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btw speaking about filtering methods, sidefx actually made some attempts to implement this in Mantra too. honestly, I haven't had a very good experience with it so far but the truth is I haven't really explored it too much in depth.

so if you take a look at Pixel filter on Mantra ROP you'll find some interesting ones like Gaussian with noisy samples refiltering or Ray histogram function. images bellow were all rendered under 1 minute with 1 ray sample fixed with mentioned filtering methods. looks great but for instance Ray histogram function introduces some nasty artifacts in highlights and I'm not sure if you can tweak it enough to get production quality animation out of it. not sure about gaussian refiltering as I was not even aware it's there (so I suppose it must be fairly new). anyway it seems to do a decent job and might be worth trying.

filtering.jpg.c4ae78c55397c8e054051f54a5668e74.jpg

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This is certainly very interesting, albeit, yet another option to take into account. Having said that I wonder what the ray histogram would look like with more than one ray sample. It also seems to have artefacts at the bottom where you can see the top rim and liquid.

I'll definitely take a look at some of these though.

Also, we did used to do a significant amount of de-noising in post, but for some things that really messed up, so we're trying to get smooth renders out of the farm now.

I was also watching a talk by Marcos Fajardo about Arnold and he said a very distinct 'no' to denoisers, though I can't recall his reasoning at the moment.

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i'm playing with it right now. with 6x6 pixel and 1-12 rays at 0.007 noise level and filtering on gaussian refilter it already looks pretty clean. hard to say how that will do in animation. ray histogram tends to be much smoother but also washes away some detail and is more prone to artifacting. let us know your results if you get some ;)

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