Here's what I've got so far:
1. My main renderer will be Maya Software
2. Mental ray will be used for the AO pass
3. Every static object will have its AO baked in
4. AO for moving objects will be isolated using miLabel
5. I've made it so that most of my cameras are static, so I only have to render one background frame for most of my shots.
6. Depth map shadows only.
7. No ray traced reflections (though I'm still figuring out how to render out a spherical map of my environments to make a reflection map. I know how to do this in mental ray with latlong_lens, but not in maya software. Might just have to plop a reflective ball in the scene.)
Some stuff I'm not too sure about:
1. Shadow and AO passes to be rendered at a lower resolution- I'm not too sure if there will be enough of a speed increase or if the quality drop will be to noticeable.
2. Baked in shadows- My main concern is texture resolution. When I tried baking in the AO at 4k, there were still some noticeable artifacts that might be more pronounced when I bake in actual shadows. Also, this will give me less control in post.
3. I'm still trying to decide if I should blur the shadows in post or not.
Here's a test render I did a few months back and is the quality I'm aiming for:
(Yes, I fudged the render passes and the blanket is transparent)
So I was wondering, could anyone share their rendering tricks and techniques for faster render times? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.