( Unfortunately Youtube's compression does't do the picture any justice )
So here are some stills with less compression:
If you study the picture more closely you may see characters intersecting each other (especially in the third example because I made it too dense), however most of the time it's completely unnoticeable due to the flat line art nature of the characters.
And no, I don't have a render farm up my sleeve. This is thousands of 3D characters in a scene rendered in a matter of minutes rather than hours.
So in the first example we have:
- just 1 mental ray rendered background (less than a minute)
- 200 frames of characters rendered in the viewport (another couple of minutes)
- 200 frames of shadow pass rendered in mental ray at half the resolution (20 to 25 minutes)
As you can see, it was only the shadow pass that took longer to render. However, for some shots you may get away without casting any shadows at all. And rendering shadows at half resolution seemed to work well, without loosing much quality.
At some point soon I will write up exactly how to do this.