So my initial tests with Irradiance Particles and Importons haven't been smooth. I've subscribed to a few threads on here and I just am not sure I am squeezing out all of the potential with it. It looks beautiful and much more rich environment rays than Final Gather. Yet everyone is saying it's faster than FG and GI solution, yet, I've yet to see render times close to what I get with FG.
I have been using a low Importon Density because that really affects your render times. The problem is that it gets very strange with objects that are very near to eachother (e.g. a bookcase close to the wall.) That meeting point shadow is not straight. Now with .03 Density and 512 Irradiance Particle rays for that and 256 IP Environment rays, it renders in less than 3 min. When I go to a smoother solution, say, .3 Importon Density with the same IP settings, it jumps up to 10 minutes.
So I guess I need some tweakers to help me figure out a balance between speed and quality. I want my lighting to change throughout the scene so I don't want high render times. I know you can move the cam around for still objects and capture an FG map but it looks as if you cannot with Maya 2009's iteration of IP and Importons. Am I wrong? I know you can freeze it but it seems as though you can't save a collective map. No?
Also, just as a backup, is there a way that I can just render out my 1 IP pass and then freeze it and change the lighting in post via exposure tools in After Effects? Maybe that would be the way to go.
Whaddya think? So far IP have not been faster than final gathering for me, except for the very low and unacceptable settings.