Feature suggestion: animation previewer

Started by Weezer, December 04, 2020, 08:02:57 AM

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Now Keyshot is animation-friendly, I think it needs a proper viewer, like the Picture Viewer in Cinema 4D, which stores progressive frames so you can preview the result while it's rendering. Currently you set it going and hope for the best – ideally, you should be able to preview the animation sequence in order to make sure it's looking as you'd like, and to see how the image changes from frame to frame. This way you can make adjustments early on if you haven't set enough time or samples, or maybe there's some render artefacts you didn't see early on.


By "progressive frames" do you mean it stores every single frame first at 1 sample, then moves on to calculate additional samples? Because that could be cool, but it would definitely increase render time at least a Little bit since it takes a few seconds to save an image, and you'd be doing it multiple times.
Doing this would also have the added benefit of giving you an accurate time estimation as soon as it completes the first single sample pass. Currently, any time estimation is not all that informative if things go in/out of frame, or cover more/less of the frame. So pretty much anything that isn't just a revolve of a cylinder or sphere.


Sorry, no it simply stores every rendered frame, so you can do a full preview at full FPS speed if your system can handle it (most can). You can stop and examine any individual frame, do A/B comparisons and even add post effects, grading etc. Very powerful and incredibly useful. The number of time I've stated an animation only to see an error on frame x, so stopped and restarted. Or you can see which frames are dodgy and just re-render those.


Keyshot can render to frames as well. In fact, everyone who does animation will recommend you do that, because of exactly what you describe. I've had animations in keyshot render for a while perfectly fine, then....suddenly I got 3 black frames and it just Stopped. No error. It just plain stopped. Render starting there again? No problem. It works fine.
Most keyshot users (guessing) also have creative cloud, so have access to premiere and after effects. You can load them in there to edit as a video. OR, if you just want a video out afterward, you can just use Adobe Encoder to compile them. I think even photoshop can do it?
If you're Not an adobe user, there are other free things that can do it as well. I know there are some simple frame playback tools for free, but I haven't looked in a while because I just haven't needed them. Blender can do it, but is admittedly, not easy.
I Want to say the playback viewer for Maya is basically what you're describing...and is actually free with no license. But it's been a while. And if you're rendering something like 16bit 4k or something, then it's Definitely likely to not playback without caching first.

But the main trick here is to render out frames. I don't even bother to render the video file. Although, at least in KS9, there is a bug that causes the name to not function correctly for frames if rendering an animation. It will take the name from the video file instead, even if you aren't using it. So I set the name of the video file first, Then uncheck it.
Another good suggestion, is if you have an additional computer, render to a folder than either syncs online like dropbox, oneDrive, etc, or a local shared drive. That way you don't even have to stop to look at the frames. AND they are constantly being backed up in case your system gets hosed for some reason. Because, yes, when you're rendering, you really can't do much of anything without pausing.


Yeah I render frames. Everyone does. But C4D's previewer is built directly into the app. It just means I don't have to go anywhere else: I can preview the animation right there, without loading another program. (I can also add post effects and do other grading/edits). I think it's really useful, which is why I suggested it for Keyshot.


Quote from: andy.engelkemier on December 09, 2020, 06:38:54 AM
But the main trick here is to render out frames. I don't even bother to render the video file. Although, at least in KS9, there is a bug that causes the name to not function correctly for frames if rendering an animation. It will take the name from the video file instead, even if you aren't using it. So I set the name of the video file first, Then uncheck it.
I don't think that's a bug (or maybe it is?) but it's done that for as long as I can remember. It took me a long time to figure it out but I know it's been doing that since before v7.  I'm sure if I go back far enough, I can find a post where I suggested a change to that.

To the OP, technically you can preview the animation from the timeline, however the real-time rendering sucks and so previewing isn't that useful, especially with larger models (which is typically what I'm working with).  So a rendered preview like you're talking about would be a nice and welcome feature. I wonder if when setting up a render in the timeline if it could render smaller version of the frames in the background for a "rendered preview" - something lower res or lower dimensions and samples. The hard part will be updating frames as changes are made and also that it will add a drain on resources, which if you're working on large models might be less desirable. Maybe a toggle on/off would be good.  I still kinda get stuck on just how efficient it could be - if the real time window struggles with full resources, then a preview operating with a fraction of the resources seems like it has no chance.

I like the idea, just can't fathom how they might get it to work.


Yeah, depending on how you define bug, then sure. But it Is a bug if you go by the general definition of an error or Flaw that gives an unexpected result. They let you turn off the video file, and they let you change the name of the frames. But rather than using that name it uses the name of the video file. So yes, that's a bug. Is it designed that way? How is the user to know? So to a user, it's a bug. But developers have been defining bug as something that causes a failure instead, I think.

Now you guys know there IS a preview button that does what theAVator is saying right? It renders a lower quality animation and opens it so you can see the whole thing Fairly quickly. It's not Nearly fast enough though, if you have a long and complicated animation. It would be much more useful, for motion if they allowed it to use the geometry view.

But Weezer, I see what your saying. (And also, not everyone renders frames, unfortunately. Because not everyone knows how, or knows what to do with them afterward).

It sort of makes sense for keyshot as a request though. I'd rather just be able to do a preview using geometry view as an option so I could Actually preview the entire timing of everything in real-time and get a video file out of it that I could kind of share.
If you do that though, you'd really need to be able to define pauses. I mean, you're not rendering in pauses right? You can switch cameras and all, but keyshot has no idea if you pause. So it would just render the same frame 50 times if you pause for 50 frames. Shoot, I don't even want that frame to be duplicated to waste the space And make compositing slower.