Better Process for Rendering and Exporting From After Effects

Lunch 'n Learn

September 25, 2020
Sarah Corner
Designer & Animator

It’s one thing to finish animating a project in After Effects, but when it comes to exporting, it’s a whole new wheelhouse. For our last Lunch n’ Learn, Sarah covered the very basics of exporting using the Render Queue in After Effects and the basics of using Adobe Media Encoder.

Key Takeaways

Prior to exporting, Sarah discusses a simple solution to common rendering problems including the bane of an animator’s existence: buffering, lagging, and dropping frames. Using proxies—otherwise known as temporary, low-res asset files—improve the buffer time on your Adobe After Effects render and make scrubbing through the timeline a breeze. Just make sure you relink your original asset before exporting so you get the original crisp resolution you started with!

Exporting a Quicktime video with alpha enabled allows users to export transparent MOV files. Of the file types capable of exporting transparent video files, MOV is the way to go. MP4s cannot export alpha layers (otherwise known as transparent layers). This can be done in both the Render Queue and in Adobe Media Encoder.

Users can also export multiple files, file types, and bitrate settings with one exported composition in Adobe Media Encoder. Simply add a new output using the Add Output icon in the top left corner of the window. 

Additional Tips

Adobe Media Encoder is especially useful when it comes to saving time exporting iterations from the same After Effects file. Every “Add To Adobe Media Encoder Queue” click creates a new AE file from which Media Encoder sources the composition from. Think of it as a recovered or converted file—it’s separate from the original file and is placed in an auto-generated folder alongside your original AE file. 

Because Media Encoder is sourcing this newly generated file, you are free to keep working in your original file while Media Encoder does all the work exporting that first iteration. You won’t have to worry about your immediate changes to the file showing up in the export you just sent off to Media Encoder.