Here are 5 Tips to save your Renders and extra information efficient so that you have the overview, the best quality and the opportunity to change the Compositing (especially DoF) of your animation even when you think you are finished but got another idea. If this is the case than following tips will be very helpful. So let’s start.
1. The File Output Node
There is a great node: the File Output Node. With that we can export every image we need into a file to different paths. You can find this node in the output category. The best way is to save every pass that you use: Mist, AO, Diffuse Direct/Indirect/Color etc. and then of course the composited image and the raw image. So that it might look something like this:
2. Depth of Field
If you want to add or change the Depth of Field (DoF) in the post-production you have to save the z-depth of the image but you cannot simply connect it to the file output node and save it as a PNG. That will not work. You have to set the Output format under the render settings tab to OpenEXR and enable the Z Buffer checkbox. OpenEXR is a format with a depth of 32 bit and stores other information too e.g. the Z-depth of the image.
NOTE: You don’t need to use the composite node in the Node Editor. It will work without it but if you want to use it do not forget to connect the Z Output of the Render Layers Node to the Z Input of the Composite Node.
3. The File Format
The best file format to choose is PNG (Portable Network Graphics) because it does not have any compression, it’s lossless. Here is a comparison of PNG and JPG:
4. The File System
Try to save your files in a good structured file system. This system is of course subjective. I prefer something like this:
It is very easy to Re-Composite your image. You have to insert image nodes and all the images (in this case raw, mist and z-depth) and plug them to the right input. This node setup shows how it could look in the end when you composite your picture or animation again: