|Standard aspect ratios: SD, HD and super HD|
|16:9 - Image: Wikipedia|
The main number is need to keep in your head is a simple ratio: 16:9. Nowadays, almost all digital outputs follow this basic ratio. It is described by Wikipedia as "universal for high-definition television and European digital television". In short, it has become the global standard.
A 16 to 9 ratio means 16 units across the top (horizontally), and 9 along the side (vertically). Stick to this standard ratio when you are rendering your animation - and you won't go wrong. It's the same size as your laptop, your TV, and also fits YouTube. In short - pretty much everything.
|A 16 by 9 screen. Photo: Wikipedia|
If you want to get fancy, you can render at 1920 by 1080, also known as "2K", which is generally used for theatrical release in movie theatres. It is very high quality - but very slow.
If render time is short, and you are only planning on showing your work on YouTube or some other small screen, try rendering at 720 by 486, also known as "1/2 k", "SD", or "Standard Definition". This will give you a quick result, especially useful if you are doing a test render, and just want to see how your work will come out.
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For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK. Find out why we're giving free laptops to all our students, and why we give all our students free access to videos at Lynda.com. Also, see what financial assistance might be available to you. Learn which is better for animation, a PC or a Mac? Get hold of a copy of a map so you can find your way around campus, and learn about motion capture at Bucks.