Auto Build Output Paths

Setting output paths is a pretty important part of rendering multiple passes, and RPM has two ways of making this step easier: partially automated where you ask it to build the paths and it uses the output setup you have defined in the output preferences, and also a fully automated output setup that can mean you set it once, and after that all generation is automatic - which can mean that if you want a new output set every time you have a new increment of your max file, this is what you get without having to interact with it at all.

If you enable the auto path generation on submit, you will often never need to do more than simply set up the root path for the output - whenever you submit a job RPM will create all the directories as needed (ie if the take number has changed) under that root, and if you use the save-incremented take number in the path you will never render over existing frames.

You control how the output path is constructed using the Output Preferences from the RPM Output menu. The construction can be complicated - this is required to allow enough control. There is a feedback sample in the UI to show you how the path is being constructed which helps immensely, and once setup you often do not have to change it. Mostly set and forget.

You can also save/load the output setup - though it is not a live link to the setup .ini file, if you want to change it you need to reload it within the file (I use only one setup on my projects so don't need to change it).

For Example…
If your root path is high enough, you only need one for an entire job: we have our root path set to …/shots/. The auto path generation is set up to examine our standard filename structure, which is something like this:


and extracts the first 9 characters (or first 3 strings divided by '_') of the scene name using one of the 3 filters, uses that for a directory, and then using another filter, divides up the name using _ and uses the 4th item - the department (L), and then another filter to get the last element - 'tk001' which is used as a directory, then adds the RPMPass name in there as another directory, then uses that again for the output name.

So the path result is:


If I increment the scene to


when I submit I automatically get:


if I save a new shot-scene with


it automatically creates the output directories under …/shots/mb_05_045/

without doing anything more than submitting. It might sound complicated to describe it, but no longer having to think about output paths and constantly navigate directories really is worth it.

You can use other information like user-entered strings, date/time or parts of the date/time, #username, #machinename, the passPrefix (the string to the right and below the main pass list) and some other stuff I should document. #username - inserts the current username as logged in

#machinename - inserts the name of the computer

#date - requires some extra data: which parts of the date to include by index, and a divider to separate them. ie entering #date321_ inserts '2004_04_26' into the path when your regional settings are Australia. #date21- inserts '04-26'.
Note that the specifics returned are dependent on your regional settings, but based on US settings the indices would likely correspond to:

#Adate - same as for #date but it gives you the year as just the last two digits.

#passIndex - inserts the index of the pass

The controls for the Output setup are in the Output menus' Output Preferences item - it might look a bit daunting at first, but as you change settings there is a preview path which shows you how the path will be constructed.

You can also set it in that dialog to default to have the 'Enable Auto Path Generation On Submit' on for new scenes. I use this for all my generation.

There is a bit of info here:

with some quicktimes you can watch (or scrub through, they are a little slow moving)

There are some scripted functions you can use to control the output more completely, described here