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.