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How do I create a Divx .avi using Houdini's tools?

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Let's assume that we are on Windows. To combine all your images into an .avi file, you will need to use the command line tools. I'll try to outline a series of steps for compressing into DivX on Windows since I've done that before.

1. First make sure that you have the DivX codec from http://www.divx.com

2. Make sure that you rendered out your images in a resolution that is evenly divisible by 4 in both width and height. This took me awhile before I figured out that the DivX codec was incapable of encoding arbitrary sizes. I just did a web search and apparently if you have the Flask DivX encoder, it only encodes resolutions that are divisible by 16.

3. I'll assume that you rendered out your sequence as filename.$F.tiff. If your file sequence was rendered out differently. Then substitute with the appropriate file name below.

4. Ok, now from the Start Menu, go to Programs > Side Effects Software > Houdini 5.5.xxx (ie. where you launch Houdini from), and choose Command Line Tools

5. This brings up a DOS prompt with its enviroment initialized to use Houdini's command line tools.

6. Use the cd command to change your current working directory to where your pictures were rendered. If you've have never done this before, you might want to type help cd first. For example, if you rendered to c:/mypics, type cd /d c:/mypics

7. Now type mcp -f FSTART FEND filename.$F.tiff -o -r FPS -w WIDTH -h HEIGHT filename.avi. Replace FSTART with your first frame number, FEND with your last frame number, FPS with your frame rate, WIDTH with your picture width, HEIGHT with your picture height.

8. A dialog will pop up asking you to choose your encoder after entering this command. Find the DivX codec and press the OK button.

9. That should be it. You may be tempted to use other codecs to compress but I've found that very little of the default codecs that comes with Windows have encoding capability and even then, poor compression or poor quality. Of course, if you have some other encoding capable codecs installed, then you might want try those but no guarentees.

10. Note that if you want more details on how to use mcp, the command is mcp - (that's a single hyphen after mcp)

(Thanks Edward at Side Effects)

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