Since my last post I’ve changed my mind like a dozen times about the shading I’m going to use for the animation.
My first attempt has been photorealism, but I’ve soon realized that my animation was going to be far too long to even consider a rendering time of 60secs or more per frame.
What took so long to render were the blurred reflections, the AO and the GI.
So first of all I turned off the blurriness, leaving the task for post production.
Then I set the GI parameters to the lowest quality but still, the GI algorithm to avoid light flickering during animation is pretty heavy.
The AO was actually pretty easy to fix since the effect could be baked as a texture. The only problem was that the initial object would eventually disassemble in many components, so i could only bake the single object self AO, not the entire effect.
The result, before i got sick of photorealism in animation, is the first image.
After many variations and tests, i came to the conclusion that the best way to achieve a pleasant look, an easy to read image and a fast render, was a technical illustration style (second image).