Understanding 3D Rendering and Animation Resolution and File Sizes

A big factor in the quality and cost of a render is the desired image resolution. All digital images are made up of small squares called pixels. The more pixels that an image is made up of, the more detailed the image. The pixels have no relation to the detail of the 3D model, but greatly affects how far you can zoom in on the image, and how big the image can be printed. If you blow up an image too much, it will become pixilated, where you can see that the individual pixels and the image is no longer clear.

You should pick your resolution based on the resolution of the screen, printer, or projector you will be showing your render on. For images that will only be displayed on a computer, projector, or HD Television you will generally want 1080HD (1920×1080, BlueRay 1080p). Images for print usually require higher resolutions – particularly for large signs, posters or billboards. If you are planning to print your renders, make sure you check with your graphic designer or printer so you can be sure the render meets your requirements.

You can render video at any resolution, but the standard resolutions are:

  • 480p (standard definition, DVD quality).
  • 720p (higher definition, great for projectors or laptop screens).
  • 1080p (high definition, BlueRay quality).

It is important to check ahead of time what screen your video will be played on.

Effects of Resolution on Render Time

Every time the resolution of an image doubles, the surface area quadruples. As well as, render times and file sizes go up fourfold. These relationships are particularly relevant to video, where the render times are already very long.