It looks great. I stopped it several times to examine those snow renderings.
What was your final render size? 1920x1080?
How long did each frame take to render, and I guess I am interested in what Mantra settings you used to achieve such a clean look. There is very little noise.
It was actually surprisingly easy to get the noise away compared to renderers we've previously used. The only real issue we had was fireflies in certain specular passes. There was a few tricks we did to get rid of them, but in some cases we had to turn reflections off entirely to just get rid of them. (If anyone has tips on how to minimize fireflies please swing them!). We separated our passes with Mantra nodes, and only used takes when it was really needed (Just to keep things simpler). It wasn't really necessary to use takes much, but there were cases where we didn't have a choice. Strangely though in terms of render times, it sometimes took longer to write out IFD's for the farm than to render the actual images, although I do think it was a fault in our pipeline that caused this rather than Houdini itself, which we seemed to have resolved.
Mantra is an amazing renderer, I've come to really enjoy how flexible and stable it actually is. We've learned a lot from this project and we are already doing quite a few things differently pipeline wise (That I REALLY wish we did for this job), but hey we all have to start somewhere
There are obviously going to be things I miss from what we used previously (Like per material bounce contributions and float values for light contributions), but these are just minor little things that I'm sure Mantra will eventually get itself. It's insane how much Houdini can actually help a smaller studio like ours when you start to get to know it. I was honestly really intimidated by it at first, but I'm in love with this software now! Softimage seems strangely archaic now…
Thank you SideFX