Large animation render advice...render as image and Animate in After effects?

I am working on a landscape that already is waaaaay too much for my computer to render. It’s taking 30+ minutes per frame, I don’t know what i did, other than it is a landscape with a lot of elements going far into the background, and I am not really all that skilled at keeping it low poly, I’m sloppy in general with most organizational things and I sort just maxxed out everything poly wise, including my far BG elements. Kinda kicking myself right now… I want it to be about 3000 frames, a few minutes i suppose.
I ama doing a simple camera pan across the desert (like the long pan in Touch of Evil or Godard’s “weekend”). There are no moving elements other than the camera. I’m thinking I can do one of three things.
pay a ridiculous amount of money to render it with a service, ones that i’ve found who support blender don’t do avi or .mov?
try to convince someone in the tech area of my school to allow me a late night render session threaded out over a dozen or so boxes in one of the labs? (closely knit school, definately not out of the question)
Or 3, and this is my curent leaning… Render the foreground, middle ground, and background planes separately as loooong hi res images with alpha channels, and do the camera pan in After effects, which is where I was planning on doing some of the post work anyway.
I assume someone would point out the cons of doing the third which is why i bring it up. One con is that AE isn’t real 3d sapce and it seems like blender has some AE export problems, but I guess I’m just using images so that shouldn’t be an issue,
any sugegstions would be greatly appreciated.

Maybe render out your background to use as a Matte painting, then re-import on a simple plain and keep your high poly foreground for the animation and render out then to frames to bring into AE. Not sure about the need for too-high of poly in the far back - maybe turn off subsurf levels or whatever for objects in the back if they aren’t different much from camera view.

Thanks for the advice, I’m in the middle of rendering the various scene components separately, going much faster— NTSC settings at 8 bit pixel depth AVI-jpeg, gives me 10 seconds of Anim after 4 hours. So i think i can deal for low res tests etc., as far as a final, we have a supped up multicore ex-server turned workstation that is getting no use which I can use during the off hourse to bang out the hi res stuff. I guess I’m slightly more optomistic after seeing how much faster the scene data renders when parsed out into different layers.

I think I will probably use my background as a matte in AE, and just give it a slight nudge to give the impression of movement in perspective.

Thanks for the advice

If you’re using the Raytracer, it may be also a good idea to have a look on the octreesize.
This can give a real boost to your render, especailly on large scenes.
More on this could be found here:


Just export your scene as a MA (maya) file and import it into After Effects. The camera will transport from Blender to After Effects just fine.