By far, I have had the best animation results with the QuickTime Animation and H.264 codecs. The newer H.264 codec compresses well with good results. When I need a generic format that doesn't require QuickTime or a codec download, I create an MPG.
Most AVI codecs are designed for compressing a video source and create unpleasant artifacts when used for animation. I haven't found any of then suitable for high quality animation playback, but Sorenson seems the least offensive. Many users swear by DivX but this requires viewers to download the codec before viewing the animation. Problems have been reported in the download/install process, including spyware, which may discourage viewers from watching the animation. Search the WCS mailing list for 'codec' for other perspectives.
Surprisingly, there is a free encoder from Microsoft that turns out remarkably good output in the WMI format. Download the Windows Media Encoder 9 for WinXP and try it. You'll need to start with an uncompressed AVI for best results.
Quick Sequence, don't hide the view
[WCS and VNS 1-2] When generating a Quick Sequence of OpenGL frames, don't cover your OpenGL view with another application. Doing so may cause the Quick Sequence frame to take on the appearance of that application.
VNS 3 does not have the OpenGL limitation of earlier versions. A Quick Sequence is properly captured regardless of where the preview window is in the desktop stack.
Missing terrain in rendered animation
Chances are you don't have up-to-date Fractal Maps (or Fractal Depth Maps, FDMs) for the Render Job Camera. Always regenerate FDMs before rendering an animation.
If you're rendering preview frames and are using Fractal Maps, you still need up-to-date FDMs. Remember that FDM generation only uses Cameras in enabled Render Jobs. If the Camera you're rendering is not in an enabled Render Job, there will be missing terrain in your preview renders.
Motion blur in filmmaking is blur caused by movement in the frame while the shutter is open. For example, movie film exposed at 24fps may have a shutter speed of 1/60 second. With that shutter speed, most motion will be blurred to a degree. Projected at 24fps, the motion appears smooth over time.
Rendered frames have no natural motion blur. They are instantaneous moments in computer time. This is one of the reasons that animation motion looks computer generated. Motion blur in animation is simulated in single rendered images by creating additional images before and after the image and combining them. Depending on the 3D application, this can be a complex and time consuming process. In WCS, motion blur is limited to predicted camera positions for the duration of the rendered image.
Motion blur is very costly in terms of render time because several frames have to be rendered for each frame of finished animation.
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