I'm working on an animated flythru of a large 20 acre studio construction (scale is 1 foot = 1 grid unit(cm)). The buildings are labeled with poly planes which are textured with transparent file textures containing an image of text. Also the parking lot is striped with simple poly planes rather than file textures. Everything is fine up close and at ground level from the parking lot. The problem comes when I attempt to render the aerial shots from far away since the text / stripes are so close in proximity to the building / parking lot surfaces (.025~.050 units in distance). The geometry disappears and reappears randomly throughout the entire rendered frame range. I've never worked this large before. Are my units wrong? Is there a camera setting i need to adjust so that these objects get properly depth-sorted?
Here's links to two of the images. If you flip back and fourth you can see everything jumping around:
This is the ever-present polygon battle that shows up in larger scale scenes in maya. The best way to tackle this issue is to really control your camera clipping planes. You can animate camera clipping planes so that you create the optimum distance, manually doing this is usually a lot better than the automatic scheme that maya will try doing at render time. As you're camera pulls away you can push the near clip plane farther away from the camera lense location without chopping your geometry off. You can also experiment with breaking your shot into layers so you can more rigourously set your clipping planes.
Another thing you can try to do is render double or quadruple resolution and scale down later, but that rarely works as well as grabbing the reigns on your clipping planes.