You always do such cool CG work! I know rings are a basic shape and all, but this is still such a complex scene, plus your renders are always amazing. And for this piece I love that you have the real/CG side-by-side comparison, that was a neat idea. What's the ratio of time spent on this model versus the real-life product?
It varies; the real maille is more of a 'slow and steady' thing. The CG can go quickly once I get the basic repeat unit set up, but can require a lot of tweaking. More so if I'm trying to replicate a picture I've taken.
Mmm, Maya has more of a drag and drop interface. So I basically position the rings for the smallest repeat unit, and a lot of copy & pasting later, you have a cuff. I never did like all the programmy language hulluballoo of povRAY.
I do enjoy being able to script everything . The problem comes with the out of place rings, like in your tutorials.
One thing that Maya has that I would really, really, really want to have available in povray is gravity. it doesn't exist probably because there is no collision detection. You wouldn't believe how much of a pain working out the math behind ring placement for some of the weaves is.
I have played with Maya in the past (had the PLE installed for a few months a while ago) but povray is so much nicer to use for the actual rendering. I also have an old version of bryce on one of my computers that I made some scenes in, but I didn't feel like I had as much control.
One of my current projects is finding how to get a good export from SolidWorks, which I have a school license for, and it has nice gravity effects, but can't render for crap.
I've found that the CosmosMotion plugin, while it is nice, need to be turned up to the highest precision to be able to handle small rings without dropping them through each other. The problem is that it takes near forever to run the gravity sim like that.