Overloading memory during render of hair

http://copland.udel.edu/~kuactet/images/smalldeer1.jpg

The mesh is already done. The only thing likely to change is some of the coloration and the resolution, which brings me to my request for help.

The reason it is at such a low resolution is this: fur. Each ‘strand’ is counted as roughly 49 faces during rendering. This little picture had 3.9 million faces total. It took almost all of my 1GB RAM to render it.

Increasing the resolution without proportionally increasing the number of hairs makes it look like mold instead of fur. Increasing the width of the strands (from .5) also makes it look moldy. Increasing the number of strands increases the memory it takes (which, in turn, forces it to use the hard drive, since there is no more RAM), and, after a certain point, crashes Blender.

So, I’m wondering: is there any way to make this a high resolution picture without decreasing the quality of the fur?

Along these lines, is there any way to make it render just pieces of it, without loading any of the rest of the mesh (and overloading the memory), so that I can reassemble it into a complete, higher resolution, picture?

Setting “Xparts” and “Yparts” in the render options is useless, in that it still needs to load everything before it begins to render the pieces, so it still crashes. As is the border. As is putting something in the way of parts of it.

Or, alternately, is there any way to decrease the number of faces per hair? I looked around for a bit, but couldn’t find anything.

Any ideas?

Not sure if this would be applicable, but how about scaling down everything? On a smaller mesh, you’d probably need fewer particles to fill it. Though scaling it down too small might make the fur appear too thick. But you can set the thickness of the furs finer on the strand setting…
I’m also just starting to play with the feature, so others with more experience might be able to give you a better alternative…
Hmmm. Spoke too soon.
Just tried it, not much use… Particles seems to be rendered the same size, so if you were to zoom into it to get to the original view, the hair are sparse again… Just looks good at a distance, or when the object is really small.
You probably have to mix in some card type hairs for this one. Plus some texturing on the base mesh to fill in the parts that are facing directly towards the camera. Particle hairs are practically invisible for areas directly facing the camera. :frowning:

I beleive if you raise the “Step” value of the particles, that will decrease the faces for each particle.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but that’s the way its works for me.

So try raising the step value until it starts to straighten the hair too much.