Thanks for the compliment! I’ve spent quite a while modelling this, I used photos of my R2D2 alarm clock as schematics!
That’s what I thought with the grain, the preview has already been scaled down to 0.75 in GIMP, but I think about 0.3-0.4 would be needed to get the quality I want. I guess I’ll have to leave it on overnight for my final render. :-?
It’d be interesting to do a quality vs time comparison of more samples against simply scaling down larger images. I don’t have the processing power though. The HDRI image there took about 3 hours at ~1000x1000.
I didn’t use extrude along normals, just extruded the vertices on themselves (effectively just doubling points), then scaled them towards the centre of the object. Afterwards I had to move it up or down slightly, as otherwise it would be at an angle.
No, I’m still using 2.32. I’m going to wait till I’ve finished this until I download the new build, I’m sure Yafray’s GI looks better than the AO anyway, though the AO is probably a good comprimise between time and quality.