspace or more color accuracy from the standard colorspace.

To change the colorspace you have to switch to the Fusion Tab which is something like the Compositor in Blender but much more resilient and advanced.

Then add an OCIC Colorspace Node by right-clicking > Add Tools > Color > OCIO Colorspace.
Hold down Shift and place the Node between both of the other Nodes.

In the Inspector Panel on the right side, you have the settings for each Node.
For the OCIO Colorspace Node load the OCIO Config file of Blender. Just click on Browse and navigate to the config.ocio file. you can find it in the installation folder in datafiles > color management config.ocio.

After this set the Source Space to linear and the Output space to which colorspace do you prefer. For me, this is filmic sRGB or sRGB in most cases.

Step 8. Export

What you do next depends on you. You can post-process it and color grade it or just export it.

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