Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Output Format Options

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Output Format Basics[edit | edit source]

Format tab.png

When you render a scene in Blender, by default a small window will open showing your image. If you want to publish your picture, you may want to render it a bit bigger. To do this, you have to open the Scene context (F10) and locate the Format tab (usually on the right).

You will see some settings there. Let's go through their meanings:

  • Format settings sizeX.pngSizeX: This parameter sets the width of the image in pixels.
  • Format settings sizey.pngSizeY: This parameter sets the height of the image in pixels.
  • Format settings aspXaspY.pngAspX, AspY: These parameters specify the aspect ratio of the pixels. By default, this is 100:100, because a pixel on a computer screen has equal width and height. These settings can be used for screens whose pixels don't have equal width and height. For example, on a PAL system one pixel's width/height ratio is 54:51, which you can select there easily. Notice that these parameters don't change the size of the image.

Don't forget, setting the number of pixels changes the resolution. Resolutions for your computer desktop are normally 1024x768, but can be larger. This means that it is 1,024 pixels wide and 768 pixels tall. To make an image this size in Blender, change the SizeX to 1024 and the SizeY to 768.

If this does not come out correctly, then you should right-click your desktop and click Properties, then go to Appearance. The highlighted numbers are X by Y.

Output formats[edit | edit source]

Blender has the ability to save in a wide variety of formats. To change the format, click the drop-down box ( Format settings drop-down box.png ) halfway down the format tab. Currently, Blender can save files in the following formats:

  • TIFF
  • OpenEXR
  • DPX
  • Cineon
  • Radiance HDR
  • Iris:
  • Iris + Zbuffer:
  • HamX: extremely compact but only for the "Play" option
  • Jpeg: default format. Lossy compression.
  • BMP: uncompressed.
  • PNG: open, lossless compression, alpha channel.
  • Targa Raw: uncompressed Targa.
  • Targa: Compressed Targa.

Single rendered images are not automatically saved to disk. Once Blender finishes rendering a scene (this can take some time), press F3 and the save dialogue will be opened where you can specify a filename and location for the output. You can retrieve the last picture rendered by pressing F11.

When working with moving images, you need to remember that you are often looking at file size (such as on the net) and compatibility with media players. Videos consists out of 2 elements: the file format and the codec. An example of this would be that you have a MOV file (the file format) with a H.264 codec. In other words, the codec is the way that the files are interpreted (compressed-decompressed = codec) by the media player. Youtube currently uses the FLV format with an H.264 codec. The VLC player should play almost any format available.


  • AVI Codec: saves an AVI with a compression codec. Once selected a pop-up menu will appear giving options as to what codec you want.
  • AVI Jpeg: saves an AVI as Jpeg images. Compressed but lossy.
  • AVI Raw: saves an AVI with uncompressed frames.
  • QuickTime: saves a QuickTime MOV file. Once selected, a pop-up menu will appear giving various video codecs to choose from. Can also remain uncompressed.
  • FFMpeg: Implemented in a Google Summer of Code event, this codec is composed of multiple software libraries, so you can choose which codec to use under the video tab. The audio tab lets you choose from several different audio codecs to use and also has a bitrate setting. The Multiplex Audio button will render your animation with sound (if you have any), a nice feature.

For more information, see

Cropping[edit | edit source]

You can see Format settings crop button.png button next to drop-down box. If you activate it, image automatically gets cropped after rendering.

Palette[edit | edit source]

Format settings palette selection.png

You can select three different palettes in Blender:

  • BW - images are saved with BW (greyscale) data
  • RGB - images are saved with RGB (color) data
  • RGBA - images are saved with RGB and Alpha data (if supported)

Pre-sets Just For You[edit | edit source]

Format settings pre-sets.png

The render settings in blender are customizable for unique results, but blender includes 9 pre-sets for common render outputs. One can use the pre-set as is or can use it as a starting point at which the settings are then modified.

PAL and NTSC are systems used in analogue Television. If someone were making an animation for TV or DVD, that individual may use one of these depending on which is used in their country. Both the PAL and NTSC pre-sets in Blender only affect the dimensions and pixel aspect ratio of the render and doesn't turn on anti-aliasing (OSA) or affect any other variable in the render. Pal 16:9 is a newer an improved version of PAL which is also known as PALplus.

The Default pre-set uses the dimensions and an pixel aspect ratio as PAL but also includes OSA and shadows.

The Preview pre-set generates a low quality setting for a fast render that usually is not used as a final output.

  • PANO is short for Panorama. This setting allows for a full 360 degree panoramic render.
  • FULL produces a render that fits your monitors full screen.
  • HD is for High Definition.