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  1. #1
    Member MattyZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    SF Bay Area

    Restrict render layer range based on frames

    Hey All,

    I have a large project that I'm working on which is a single camera shot which travels through different scenes. Each scene is fairly complicated, and I'm looking into managing the render time. I currently have each scene on it's own layer (or two) and the camera/lighting on it's own layer as well. I noticed that I can't keyframe enabled layers.

    In order to manage render time I was hoping to be able to turn off layers once the camera has passed through them (saving time on BVH cache etc).

    I did noticed that I can enable or disable render layers in the scene tab either on or off. Is this the best way to accomplish this goal?

    I'd greatly appreciate any advice from the community on this issue.

    Thank you very much,

    Matthew Zinn Intel i7 5930K @3.50 GHz GTX 780 ti 32GBs RAM

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Nashville, TN (USA)
    I suggest that it's time that you adopt a lesson from "conventional movie-making." Instead of attempting to do "one render" that magically "renders the entire movie all at once," break down your process just as real movies do:

    1. Each "render" is a separate "piece of film," which might be longer than the portion that is actually used in the finished picture.
    2. In CG, the workflow is often "edit, then render." Blender's "OpenGL Preview" feature is conceived expressly for this purpose, because it enables you to quickly produce material, for editing purposes, that will be an exact stand-in for the final shot.
    3. After you have produced the (stand-in ...?) footage, "cut it together" in the Video Editor or in some third-party tool to produce the finished movie.

    Blender also features a "library linking" feature which enables you to "link to" assets in one file from many others. ("Scenes" are, in fact, an example of this linking concept, applied within a single file.)

    So, this alternative perspective to your project would boil down to this:

    • When setting up a substantal project, create all of your assets, your sets (with camera positions), and so forth, planning to link to them. (Maybe this admonition does not apply to you ... this time ...)
    • You don't attempt to "automate the transitions" during the render process.
    • ... In fact, you delay(!) the actual rendering process as long as possible, working with "stand-ins" instead.
    • You knowingly "stand-in" more material than you need, "stamping" each frame so that you can positively identify it later.
    • You assemble the actual movie before(!!) you render anything, using Blender's video-editor or equivalent software. (You will usually re-discover, at this step, that "the writer's greatest tool is the eraser." Go ahead and "leave it on the cutting-room floor," and do so without apology or regret, since it actually didn't cost you anything.)
    • Then, armed with exact "shot-names and frame-ranges" obtained by this process, you final-render the eventual picture, dropping the completed cuts in one-at-a-time. (By now, you already know that every single "final-rendered" sequence will, in fact, be used in the picture.)

    In your immediate, scene-based project, one possibility would be to purpose your existing blend-file as a "library master," containing various "scenes" that can be linked to. In this case, each "shot" might become a new file that "links to" the scenes and other assets in the master. Another approach would be to create new scenes, within the existing file, which represent each shot. Either way, the key realization is that the project is now broken down into shots, and that each of these shots are going to produce source material for a separate editing process that will produce the actual show.
    Last edited by sundialsvc4; 06-Dec-17 at 20:06.

  3. #3
    Member MattyZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    SF Bay Area

    Thank you for your very detailed response... However, the mistake may have been mine in that I should have probably placed this post in the technical support area? Your suggestions are valid for perhaps different projects; however, I did mention at the top of my post that the project I'm currently working on needs to be one continuous shot (same camera and continuous camera move throughout different scenes) so no editing. My client would certainly not be happy if they invested all of this money only to have me change their concept around so I could 'edit it.'

    Again, perhaps I should have broken down my question a different way as to not cause confusion and make it seem like a basic workflow issue. So, I'll give it another try:

    -I need to render a 720 frame animation (30 second commercial for broadcast) of a single camera move where the camera is traveling through different 'scenes.'

    -The scenes assemble and build themselves in and out of the shot as the camera passes through.

    -Each of the scenes are on different layers.

    -In order to save render time I was curious if there were a simple way to tell blender which layers to enable at a given time so it doesn't need to calculate 10's of millions of vertices for each frame (only a few million per scene/layer

    -I've found one possibility of achieving this goal by key-framing the enable switch on active render layers in the scene tab, but I'm not sure if this is the best/ most efficient way of accomplishing this and would appreciate any help from the community.

    Sundialsvc4, the information you gave is very good and direct. As a 3D/VFX Artist for a production company (in the SF Bay Area) for the past 10 years I can absolutely vouch for you in terms of the value of OPENGL renders and sharing assets between projects. You should certainly think about having a blog or website (if you don't already) where you can give instruction to the community about the editing pipeline as it relates to Blender and 3D work in general.
    Matthew Zinn Intel i7 5930K @3.50 GHz GTX 780 ti 32GBs RAM

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