Out of all of my entities 'snow' has been the one that I felt most unsure about. Initially I had an ice texture, but then this was changed to falling snowflakes. I'm already rendering that out, but for some reason it just don't feel completely 'right' to me. I think it may break the mould of the spheres too soon in the animation. I've also been debating about using live action footage for this part of the poem, but I'm already using quite a bit of live action footage around this portion of the film. Since most of my major shots have been rendered or are rendering, I wanted to return to snow and see what else I could do with it.
I found two tutorials on how to make a snow material. I mostly used this tutorial by Jarrod Hasenjager but I also watched this YouTube tutorial. I struggled a bit because I didn't have the 'type' setting under 'Subsurface' so I wasn't quite sure what to do. I discovered that in December, there was an update for Maya/Arnold that added some extra settings to the AiStandardSurface shader. This was incredibly helpful, as the 'randomwalk' setting really improved the subsurface scattering. I'm happy with how the snow looks, especially after adding the extra sparkle details. I'll probably do a quick animation test to be sure it works the way that I want.
I do worry, however, that the computers at university do not have this update and therefore I'll be unable to use those computers for rendering. I do have my computers to render at home, so I may just have to make that shot relatively short compared to my other shots so I can actually accomplish it in a reasonable amount of time. I am also conscious that this scene may not work in Maya on machines that do not have this update, so I may just use my one computer but I'll have to see. I wonder if this 'type' setting would also help improve my skin, pufferfish, and sponge textures in the future.