Fabian Rosenkranz has released a free plugin called Tool Memory that can remember the last used or preferred tool, mode and axis settings for every object in a scene.
Using this plugin, every object in your scene can remember either it's last used settings, or user preferred settings. This can of course save the user a lot of tool/mode changing when working with or animating multiple objects. Tool settings, Mode settings, and even Axis Lock settings can all be remembered or not, depending on user settings.
Check out the video and pdf manual on Fabian's site for more info.
Thank you mabad and all who replied. The mesh deformations were one of the major challenges as the range of motion needed by this character is so extreme and poor deformations so easily spotted on smooth naked skin. I basically had to invent my own system to get it where I wanted.
I just tried the demo of version 9 and it seems way better to me. I can't find a single simple process or action that seems more troublesome or time consuming. The ability to work with multiple captures at once, and change styles so much more easily than before, it all seems to me like a great improvement.
No clarification needed. G5 denotes exactly the kind of machine that isn't supported. Intel PPC's are not called G5. In fact, G5 denotes a type of processor. As for your advice that I should just not use it, well thanks very much. The G5 is the fastest computer I own, but I'll just use the slightly slower Dell PC I own exclusively and make a note of your advocacy that older Mac computers should not be supported when making my next Mac vs PC purchasing decision. Thanks again for the great advice.
As I said in the other thread, GI does not work with G5s. I've seen many reports about Net rendering GI problems and worried that G5's in the mix could be causing some of them. This issue is the reason why I wasn't able to include any information in my GI tutorial about net rendering GI despite very much intending to and wanting to when I started it. One of my computers is a G5, and this prevented me from even being able to test network rendering for the tutorial.
Two people in the original thread you referred to pointed out that the shadow issue in that scene remains even when GI is turned off, and you made two posts in that thread yourself suggesting that the issue lay not with GI, so why post a new thread proclaiming anew that it does? Did you ever try rendering that scene with GI turned off to test it? Takes less then a ten minutes to do. I'm not suggesting you haven't any right to be disappointed that there is a render problem, I'm just curious why you would choose to mischaracterize the issue even after it was clear to anyone who would spend a few minutes rendering your scene without GI that GI wasn't the issue at all. Troubleshooting is always a critical element of success when working with computers and complex software. The scene in question uses TP, Sky, and GI. That means the problem lies in one of three areas or a combination of them. Since the problem remains even when GI is turned off, you can safely rule it out as being the problem. This is troubleshooting 101 and my point is that until you can do that you will simply be going in circles because no software is bug free and the need to properly identify problems and find workarounds when necessary will never go away.
So even if you know the problem doesn't lie with GI, you have something to gain from repeatedly proclaiming that it does? If you don't practice basic troubleshooting techniques then you are doomed to go around in circles never getting any closer to a solution or a workaround.
Following the prepass the rest of the render takes about 20 or 30 minutes I guess.