Hi, I'm struggling with the render times on a scene I'm animating in Maya using Vue xStream to populate my environment and I'm hoping someone here can offer me some tips on settings to optimize my output.
What I'm trying to produce are about 250 frames of camera panning through my scene to use as a clip in a final animation. It is pretty densely populated with environment models and includes wind and an animated sky. I've optimized the scene, but since it's an animation there's not much more I can do to cheat the system. Unfortunately I'm not sure my machine can handle it all (iMac dual core) and with my current settings renders are taking over an hour per frame. I'll be plugging this through After Effects, so I don't mind cutting corners on things that I can correct through filters.
So here are areas I think need improvement:
Overall render settings: I've got Maya's render settings pretty low using raytracing (ray depth of 4) and antialiasing (low), no motion blurring or anything. I'm wondering if there's something I'm missing about the way Vue xStream handles rendering when it's set to automatic that could be slowing things down. If there was a way to override Vue's render engine with Maya's that might work, I just don't know much about it. I also wonder if there's a way for me to expedite antialiasing by dealing with it in post-production.
Lighting: This seems to be the real demon at work. At the moment I am only using one light source (bad I know but I've got no experience with faking GI, especially not with such a complicated scene). What I most want is nice fuzzy shadows so I've got it set on raytraced with sampling around 4 and a light angle of 19. That might be way too high, but I'm not really sure what I'm doing with the light angle, I just know when it seems to be working. Would it significantly reduce render time to use depth map shadows instead?
Animated backgrounds: I have a feeling that my cloud layer and atmosphere is slowing things down as well. I'd just as soon prerender the whole thing in Vue standalone as a texture and slap it on a skydome in Maya, but I don't have any clue how to actually do that :P
So, thoughts? Does anyone have experience with this kind of situation that would be willing to share some tips? I've only got a couple weeks to work on this sucker and it doesn't have to look like avatar so I'm willing to cut corners anywhere I have to so long as the final product doesn't look like a confetti storm.
Update for anyone who reads this thread. An easily solution I settled on in the end was to export the vue scene files to obj and re-assemble everything in a new maya project (including the environment models which had to be imported and placed individually). Vue xStream is inherently processor intensive, and yet it automatically handles the rending of all the objects it generates. Since there is no way to override Vue's renderer, exporting the scene files and sacrificing atmospheric animations appears to lead to the most efficient rendering speeds.