Hi..hi...thanks Dave, you're being overly kind. My kids are fine, thanks. Just dropped them at granny's this morn. Why don't you bring your kids to Brighton? There's a funfair right by the stony beach or bring them to London to see London Eye?
I've put the same image up in WIP and most of the commenters agree that the Brownian texture is a bit too strong as well as the SSS. The lips and eyes could do with a bit more work :-)
I totally agree with you over the graphic card thing..and new rig..wow..wouldn't I like to have a state of the art system like Windows 7 64-bit, 16GB RAM, Maya 2010 64-bit and the whole Entertainment Pack (with Mudbox), ZBrush, Adobe CS4 Extended, Premiere and After Effects.
Still not sure whether its better to have a Linux rig because with Linux, if you had 32 or 64 gigs RAM, Linux can use all of it! Those Hollywood guys used to use Iris or Silicon Indigo rigs with 128GB RAM and a UNIX system for their Hollywood blockbusters.
A word about UV though. If you stretch a great clear photo of a man's face over a 3D spherically curved head, wouldn't there be distortion and stretching? I have not yet seen a UV head that is believable up till now (Beowulf is a case in point) - its either the skin is too blurry or the eyes are too blurry.
Cameron's Avatar 3D UV texturing is great by leaps and bounds. I think if they did try to texture a human head mesh or a human body, it would be believable but alas, Sam Worthington might be out of a job!
Probably its the UV technology they use - the software apps and advanced, expensive computers. I think a step forward for me to do more photorealistic human heads and human bodies is to start using ZBrush right now and use their direct painting (because ZBrush's UV mapping technique is very sharp and accurate and uses very small accurately mapped tiles instead of the normal planar, spherical or cylindrical mapping in Maya).
And hey, let me know how you're getting on with your head! :-)