hey guys, thanks for the comments!
@turquoiserabbit: i think most of the mushrooms in the short were ones henri (riton, on http://blenderclan.tuxfamily.org/) modelled the shape keys and animation for. we’d been looking at lots of timelapse reference of decaying matter a while back for a shot in ‘tube’ (not allowed to say too much - dont want to spoil the surprise!). I tried to get the jittery look of a timelapse in a shot at 0:33 by adding noise and step fcurve modifiers to the shape key curves on my mushrooms before i distributed them. We were under a bit of time pressure (as interns we have to do real shots that are actually in ‘tube’ as well as ones for our own enjoyment!) so we abstracted the mushrooms design a bit. The opening shot shows the high poly mushrooms we modelled which turned out to be far too heavy meshes to do indirect lighting with (as approximate gather gets slower for every vertex you add as its calculated on a per vertex asis).
@meshweaver: python is great! i only started learning python 2 months ago - i’ve been using blender for a few years but never quite bit the bullet before! its much easier than most other languages (i know very rudimentary C as well as RhinoScript which is VisualBasic based, and have done some Grasshopper node based programming before: python was definitely easier to pick up than all of these) the python website has great documentation and the #blendercoders channel on freenode or the python forums here are very helpful when you get stuck on blender’s bpy API. of course it was of great benefit to have Bassam on hand in the early stages of the project to point out more efficient ways to do things etc!