Yep, I know NextDesign. And I know most of you guys are actually in employment using Maya which is totally different from what I do with Maya as an enthusiast.
I mean..for example..I would like to use ZBrush 3.1 but...$$$. Same with Shave N Haircut and MudBox and Toxic.
But part of my aim is also to see how good a 'movie' I can come up with using these 'free' (except Maya and Photoshop of course) stuff like Blender to Movie Maker. I also know the core movie making workflow.
Another thing is I get to dabble and understand the "complete" (more or less) workflow of movie production from modelling to editing and muxing audio/video into a final amatuerr product. Yes, I know..there's storyboarding initially and post-production and after-effects once you've got your basic movie our. I'll get to these later but still can't seem to find any decent free after effects tools like Adobe Premiere, etc. Probably I'll be using PShop.
My amateur movie is just for personal satisfaction but photorealism is a very important part of it. It'll be fun to compare it with some Hollywood stuff (just kiddin'!) It's funny how many very dark scenes can be found in Hollywood movies...Predator 3 comes to mind. I suppose it adds realism but also it hides any shortcomings in digitally rendered frames?
Since I scoured the Internet, I've only found single digit numbers of really photorealistic Maya textured head models (and rigged models) but there seems to be lots of great photorealistic landscapes! As for movies, I found a great amateur movie entitled 'Panic Attack' done on U Tube. The explosions and techniques are good and inspires me
I will post my science fiction movie one day once I'm satisfied with the results!